August 26th, 2015
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
But the new study (while confirming the 2013 work) is much larger and crosses many disciplines. This one is based on an analysis of 1.6 million papers written from 1950 to the present in the scholarly database JSTOR. While some first names are not gender exclusive, the study looked at first names that correspond with either men or women, but not both, at least 95 percent of the time, according to various public records. Papers written by people with names such as “Jody,” which did not get to 95 percent association with a gender, were excluded from the database.
One theory explored by the authors — without finding confirmation — was that perhaps women would do more self-citation in fields in which their share of papers was larger. (Throughout the sample studied over all, men wrote far more papers than women, although some of the time period covered was during a period of limited opportunities for women as professors.)
The researchers found that the five fields with the lowest self-citation rates by women were history, classical studies, international political science, mathematics and anthropology. That list includes a field with relatively few papers by women (mathematics, at 7.1 percent) and a field with a relatively high share (anthropology, at 37.5 percent). Similarly, fields with the highest rates of self-citation by women include sociology (where 46.1 percent of papers are by women) but also U.S. domestic political science (at 17.3 percent) and ecology and evolution (at 22.9 percent).
But the authors also speculate that some of this may be due to men being … well, men. “Men may self-cite more because they evaluate their abilities more positively than women. Men face fewer social sanctions for self-promotion,” the paper says.
Further, the paper notes the following of women: “When women seek to actively establish their competence by self-promoting (e.g., by advocating for a raise based on their performance on a project, or asserting their suitability for a leadership position) they often experience backlash from both men and women. Though self-promotion enhances competence assessments, it also reduces a woman’s likability. These gendered perceptions of self-promotion likely influence perceptions of self-citation, a form of self-promotion in the academic workplace.”