Understanding gendered practices and biases in scholarly communication can help librarians develop the right mix of relevant faculty support to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campuses, while contributing to broader work in strengthening equity in research practices. A number of recent studies explore gender differences and biases in peer-review and citation practices, which are key issues for librarians to consider when providing services in these areas. This work reports on a study to understand gender-specific faculty practices throughout the research and scholarly lifecycle, with particular focus on awareness of and attitudes toward online research profile development, open access, and citation metrics and practices. We completed brief structured interviews with 20 faculty across disciplines and at varied points on the career trajectory, divided evenly by gender identification, in order to understand the following: Are there differences by gender in what scholarly profiles and social media accounts faculty wish to maintain? Which impact measures are prioritized, and how and why are these profiles and measures used? What motivates faculty to participate in open access publishing, or what are the deterrents? Considering the answers to these questions, how do librarians best market and deliver the appropriate services as we struggle for funding and time? Results showed that our male subjects were more active in the areas we explored while several women indicated hesitancy to engage in scholarly online profile building due to personal security and privacy issues based on being female. Female subjects had direct examples of gender biases they or their colleagues had experienced, whereas several male subjects acknowledged biases but were not aware of particular examples in their disciplines. Few subjects of either gender deemed traditional impact measures as an accurate reflection of the importance of their work, and most subjects suggested measures that would be more meaningful and more customized to illustrate real-world value. This study has illustrated the array of faculty needs on our campus as well as the array of mindsets and gendered experiences that we must consider when providing faculty research services; future work exploring gendered practices by discipline and faculty rank will further elucidate these considerations.
Robinson, L. & Newman, A. (in press). Setting our cites on gender: toward development of inclusive scholarly support services for all faculty. Proceedings of the 2018 Library Assessment Conference, December 5-7, Houston, Texas.
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Association of Research Libraries, 2018 Library Assessment Conference