Economics at your fingertips  

Gender differences in performance of top cited scientists by field and country

Ho Fai Chan () and Benno Torgler ()
Additional contact information
Benno Torgler: Queensland University of Technology

Scientometrics, 2020, vol. 125, issue 3, No 24, 2447 pages

Abstract: Abstract In this descriptive study, we aim to show the potential gender differences in academic success, focusing on the top (i.e., most frequently cited) scientists by analyzing the work of more than 94,000 scientists in 21 fields across 43 countries. Our results indicate that female representation in the top tier of scientists strongly varies between countries (11.83%; s.d. = 0.046), with the highest proportion of top women scientists in Finland (20.45%) and the lowest in Saudi Arabia (2.08%). Compared with the total share of females in science, women are underrepresented among the top (i.e., most frequently cited) scholars by 28.52 percentage points. The proportions differ by disciplines, with top women authors best represented in Public Health and Services (36.1%), Communication and Textual Studies (33.7%), Psychology and Cognitive Science (27.5%), and Social Sciences (23%); while the lowest share of women scientists are found in Mathematics and Statistics (6.3%), Engineering (7.2%), and Physics and Astronomy (7.7%). However, despite the low female representation, top women scholars in those three fields conduct (on average) more impactful research than their male colleagues, which is contrary to most other research fields. We also show that female scientific success is positively correlated with a nation’s higher gender equity indicators, lower discriminatory values, and less negative attitudes and preferences towards women. Overall, our findings suggest that scientific fields are still struggling with gender inequality that pervades public life.

Keywords: Gender; Gender representation; Gender equality; Science; Top scientists (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1007/s11192-020-03733-w

Access Statistics for this article

Scientometrics is currently edited by Wolfgang Glänzel

More articles in Scientometrics from Springer, Akadémiai Kiadó
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2021-08-31
Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:125:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-020-03733-w