A Norwegian study does not find a gender gap in citations – men are cited only marginally more often than women.

Women in academia publish more than people think

At least if you look in the middle, at the more normal researchers, with normal publication rates.

“Around 10 per cent of the most productive researchers, account for more than 40 per cent of so-called publication points”, research professor Dag W. Aksnes says in a recent article on kifinfo.no.

Among these ten per cent, men are strongly overrepresented.

Women on the other hand, constitute the majority of those with few publications.

This is not unique to Norway, but is a pattern we find also internationally.

If you look in the middle however, at those who publish at more normal rates, the gender differences in scientific publishing are fairly small, according to a recent study done by Aksnes.

Aksnes is a research professor at the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU).

His study is based on publication figures from the year 2019 in the Norwegian publication system Cristin.

Men at the top, women at the bottom

The data do not show who the super productive researchers in the highest 10 per cent are, but Aksnes speculates that they may be established professors who head research projects and thus get their names on many publications.

“These are still largely men”, he says to kifinfo.no.

“So how the research system is organized play a role here.”

According to kifinfo.no it is also reasonable to assume that these super productive researchers spend “an extraordinary amount of time” on research – at the expense of other things, and that men might be more willing to or are more able to prioritize in this way than women.

Those who publish less often have looser ties to research, for example university lecturers – of which the majority are women.

Cited almost as much as men

The study does not find a gender gap in citations – men are cited only marginally more often than women.

“I think this is interesting because international studies indicate that men are systematically cited more than women. But our study does not support that”, Aksnes says to kifinfo.no.

The gender differences varied greatly according to discipline.

In linguistics, 62 per cent of researchers who published in 2019 were women. In philosophy and history of ideas only 24 per cent were women. In electronics and cybernetics the share of female publishing scientists in 2019 was a mere 15 per cent.

A similar analysis on data from 2020 might yield different results, as many studies have shown that female academics have published less during the pandemic.

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