Samuel Martin-Gutierrez presents a work pursued together with Fariba Karimi and Hyunsik Kong at the 10th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications, which took place as a hybrid event in Madrid from Nov 30th to Dez 2, 2021 in Madrid.
Mounting evidence suggests that publications and citations of scholars in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) suffer from gender biases. Such biases often cause an invisibility syndrome in women and other minorities, resulting in a higher dropout rate among women, a phenomenon known as leaky pipeline. Thus, it is of societal importance to accurately identify those biases and devise bottom-up approaches to tackle them.
However, simply comparing the number of publications and citations of men and women is misleading, as recent findings show that when differences in career length are controlled for, male and female scientists have similar rates of publication and citation on average.
In this work, we analyse publication and citation patterns in the Physics community, as it is one of the core STEM areas where women are exceedingly underrepresented. Our approach goes beyond studying gender disparities at the population level: we compare pairs of papers whose similarity is validated through a statistical test, focusing on couples with one of the papers written by a male primary author and the other by a female primary author.
This way, we ensure that the two papers cover the same topics in a comparable way. Our results results suggest that the overall disparity in the citation network is caused by the cumulative advantages and the first-mover effect that men have in hysics, and not by intentional discriminatory acts against women.