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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Behind the Publication Gender Gap | Inside Higher Ed

Photo: Colleen Flaherty
"Study finds male Ph.D. candidates submit and publish papers at significantly higher rates than their female peers, even within the same institution. One factor is that women teach more during their Ph.D. programs and men serve more often as research assistants" according to Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed.

Photo: Getty Images

Numerous studies have found that men in the sciences publish at higher rates than women. But the designs of some of those studies make it difficult to isolate the possible origins of that gap. Women are less likely than men to attend prestigious doctoral programs, complicating any study of gendered publication rates among researchers with different educational backgrounds, for example, as journals favor prestige.

A new study sought to level the contributing factor field, as it were, by considering researchers -- Ph.D. candidates -- in the same academic stage at the same institution. The authors wanted to know, specifically, how the number of scholarly works submitted for publication, first authored and published, differed between male and female students. They also asked how those differences varied by field, both within and outside the sciences.

The authors found that men submitted and published substantially more scholarly works than their female peers. That pattern occurred in both the male-dominated engineering and physical sciences, they note, as well as the more gender-balanced natural and biological sciences and even in the sometimes female-dominated humanities and creative arts and social sciences and applied health fields.

As for why, the study offers some clues: men rated their relationships with their advisers, career preparation and faculty support for research more highly than did their female peers. Those findings align with previous research suggesting that male Ph.D. students tend to receive more research mentoring from their advisers in science and other fields, the study says. Beyond that, research assistantships were also a strong predictor of publication submissions.

Yet the disparity remains largely unexplained. Possible factors meriting future study including greater teaching responsibilities for women and career goal differences between men and women, lead author Sarah Theule Lubienski, a professor of math education at Indiana University, said Tuesday.

“Universities should take stock of patterns on their own campus, including their female doctoral students’ research mentoring and productivity, as well as whether females are disproportionately serving as teaching assistants,” she said. “Universities should reward faculty for high-quality mentoring, including publishing with female students and others underrepresented in academia.”

Lubienski said individual faculty members have a role to play, as well, by monitoring the culture or climate in their labs, modeling authorship negotiation strategies, and encouraging women to submit their work for publication. “They should also be sensitive to parenting responsibilities that students may have and provide the flexibility needed to balance researcher and parenting roles,” she said.
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Source: Inside Higher Ed