Research Article: Factors That Affect Scientific Publication in Africa—a Gender Perspective
The article linked below was recently published by Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics.
Factors That Affect Scientific Publication in Africa—a Gender Perspective
Université du Québec à Montréal
Seyed Reza Mirnezami
Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics
Volume 8 – 2023
A large body of literature on gender differences in scientific publication output has clearly established that women scientists publish less that men do. Yet, no single explanation or group of explanations satisfactorily accounts for this difference, which has been called the “productivity puzzle”. To provide a more refined portrait of the scientific publication output of women in relation to that of their male peers, we conducted a web-based survey in 2016 of individual researchers across all African countries, except Libya. The resulting 6,875 valid questionnaires submitted by respondents in the STEM, Health Science and SSH fields were analyzed using multivariate regressions on the self-reported number of articles published in the preceding 3 years. Controlling for a variety of variables including career stage, workload, mobility, research field, and collaboration, we measured the direct and moderating effect of gender on scientific production of African researchers. Our results show that, while women’s scientific publication output is positively affected by collaboration and age (impediments to women’s scientific output decrease later in their careers), it is negatively impacted by care-work and household chores, limited mobility, and teaching hours. Women are as prolific when they devote the same hours to other academic tasks and raise the same amount of research funding as their male colleagues. Our results lead us to argue that the standard academic career model, relying on continuous publications and regular promotions, assumes a masculine life cycle that reinforces the general perception that women with discontinuous careers are less productive than their male colleagues, and systematically disadvantages women. We conclude that the solution resides beyond women’s empowerment, i.e., in the broader institutions of education and the family, which have an important role to play in fostering men’s equal contribution to household chores and care-work.
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Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.