CGHE Seminar 110

Do we need a feminist bibliometrics?

  • Thursday, 30 May 2019 12:30 - 14:00
  • Seminar Room G, Department of Education, University of Oxford

Bibliometrics is the scientific investigation of the quality or impact of academic publications, based on data about research productivity and citation numbers. Bibliometric data is increasingly being used by research managers and academics to assess research excellence, and is assumed to be an objective basis for decisions about hiring, promotion, tenure, awarding grants, and as a marker of the quality of an individual’s research. However, empirical studies reveal that the concept of academic excellence is a social construct, is gendered and discriminates against women (Rees, 2011; van den Brink and Benshop, 2011).

There is conflicting evidence for and against bibliometrics being a technology that can harm (Brooks et al., 2014) or liberate female academics (van Arensbergen et al., 2012), the field of gender studies, and feminist scholarship. This research seminar paper will present a review of the literature on gender and bibliometrics, and gender and academic excellence.

The seminar will focus on gendered excellence in the social sciences and ultimately pose and answer the question, ‘Do we need a feminist bibliometrics?’ Is there a need for a fresh approach to bibliometrics and research evaluation that exposes and removes gendered assumptions and biases about what constitutes excellence in the academy? And what would a feminist bibliometrics look like?


All seminars are free and open to the public. No advance booking required.

Claire Donovan

Claire Donovan

Dr Claire Donovan is a Reader in Science Policy and Research Governance at Brunel Business School, Brunel University London. She has a background in philosophy, and social and political thought, and previously held research and teaching positions at The Open University; Nuffield College, Oxford University; and The Australian National University. She has published widely on research evaluation and policy, and is currently an International PI on an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant Project, ‘Gendered Excellence in the Social Sciences’, with Dr Fiona Jenkins (ANU) and Dr Helen Keane (ANU).

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