Author gender differences in psychology citation impact 1996–2018

Mike Thelwall
Published Online:
29 Nov 2019

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Academic psychology in the USA is a gender success story in terms of overturning its early male dominance but there are still relatively few senior female psychology researchers. To assess whether there are gender differences in citation impact that might help to explain either of these trends, this study investigates psychology articles since 1996. Seven out of eight Scopus psychology categories had a majority of female first‐authored journal articles by 2018. From regression analyses of first and last author gender and team size, female first authors associate with a slightly higher average citation impact, but extra authors have a 10 times stronger association with higher average citation impact. Last author gender has little association with citation impact. Female first authors are more likely to be in larger teams and if team size is attributed to the first author's work, then their apparent influence of female first authors on citation impact doubles. While gender differences in average citation impact are too small to account for gender‐related trends in academic psychology, they warn that male‐dominated citation‐based ranking lists of psychologists do not reflect the state of psychology research today.

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