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Gender comparisons of social work faculty using h-index scores


The objective of this study is to determine the role of gender and faculty rank in explaining variance in individual research impact and productivity for social work doctoral faculty. Research impact and productivity were assessed with the H-Index, which is a widely used citation index measure that assesses the quality and quantity of published research articles. We compared the individual H-Index scores for all doctoral level social work faculty from doctoral programs in the United States (N = 1699). Differences in H-Index means were assessed between genders at each tenure-track faculty rank, and between faculty ranks for each gender.

Both gender and faculty rank were associated with differences in scholarly impact and productivity. Although men had higher H-Index scores than women in all faculty ranks, the gender gap was the greatest between men and women at the Full Professor level. The gender gap was least pronounced at the Associate Professor level, where women’s H-Index scores were closer to those of men. Results support previous studies in which women in the social sciences have lower H-Index scores than men. The diminished gap between men and women at the Associate Professor level may suggest that women get promoted to Full Professor less frequently than men at comparable career milestones.

While the results of this study are consistent with the argument that women face unique barriers to academic promotion and other forms of academic success in social work, these results do not explain any specific barriers that may cause the gender gap.


Carter, T.E., Smith, T.E., Osteen, P.J. (2017). Gender comparisons of social work faculty using H-Index scores. Scientometrics 111(3), pp. 1547-1557.

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Last Updated: 12/12/23