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Women’s visibility in academic seminars: Women ask fewer questions than men

Overview of attention for article published in PLoS ONE, September 2018
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
7 news outlets
blogs
1 blog
twitter
852 tweeters
facebook
2 Facebook pages
googleplus
1 Google+ user
reddit
1 Redditor

Citations

dimensions_citation
1 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
65 Mendeley
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Title
Women’s visibility in academic seminars: Women ask fewer questions than men
Published in
PLoS ONE, September 2018
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0202743
Pubmed ID
Authors

Alecia J. Carter, Alyssa Croft, Dieter Lukas, Gillian M. Sandstrom

Abstract

The attrition of women in academic careers is a major concern, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics subjects. One factor that can contribute to the attrition is the lack of visible role models for women in academia. At early career stages, the behaviour of the local community may play a formative role in identifying ingroup role models, shaping women's impressions of whether or not they can be successful in academia. One common and formative setting to observe role models is the local departmental academic seminar, talk, or presentation. We thus quantified women's visibility through the question-asking behaviour of academics at seminars using observations and an online survey. From the survey responses of over 600 academics in 20 countries, we found that women reported asking fewer questions after seminars compared to men. This impression was supported by observational data from almost 250 seminars in 10 countries: women audience members asked absolutely and proportionally fewer questions than male audience members. When asked why they did not ask questions when they wanted to, women, more than men, endorsed internal factors (e.g., not working up the nerve). However, our observations suggest that structural factors might also play a role; when a man was the first to ask a question, or there were fewer questions, women asked proportionally fewer questions. Attempts to counteract the latter effect by manipulating the time for questions (in an effort to provoke more questions) in two departments were unsuccessful. We propose alternative recommendations for creating an environment that makes everyone feel more comfortable to ask questions, thus promoting equal visibility for women and members of other less visible groups.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 852 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 65 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 65 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 18 28%
Student > Master 10 15%
Researcher 8 12%
Unspecified 8 12%
Other 6 9%
Other 15 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 19 29%
Unspecified 9 14%
Psychology 9 14%
Environmental Science 5 8%
Social Sciences 5 8%
Other 18 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 677. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 08 November 2018.
All research outputs
#7,013
of 12,147,275 outputs
Outputs from PLoS ONE
#160
of 133,536 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#340
of 226,312 outputs
Outputs of similar age from PLoS ONE
#4
of 1,001 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,147,275 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 133,536 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 11.6. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 226,312 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1,001 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.