Global Gender Disparities in Science – Reality Shock

The Indiana University and the Université de Montréal recently published their report on Global Gender Disparities in Science (2013) analyzing almost 5.5 million research papers and articles published between 2008 and 2012 on gender inequalities. Let us begin with the report’s summary that clearly states the global gender disparities:

“We present here a global and cross-disciplinary scientometric analysis of the relationship between gender and a) output, b) collaboration, and c) impact (measured through citations). We analyzed 5,483,841 research papers and review articles published between 2008-2012 in journals indexed in the Web of Science. Women are underrepresented across nearly all countries and disciplines. Globally, women account for fewer than 30% of fractionalized authorships, whereas men represent slightly more than 70%. We find that in the most productive countries, all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men in the same positions. And this citation disadvantage is accentuated by the fact that women’s publication portfolios are more domestic than their male colleagues in all of the most productive countries. Given that citation now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities.”

Let’s now have a closer look at Germany:

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445.037 academic papers/articles were published in Germany in said period with a female ratio of 0.334 which means that only 25% of all papers/articles published in Germany were authored by women.
When it comes to what the report’s authors called “citation impact” of papers/articles published in Germany the following numbers are revealing:

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If we just take the number for single-authored publication, the  picture shows that women in Germany have a citation impact factor of 0,970 while men have a citation impact factor of 1,628 made visible through the light to dark green fields (from a minimum of 0,084 to maximum of 3,003 citation impact). Women’s citation impact is thus significantly lower than men’s citation impact to approximately 40%.

One also has the possibility to search for publication productivity by disciplines – which I did exemplary here for Art History – and you get the numbers for the top ten countries by total numbers of publications:

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Additionally, it is possible to look up the national and international collaboration of males and females sorted by countries visualized by colored bars. In this case, the graph shows the difference between female and male international collaboration rate in Germany:

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Admittedly, it is difficult to understand the ratios properly (a preparation in percentage would have been helpful, also indicating the reference), but it’s nevertheless worthwhile playing around with the interactive figures and graphs. One gets the broader picture summarized so gravely by the report’s authors:
“Globally, women account for fewer than 30% of fractionalized authorships, […] all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men […]. Given that citation now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities.”
This finale sentence should distress us all.

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