Advantage: Women

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Science  28 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6055, pp. 435
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6055.435-d

The Internet transformed communication between coauthors by eliminating the transfer of data by mail and allowing for more interdepartmental collaboration. Using women in political science as a case study, Butler and Butler ran a series of regressions on data from three influential journals in the discipline to test the effect of the Internet on coauthorship rates. Although a strict causal interpretation is not possible, the analysis showed that the Internet disproportionately affected women in two ways: through increasing the rate at which women coauthor relative to their male counterparts and through an increase in the number of women accepting jobs in departments with fewer women faculty. These trends may reverse existing gender inequities and possibly have a multiplier effect. Whether these gender effects hold across academic disciplines and how academia can best capitalize on them are open questions.

Econ. Educ. Rev. 30, 665 (2011).

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