Reflections on Gender Analyses of Bibliographic Corpora

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Mihaljević, H.; Tullney, M.; Santamaría, L.; Steinfeldt, C.: Reflections on Gender Analyses of Bibliographic Corpora. In: Frontiers in Big Data 2 (2019), 29. DOI:

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Sum total of downloads: 27

The interplay between an academic's gender and their scholarly output is a riveting topic at the intersection of scientometrics, data science, gender studies, and sociology. Its effects can be studied to analyze the role of gender in research productivity, tenure and promotion standards, collaboration and networks, or scientific impact, among others. The typical methodology in this field of research is based on a number of assumptions that are customarily not discussed in detail in the relevant literature, but undoubtedly merit a critical examination. Presumably the most confronting aspect is the categorization of gender. An author's gender is typically inferred from their name, further reduced to a binary feature by an algorithmic procedure. This and subsequent data processing steps introduce biases whose effects are hard to estimate. In this report we describe said problems and discuss the reception and interplay of this line of research within the field. We also outline the effect of obstacles, such as non-availability of data and code for transparent communication. Building on our research on gender effects on scientific publications, we challenge the prevailing methodology in the field and offer a critical reflection on some of its flaws and pitfalls. Our observations are meant to open up the discussion around the need and feasibility of more elaborated approaches to tackle gender in conjunction with analyses of bibliographic sources.
License of this version: CC BY 4.0
Document Type: article
Publishing status: publishedVersion
Issue Date: 2019
Appears in Collections:Zentrale Einrichtungen

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pos. country downloads
total perc.
1 image of flag of Germany Germany 23 85.19%
2 image of flag of Sweden Sweden 2 7.41%
3 image of flag of Lithuania Lithuania 1 3.70%
4 image of flag of Switzerland Switzerland 1 3.70%

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