Differential Social Network Effects on Scholarly Productivity: An Intersectional Analysis

Monica Gaughan, Julia Melkers, Eric Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Academic productivity is realized through resources obtained from professional networks in which scientists are embedded. Using a national survey of academic faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields across multiple institution types, we examine how the structure of professional networks affects scholarly productivity and how those effects may differ by race, ethnicity, and gender. We find that network size masks important differences in composition. Using negative binomial regression, we find that both the size and composition of professional networks affect scientific productivity, but bigger is not always better. We find that instrumental networks increase scholarly productivity, while advice networks reduce it. There are important interactive effects that are masked by modeling only direct effects. We find that white men are especially advantaged by instrumental networks, and women are especially advantaged by advice networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)570-599
Number of pages30
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • academic productivity
  • advice networks
  • gender
  • social networks
  • underrepresented minorities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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