Explaining Sex Differences in Publication Productivity among Postsecondary Faculty

  • Kimberlee A. Shauman
  • Yu Xie
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 15)


In all academic disciplines, scholarly productivity is a primary marker of career success. Productive scholars are rewarded with promotions in rank, favorable job mobility, and pay raises. Likewise, unproductive scholars are considered “unsuccessful” and are sometimes pushed out of their own institutions or out of the academy altogether. While publication rate of scholarly work per se may not be an accurate measure of scholarly contribution in all disciplines, the adage “publish or perish” portrays the pressure that pervades the postsecondary community. This adage emphasizes the weight placed on quantifiable measures of productivity in the assessment of scholarly contribution, and it reflects the important role of publication in determining career success among faculty in the academy. Given the strong link between publication productivity and career advancement, explaining sex differences in publication rates clearly advances our understanding of sex differences in the career progress and outcomes of postsecondary faculty. The large volume of research aimed at explaining sex differences in scholarly productivity attests to the importance of this effort (for reviews see Zuckerman 1991; Long and Fox 1995; Ward and Grant 1995). Until very recently (Xie and Shauman 1998), however, research was unsuccessful at explaining the reasons for sex differences in research productivity, and indeed such sex differences among scientists were labeled a “productivity puzzle” by Cole and Zuckerman (1984:218) and accepted as such by many other scholars. Equnl Rites, Unequal Outcomes: Women in American Research Universities Edited by Homig, Kluwer academic/Plenum Publishers, 2003


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberlee A. Shauman
  • Yu Xie

There are no affiliations available

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