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PLoS One. 2017 May 10;12(5):e0176791. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176791. eCollection 2017.

Gender differences in scientific collaborations: Women are more egalitarian than men.

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Departamento de Física, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Campus do Pici 60451-970 Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.
Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Ceará, Campus Acaraú 62580-000 Acaraú, Ceará, Brazil.
Centro de Física Teórica e Computacional, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
Computational Physics for Engineering Materials, IfB, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.


By analyzing a unique dataset of more than 270,000 scientists, we discovered substantial gender differences in scientific collaborations. While men are more likely to collaborate with other men, women are more egalitarian. This is consistently observed over all fields and regardless of the number of collaborators a scientist has. The only exception is observed in the field of engineering, where this gender bias disappears with increasing number of collaborators. We also found that the distribution of the number of collaborators follows a truncated power law with a cut-off that is gender dependent and related to the gender differences in the number of published papers. Considering interdisciplinary research, our analysis shows that men and women behave similarly across fields, except in the case of natural sciences, where women with many collaborators are more likely to have collaborators from other fields.

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