How the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted the Gender Gap in Academic Publishing in Astronomy

Before the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shut down labs and sent scientists home to work, female astronomers on average published about nine papers for every 10 published by men — a rate that has remained stagnant for decades.

A new study led by Vanessa Böhm, a senior data scientist at Nautilus Labs in New York, who spent the past five years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Cosmological Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, finds that the pandemic appears to have widened gender imbalance in academic research in the field.

Dr. Böhm and co-author Jia Liu of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan found that both men and women on average have published more papers since March 2020. Overall academic publishing in astronomy was up by 13 percent.

Of 25 countries studied, 14 saw a smaller fraction of astronomy papers written by women. “Before the pandemic, there were about two or three countries where women were equally as productive as men, among them the Netherlands, Australia, and Switzerland,” Dr. Böhm said. “But even there, we saw that after the pandemic, women were less productive than their male counterparts.”

The full study, “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Publishing in Astronomy in the Initial Two Years,” was published on the website of Nature Astronomy. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply