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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Men are more likely than women to call their science ‘excellent’ | Science - The Washington Post

A subtle difference in how male scientists frame their findings may help fuel the gender gap in science and medicine, writes Carolyn Y. Johnson, Science reporter at The Washington Post.

Photo: iStock
When the Nobel Prizes were awarded two months ago, the nine science laureates were all men, highlighting the long-standing lack of opportunities for women in science.

Gender disparities in science and medicine have been studied by task forces and committees that have identified problems and possible solutions, but stark gaps remain — at the highest levels and down the ladder. On average, female researchers still earn less, receive less funding at the crucial start of their careers and are cited less often than their male counterparts.

A new study adds to a growing body of research that suggests subtle differences in how women describe their discoveries may affect their career trajectories. Male authors were more likely to sprinkle words like “novel,” “unique” and “excellent” into the abstracts that summarize their scientific papers, compared to female authors. Such positively framed findings were more likely to be cited by peers later on, a key measure of the influence of a person’s research, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal.

“The complicated question that this data is raising is: Should women start to overhype their research?” said Marc Lerchenmueller, an economist at the University of Mannheim who led the BMJ study...

An earlier study of economists, “Publishing While Female,” found that women faced higher editorial standards: “Their manuscripts are subject to greater scrutiny, spend longer under review and women, in turn, respond by conforming to those standards,” wrote Erin Hengel, an economist at the University of Liverpool. 
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Additional resources 
Gender differences in how scientists present the ... - The BMJ

Source: The Washington Post