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A typical male researcher when exposed to IT.

A new study authored in part by Haas School of Business’ Waverly Ding seems to suggest that “access to information technology benefits female research scientists more than their male counterparts.”

Apparently, female researchers with access to IT saw an 18 percent boost in publications in certain institutions. “I’m not saying IT isn’t helping men; it’s positive for both,” says Ding. “However, women gain more from IT advancement in universities than men do.”

The study surveyed more than 4,000 researchers from the past 25 years. To account for the years prior to the mid-1990s, when the Internet not yet in wide use, Ding studied access to a prototypical informational technology called “BITNET.” The technology lacked email and search engines, but it did allow for researchers to connect and share information among one another. Historically, after a university installed a BITNET system, “women’s publications increased 19 percent.” There was no significant gain for men.

It begs the question: what could those male researchers possibly have been using IT for, if not strictly for research purposes? Hmm…

Closing the Gender Gap in Scientific Publishing [Haas Newsroom]
Image Source: praziquantel under Creative Commons