American prosperity and military superiority cannot be maintained with the current shortage of scientists with advanced degrees. How we arrived at this crisis-the embedding of scientific research at male-dominated universities-is less important than what we do to redress it. Approximately ten percent of full professors in the S.T.E.M. disciplines in the United States, and four percent of full professors in physics and engineering, are women, one of the lowest rates among highly developed nations. Top scientists with African-American, Latino, or American Indian ancestry are barely represented. Ultimately, the solution to this gender imbalance is to recruit more native-born women and underrepresented minorities for senior positions in American science. First, we need to attract more women and minorities to pursue advanced degrees. Equally important are new tools to evaluate scientists throughout their careers to replace the unreliable simple count of publications. It merely measures the number of collaborators of a scientist, where men have an overwhelming advantage. Drawing primarily on the literature in program evaluation, the author presents two proposed metrics that would more accurately represent the research contributions of women scholars.
Independent scholar Fisher has startling facts and figures and asserts that at least part of the problem in attracting and retaining new scientists is that women are openly discouraged in the classroom, in the lab, and in the boardroom. He finds that filling the "scientist gap" requires taking a hard look at universities that cater exclusively to white males and a "publish or perish" academic system in which having a female first name will guarantee you will perish.
Robert Leslie Fisher was educated in New York City. He attended Stuyvesant High School, a special school for science oriented students, and has degrees in Sociology from City College of New York (B.A. cum laude) and Columbia University (M. Philosophy). Before embarking on a career as an independent scholar, Mr. Fisher had a varied career in New York State government as a criminal justice planner, research contracts officer, and program evaluator. He is also the author of The Research Productivity of Scientists: How Gender, Organization Culture, and the Problem Choice Process Influence the Productivity of Scientists, published by University Press of America (2005).
Part 1 Preface Part 2 Introduction Chapter 3 Why are so few women in the STEM fields? Chapter 4 The mismeasure of scientific productivity Chapter 5 New ways of conceptualizing scientific productivity Chapter 6 Conclusions and policy recommendations Part 7 Appendix One: Measuring research productivity in a gender neutral way Part 8 Appendix Two: Data comparing countries in respect to women researchers Part 9 Index Part 10 About the Author