Research papers by female scientists received low citation rate compared to their male counterparts, according to a study by Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Engineering Ph.D. Candidate Gita Ghiasi carried out her research by focusing on the study sample consisting of 679,338 research publications derived from the online database Web of Science. This is followed by a detailed statistical analysis of publication patterns regarding authorship, journal tier, the number of citation and impact factor. Citation rate is calculated by measuring the average annual number of citations by an article divided by the mean number of citations to all publications from the same year. Ghiasi also applied the databases of male and female first names which correlates with the author’s country of affiliation to verify citation rate according to gender.
The results show that the publication realm is dominated by male engineers with women made up of only 20% of authorship of engineering papers. Interestingly, the study also indicated that female engineers published their work in highly ranked journals but received less citation compared to publication by male engineers on less reputable journals. This is common among male dominated engineering subfields such as aerospace technology, mechanical engineering and nuclear technology.
Ghiasi said that male engineers are more likely to collaborate in publishing their work compared to female engineers. However, this differs from the engineering field where collaboration between female engineers are familiar in specialties with high female authorship such as material and chemical engineering and also exceeds the male-female collaborations in nuclear technology. The findings of this study reflect the declining representation of women in engineering. Ghiasi concluded that the outcome of this study shows that more policies supporting the engagement of women and enhance collaboration among them need to be implemented. “The introduction and implementation of gender-responsive policies into existing S&T discourse help address the cultural factors that impede women from participating or advancing in engineering and gear a society towards higher knowledge capacity, and scientific and innovative excellence, upon which a nation’s competitive edge in the global economy is grounded.”
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