Who’s Talking about Scholarly Communication? An Examination of Gender and Behavior on the SCHOLCOMM Listserv

Authors: Clayton Hayes and Heidi Elaine Kelly

Abstract: INTRODUCTION This study analyzes the gender dynamics of the American Library Association’s SCHOLCOMM listserv in order to determine the accuracy of concerns expressed by participants in early 2016 regarding the dominance of male voices on the listserv. METHODS Utilizing the SCHOLCOMM listserv archive, openly available online, the authors analyzed metadata related to individual messages in order to create a comprehensive list of participants, which was then analyzed to determine gender identity. The authors utilized this information to correlate the frequency of new messages and replies sent to the list with the gender identity of participants. RESULTS While men represented 35% of the SCHOLCOMM list’s participants, they contributed over half of the messages sent to the listserv and two-thirds of those sent as replies on existing message threads. DISCUSSION The opinion of several SCHOLCOMM participants that male voices were overrepresented in listserv discussions proved to be true. The gender identity breakdown of those most active on the list may also influence the perceptions and/or behaviors of other listserv participants, however, and should be investigated further. CONCLUSION While this study substantiates the opinion of several listserv participants that male SCHOLCOMM participants account for a disproportionately large amount of listserv discussion, we argue that the dynamics of the listserv can and should be changed in order to better represent the participant population.

Citation: Hayes, C. & Kelly, H.E., (2017). Who’s Talking about Scholarly Communication? An Examination of Gender and Behavior on the SCHOLCOMM Listserv. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 5(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2017

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