What Can We Learn from Highly Productive Women Scholars in Exercise Science?

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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The purpose of this paper is to examine factors related to success in academic publishing for women in exercise science. Two trained investigators conducted hand searches of 7 prominent exercise science journals to ascertain the names of the most prolific women authors between 1991 and 1996. Seventeen (17) women, whose names will not be revealed (due to confidentiality), were identified. Following their identification, women were asked to submit a copy of their vita and complete a questionnaire related to scholarly productivity. Thirteen out of seventeen women agreed to participate in the study, yielding a response rate of 76%. Personal attributes that contributed most to their success in publishing were self-motivation, discipline, and perseverance. Situational or sociological factors mentioned were the availability of mentors, talented collaborators, and institutional or personal support. Some tips for maximizing productivity include having proper preparation and a narrow focus, and developing skills in writing, research design, and analysis. Women reported many gender-related barriers early in their careers, but these barriers faded with experience and reputation establishment. The two most frequent recommendations for ensuring successful collaborations with others were completing work in a timely fashion and being a team player. Sacrifices made for publishing included fewer social interactions and less time for leisure activities and vacations. With the exception of some barriers related to gender, our findings are in agreement with others who have examined correlates of productivity in mixed samples of men and women from a variety of fields.