Men cite themselves more than women do

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Men may cite themselves more than women do because they might face fewer social penalties for self-promotion.

Men cite their own papers 56% more than women on average, according to an analysis of 1.5 million studies published between 1779 and 2011.

The analysis looked at papers across disciplines in the digital library JSTOR and found that men’s self-citation rate had risen to 70% more than women’s over the past two decades, despite an increase of women in academia in recent years. Around 10% of a given paper’s references are likely to be self-citations by the paper’s authors regardless of their gender.

What the analysis, posted on arXiv on 5 July, cannot clarify is whether this trend is a by-product of the under-representation of women in senior academic positions or some separate effect.

According to the paper, academics working in ecology and evolution, sociology and molecular biology are the most likely to cite themselves, whereas historians and classical studies scholars are the least likely.

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