Who are the acknowledgees? An analysis of gender and academic status

Abstract

Acknowledgements found in scholarly papers allow for credit attribution of nonauthor contributors. As such, they are associated with a different kind of recognition than authorship. While several studies have shown that social factors affect authorship and citation practices, few analyses have been performed on acknowledgements. Based on 878,250 acknowledgees mentioned in 291,167 papers published between 2015 and 2017, this study analyzes the gender and academic status of individuals named in the acknowledgements of scientific papers. Our results show that gender disparities generally found in authorship can be extended to acknowledgements, and that women are even more underrepresented in acknowledgements section than in authors’ lists. Our findings also show that women acknowledge proportionally more women than men do. Regarding academic status, our results show that acknowledgees who have already published tend to have a higher position in the academic hierarchy compared with all Web of Science (WoS) authors. Taken together, these findings suggest that acknowledgement practices might be associated with academic status and gender.

Publication
Quantitative Science Studies
Philippe Mongeon
Philippe Mongeon
Assistant Professor, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University

I am an assistant professor at the School of Information Management at Dalhousie University, director of the Quantitative Science Studies Lab, and associate member of the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST).

Maxime Sainte-Marie
Maxime Sainte-Marie
Postdoctoral researcher, Aarhus University
Vincent Larivière
Vincent Larivière
Associate Professor, Université de Montréal