Authorship, Collaboration, and Gender: Fifteen Years of Publication Productivity in Selected Geography Journals

In academia, publication productivity, defined as the number of peer-reviewed articles published and the frequency of citations, is a primary factor in the assessment of tenure and promotion. One of the most cited gender differences in academia is the “productivity puzzle,” which suggests that women publish less than men, thereby affecting every aspect of a woman’s academic career. Peer-reviewed articles published in the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (Annals) and The Professional Geographer (PG) between 1995 and 2006, and in four subdisciplinary journals between 2005 and 2009, as well as citation reports, were used to explore whether gender differences are present in publication productivity. Gender differences were evident in the proportion of women authors, the frequency of collaboration, and the number of citations across a broad range of prestigious geographic journals. For all journals studied, women were underrepresented, especially in the authorship positions that equate to notions of respect and merit. Although the number of collaborative articles increased during the study period, single-authored papers are the dominant mode of publication for both men and women for most geographic journals. The authorship patterns for frequently cited articles generally mirror those for all articles. Because the frequency of collaborative publication was high for women, the dual trends of a general increase in publication collaboration and increasing participation of women in academic geography bodes well for increased female productivity as it relates to publishing. Nevertheless, it is important to note that, currently, males as lead or single authors represent the predominant voice of geography within the journals examined in this study.

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