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In search of future excellence: bibliometric indicators, gender differences, and predicting research performance in the early career
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Inforsk)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3623-2471
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The governance of higher education institutions and science have endured significant changes during the last decades, emphasizing competitiveness, performance, and excellence. Embedded in this development is an increased use of bibliometric indicators as decision support tools in contexts of e.g., employment, appointment, and funding. These changes have gradually extended to the early career phase and the doctoral education.

The aim of this thesis is to make a contribution to an ongoing discussion about the predictability of research performance and the reasonability of using bibliometric indicators in the early career, with a focus on gender differences. The thesis revolves around three overarching research questions focusing the early career and the doctoral education: (1) the degree to which research performance, as operationalized with bibliometric indicators, is predictable; (2) the degree to which gender differences in early career performance can be explained by research performance during the doctoral education; and (3) to what degree factors such as collaboration and supervisor behaviour, might affect gender differences in research performance.

The main results suggests that research performance in the early career, as operationalized by bibliometric indicators, is predictable. Individuals who publish larger volumes, publish more in high prestige journals, and more excellent research early in their career, are more likely to attain excellence later on. The results also indicates that gender differences in performance can be observed as early asduring doctor education and that these differences partly explain the observed performance differences between males and females in the early career.

Finally, the results suggests that gender differences in performance during doctoral education can largely be explained by the doctoral student’s collaborative networks and supervisor behaviour. It is concluded that while research performance, as operationalized by bibliometric indicators, duringthe early career is predictable, there are gender differences in performance that have to be taken into consideration. If they are not, the use of these types of performance indicators in science policy and management might increase the gender gap in science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2020. , p. 60
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 84
Keywords [en]
bibliometric indicator, gender, early career, doctoral education, excellence, decision support tool, prediction, research performance, doctoral student
National Category
Information Studies Sociology Educational Sciences
Research subject
library and information science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-167701ISBN: 978-91-7855-208-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7855-209-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-167701DiVA, id: diva2:1390591
Public defence
2020-02-28, Hörsal N360, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-02-07 Created: 2020-02-01 Last updated: 2020-02-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The information value of early career productivity in mathematics: a ROC analysis of prediction errors in bibliometricly informed decision making
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The information value of early career productivity in mathematics: a ROC analysis of prediction errors in bibliometricly informed decision making
2016 (English)In: Scientometrics, ISSN 0138-9130, E-ISSN 1588-2861, Vol. 109, no 3, p. 2241-2262Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to provide a framework to evaluate bibliometric indicators as decision support tools from a decision making perspective and to examine the information value of early career publication rate as a predictor of future productivity. We used ROC analysis to evaluate a bibliometric indicator as a tool for binary decision making. The dataset consisted of 451 early career researchers in the mathematical sub-field of number theory. We investigated the effect of three different definitions of top performance groups—top 10, top 25, and top 50 %; the consequences of using different thresholds in the prediction models; and the added prediction value of information on early career research collaboration and publications in prestige journals. We conclude that early career performance productivity has an information value in all tested decision scenarios, but future performance is more predictable if the definition of a high performance group is more exclusive. Estimated optimal decision thresholds using the Youden index indicated that the top 10 % decision scenario should use 7 articles, the top 25 % scenario should use 7 articles, and the top 50 % should use 5 articles to minimize prediction errors. A comparative analysis between the decision thresholds provided by the Youden index which take consequences into consideration and a method commonly used in evaluative bibliometrics which do not take consequences into consideration when determining decision thresholds, indicated that differences are trivial for the top 25 and the 50 % groups. However, a statistically significant difference between the methods was found for the top 10 % group. Information on early career collaboration and publication strategies did not add any prediction value to the bibliometric indicator publication rate in any of the models. The key contributions of this research is the focus on consequences in terms of prediction errors and the notion of transforming uncertainty into risk when we are choosing decision thresholds in bibliometricly informed decision making. The significance of our results are discussed from the point of view of a science policy and management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2016
Keywords
Receiver operating characteristics, ROC, Performance, Bibliometric indicator, Prediction errors, Decision making, Productivity, Mathematics
National Category
Information Studies
Research subject
library and information science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-128995 (URN)10.1007/s11192-016-2097-9 (DOI)000389336100046 ()
Conference
20th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators (STI), Lugano, SWITZERLAND, SEP 02-09, 2015
Available from: 2016-12-20 Created: 2016-12-20 Last updated: 2020-02-01Bibliographically approved
2. Predicting research excellence at the individual level: the importance of publication rate, top journal publications, and top 10% publications in the case of early career mathematicians (vol 12, pg 518, 2018)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predicting research excellence at the individual level: the importance of publication rate, top journal publications, and top 10% publications in the case of early career mathematicians (vol 12, pg 518, 2018)
2018 (English)In: Journal of Informetrics, ISSN 1751-1577, E-ISSN 1875-5879, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 1327-1329Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
National Category
Information Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-154063 (URN)10.1016/j.joi.2018.06.008 (DOI)000451074800025 ()
Note

Erratum to: Jonas Lindahl. Predicting research excellence at the individual level: The importance of publication rate, top journal publications, and top 10% publications in the case of early career mathematicians. Journal of Informetrics. 2018;12:2. DOI: 10.1016/j.joi.2018.04.002

Available from: 2018-12-19 Created: 2018-12-19 Last updated: 2020-02-01Bibliographically approved
3. Early career performance and its correlation with gender and publication output during doctoral education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Early career performance and its correlation with gender and publication output during doctoral education
2020 (English)In: Scientometrics, ISSN 0138-9130, E-ISSN 1588-2861, Vol. 122, no 1, p. 309-330Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Publishing in peer-reviewed journals as a part of the doctoral education is common practice in many countries. The publication output of doctoral students is increasingly used in selection processes for funding and employment in their early careers. Against the backdrop of this development, the aim of this study is to examine (1) how performance during the doctoral education affect the probability of attaining research excellence in the early career; and (2) if there is performance differences between males and females in the early career and to which degree these gender differences can be explained by performance differences during the doctoral education. The data consist of Swedish doctoral students employed at the faculty of science and technology and the faculty of medicine at a Swedish university. Our main conclusions are that (1) research performance during the doctoral education has a positive effect on attaining excellence in the early career; (2) there is an interaction between publication volume and excellence during doctoral education suggesting that a combination of quantity and quality in doctoral students’ performance is indicative of future excellence; (3) there are performance differences in the early career indicating that males have a higher probability of attaining excellence than females, and; (4) this difference is partly explained by performance differences during the doctoral education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2020
Keywords
Early career, Doctoral student, Excellence, Gender, Indicator, Bibliometrics, Performance, Prediction
National Category
Information Studies Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-165082 (URN)10.1007/s11192-019-03262-1 (DOI)000495348700008 ()2-s2.0-85074815376 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2019-11-09 Created: 2019-11-09 Last updated: 2020-02-03Bibliographically approved
4. The importance of collaboration and supervisor behaviour for gender differences in doctoral student performance and early career development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The importance of collaboration and supervisor behaviour for gender differences in doctoral student performance and early career development
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Information Studies Sociology Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-167697 (URN)
Available from: 2020-02-01 Created: 2020-02-01 Last updated: 2020-02-03

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