Differences in STEM doctoral publication by ethnicity, gender and academic field at a large public research university

PLoS One. 2017 Apr 5;12(4):e0174296. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174296. eCollection 2017.


Two independent surveys of PhD students in STEM fields at the University of California, Berkeley, indicate that underrepresented minorities (URMs) publish at significantly lower rates than non-URM males, placing the former at a significant disadvantage as they compete for postdoctoral and faculty positions. Differences as a function of gender reveal a similar, though less consistent, pattern. A conspicuous exception is Berkeley's College of Chemistry, where publication rates are tightly clustered as a function of ethnicity and gender, and where PhD students experience a highly structured program that includes early and systematic involvement in research, as well as clear expectations for publishing. Social science research supports the hypothesis that this more structured environment hastens the successful induction of diverse groups into the high-performance STEM academic track.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Engineering
  • Faculty
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Publications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Publishing / statistics & numerical data
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Report
  • Science
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data

Grants and funding

This research is supported by the National Science Foundation (nsf.gov) under Award Numbers 1038192 and 1306747, as well as grant from the Kapor Center for Social Impact (kaporcenter.org), to MAR. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.