Gender effects in research evaluation

Elsevier, Research Policy, Volume 46, Issue 5, June 2017, Pages 911-924
Tullio Jappelli, Carmela Anna Nappi, Roberto Torrini


The paper contributes to the literature on gender gap in research investigating whether there is a gender gap in research evaluation. We use detailed data on 180,000 research papers evaluated during the Italian national research assessment (VQR 2004–2010) conducted by the Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (Anvur). The data are merged with information on individual researchers and characteristics of referees. The most important empirical finding is that there is a significant gender gap in research evaluation. The gap is reduced once we control for researchers’ characteristics, such as age and academic rank, but is almost unaffected by the characteristics of the research output (monographs, journal articles, book chapters, etc.), co-authorships, international collaborations. Childbearing and maternity leaves do not account for the remaining gap in research evaluation. The evaluation method (peer review or bibliometric analysis) and the referee mix (whether men or women) do not disadvantage women. Analysis of a random sample of papers evaluated using bibliometric indicators and peer review reveals that bibliometric evaluation proves to be more favourable to women than peer review evaluation.


  • Research evaluation
  • Gender gap
  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Peer review
  • Maternity leaves