Focusing on publication quality would beneﬁt all researchers
“The under-representation of women in academia is a shameful legacy of decades of bias,but is still partly caused by current thinking and actions [1–4]. Cameron et al.  argue that ‘publication quality and impact provide more equitable metrics of research performance and should be stressed above publication quantity.’ They support this claim by citing a study published in 2006 of the publication and citation rates of a cohort of 168 ecologists and evolutionary biologists who started to publish between 1990 and 1993 . The study found that female researchers in that cohort tended to publish less than male researchers, but that their average number of citations per publication (a proxy for publication quality) tended to be higher than for male researchers, given a certain publication level (the number of citations per publication was found to be positively correlated with the number of publications) . Do current data still show that stressing publication quality or impact rather than quantity would beneﬁt the chances of female ecologists?
Data retrieved in November 2012 from approximately 1600 Google Scholar proﬁles (those of researchers who selected the research interest ‘ecology’ for their proﬁle) showed a strong (r2 ~80%) positive correlation between the total number of citations and the total number of publications, for both female and male researchers, with no signiﬁcant differences in either intercept or slope (Figure1A). The average number of citations per publication also increased with increasing number of publications, for both female and male researchers, with no signiﬁcant differences in either intercept or slope (Figure 1B)” (read more/open access).
(Open access source: Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in press 2013; bottom image: UN News Centre)