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  • minority propensity to coauthor scientific publications

    When we discuss under-represented minorities (URDs) in the academic sciences, we often mention the importance of mentors and of providing role models to minorities. However, other than anecdotal evidence, there is no measure of whether having a minority role model actually facilitates the academic path. This work tries to answer the simple question: are minorities more likely to co-author papers within their minority circle?

    When we discuss under-represented minorities (URDs) in the academic sciences, we often mention the importance of mentors and of providing role models to minorities. However, other than anecdotal evidence, there is no measure of whether having a minority role model actually facilitates the academic path. This work tries to answer the simple question: are minorities more likely to co-author papers within their minority circle?

    We restrict this work to astronomy and astrophysics, because this is the field studied by the authors. Of course publications are not transparent to the author’s racial identity, so we limit the analysis to women, who, unfortunately, are still a minority in technical and scientific disciplines. The first names of authors are often available, and often gender revealing.

    We can parse the authors of ADS papers, extract first names, and attempt to identify gender. Then we can answer the question whether the gender distribution is consistent with random, or suggestive of minority clustering. If we find such clustering among the first few authors of papers, since the first few authors are often student or post-docs and their mentors, we can further speculate on the importance of mentoring within URDs.

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