Field of Science

Gender and Academic Publishing

Are female researchers well represented as authors of publications in your academic discipline? Ever wonder about the gender differences across different academic fields? A group of scientists asked that question using a data set of 1.8 million scholarly publications from 1665 to 2011 that are archived in the online digital database JSTOR.

The results of their research are not yet published, but you can check out the data using two different interactive graphics. They display the percentage of publications that have women authors, women first authors, and women last authors. They also sort the time-spans into different groups and allow you to narrow down to particular fields or sub-fields.

Basically the interactive graphics are amazing! You can check out two different versions of the graphics at the links below. 

And why might you ask am I talking about this study on a bryology blog? If you look under Ecology and Evolutionary Biology there are 18.5% female authors, but the subfield of Bryology is much higher than this average at 30.1%. This could be a bit of a numbers game. Bryology has many fewer authors than other more popular fields with only 571 authors included in this study, but still the percentage is quite higher. I am happy to say that a number of my publications are archived in this database and may have contributed to these higher values for the field of bryology.

If you are at all interested in female representation in academic research I would highly recommend checking out the links above. They cover a wide range of fields from biology to education to law to philosophy. Additionally, I enjoyed the news story covering the background behind the publication in this Chronicle of Higher Education article.

Overall I think that it is great documentation of the increase in the involvement of women across academic disciplines over the years. How well are women represented in your favorite specialty field?

Thanks to Dr. Tobias Landberg for sending me the link to this article!

Berry Go Round #56

The newest edition of the plant carnival Berry Go Round has been posted at Seeds Aside.  There are some fun plant posts in the line up that you should definitely check out.

I especially like the post about the new fern genus named for Lady Gaga! I think that it is an interesting way to get taxonomy, systematics, and ferns in the news and on the general public's radar. There is an interview with one of the researchers, Dr. Kathleen Pryer, on the Duke University website and an article in the New York Times about the research.

For more about blog carnivals and my posts about the earlier editions of Berry Go Round, click here.

November 2012 Desktop Calendar

I was hiking in Hubbard Park in Meriden, CT this past weekend and came across this Polytrichum piliferum. It was growing on some rock at the top of the outcrop near Castle Craig. I thought that the calyptra looked especially fuzzy and luminous in the sunshine. Most likely these sporophytes will over-winter at this spear stage and will complete their development by forming capsules in the spring.

1 - Single click on the image to open it up in a new window. (If you use the image directly from the blog post you will lose a lot of resolution.)

2 - Right-click (or ctrl-click) on the image, and chose the option that says, "Set as Desktop Background" or "Use as Desktop Picture". The wording may vary.

3 - If the image does not fit your desktop neatly, you may have to adjust the image (Mac: System Preferences - Desktop and Screen Saver - Desktop; Windows: Control Panel - Display - Desktop) and choose "Fill screen" as the display mode of your background image.

Any issues or suggestions please let me know. These calendars are an experiment in-progress.

Science for Students - Matching Dollars

Want to help teachers in low income communities bring great science to students? 

Consider donating to the plant focused projects at the link below. 

Use the match code SCIENCE when you donate and your dollars will be doubled.