Inside Higher Ed, October 2020
A new study of enormous scale supports what numerous smaller studies have demonstrated throughout the pandemic: female academics are taking extended lockdowns on the chin, in terms of their comparative scholarly productivity.
Yes, comparative productivity. While other studies using different metrics show that women are publishing much less now than they were before the pandemic, this new paper finds something different: at least in terms of submissions to academic journals from the mega-publisher Elsevier, both men and women’s productivity actually increased during the first few months of the pandemic, relative to the same period of time in 2018 and 2019. But women’s productivity didn’t increase as much as men’s, meaning that women are still trailing behind male peers as a result of pandemic-era increased caregiving responsibilities.
“Our complete data on all Elsevier journals indicate that the exceptional lockdown and social distancing measures imposed by the pandemic have penalized women academics and benefited men,” reads the study, published on the Social Science Research Network. “Given the importance of publications and citations for academic career and prestige in the current hyper-competitive academic environment, these gender disparities could have important short- and longer-term effects, which need to be considered by academic institutions and funders.”