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Title: Reflections on Gender Analyses of Bibliographic Corpora
Authors: Mihaljević, HelenaTullney, MarcoSantamaría, LucíaSteinfeldt, Christian
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Issue Date: 2019
Published in: Frontiers in Big Data Vol. 2 (2019)
Publisher: Lausanne : Frontiers Media
Abstract: 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.
Keywords: gender; reproducibility; data science; bias; societal issues; science studies; automatic gender recognition
DDC: 020
License: CC BY 4.0 Unported
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