Altmetric gender bias? – An exploratory study
The purpose of this study was to explore the existence of a gender bias in scholarly social media, specifically in the free, online reference manager Mendeley. Users of the online reference manager, Mendeley, are designated as “readers”, and Mendeley records and displays the number of users (“readers”) who saved/bookmarked the specific item to their reference libraries. In this paper we compare the number of readers of articles for which at least one author was male to the number of readers of articles for which at least one author was female. Our dataset was comprised of the publications of 60 women and 233 men. The researchers in this study were astrophysicists. Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science (WOS) was used to retrieve 12,000 publications of the above mentioned researchers. We searched for the number of Mendeley readers of each of these publications and calculated the average number of readers per male versus female authored publications. The analysis shows that that the average number of readers of publications of female authored publications was slightly higher than that of male authored publications, but the proportion of male authored publications found on Mendeley was slightly higher than on Web of Science. In addition male authored publications had the highest number of Mendeley readers in the dataset. To sum up, this exploratory study did not find concrete evidence for gender bias on Mendeley.
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