Artificial Intelligence

Modeling the Gender Gap in Science

Monday, January 29, 2018, 11:00am - 12:00pm PSTiCal
11th floor large conference room
This event is open to the public.
AI Seminar
Junming Huang, Northeastern University

The gender gap in academia has been well documented for over 30 years: female scientists have less publications, receive less citations and less credit than male scientists. Though for each aspect of the gender gap one or multiple hypotheses have been proposed to explain the observed differences, unfortunately little is known on whether a single factor is predominant on the others: for example, is the smaller number of publications the reason for fewer citations and less credit? Identifying such a driving source is important for academics and policymakers to design interventions against gender inequality. The difficulty mostly lies in the interplay between performance and career of a scientist, and decoupling them requires large data to perform reliable statistical analysis which are unfortunately absent in most current studies that lead to inconsistent conclusions. We tackle this problem with statistical analysis on an ever largest dataset containing careers of 3,000,000 scientists, observing an ubiquitous gender gap that females are underrepresented with less population in most countries and disciplines. On average a male scientist publishes 35.0% more papers and receives 43.7% more citations than a female scientist. The inequality can be explained by the gender gap in dropout rate that female scientists are suffering from excessive dropout rate while we control academic age and number of publications. This finding highlights the importance of interventions to help female scientists stay in academia, which may result in significant effect in reducing gender inequality.



Junming Huang is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University. His research interests lie in science of science and social network analysis. Before joining Northeastern University, he was an assistant researcher in CompleX Lab at University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Institute of Computing Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2014, and Bachelor of Science in Physics at Tsinghua University in 2007.

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