Study: Male Scientists Publish More, Women Cited More

Why do women scientists publish fewer papers than men? Sociologists of science have been pondering that question since the late 1970s, when they documented the fact that women scientists publish about half as many articles as men do. And a recent study has uncovered a surprising new piece of the "productivity puzzle." Women biochemists publish less than men do, the study acknowledges, but the average paper written by a woman is cited more often than the average paper written by a man, accordin

Elizabeth Culotta
Jul 25, 1993
Why do women scientists publish fewer papers than men?

Sociologists of science have been pondering that question since the late 1970s, when they documented the fact that women scientists publish about half as many articles as men do. And a recent study has uncovered a surprising new piece of the "productivity puzzle." Women biochemists publish less than men do, the study acknowledges, but the average paper written by a woman is cited more often than the average paper written by a man, according to J. Scott Long, a sociologist at Indiana University.

"What this data is saying is that women may not publish as much [as men], but the work they do publish is utilized by the scientific community more," says Long, author of the study, which was published in the journal Social Forces (71[1]:159-78, September 1992).

Long analyzed the publication and citation records of 550 men and 600 women...