Organisation - March 15, 2018

WUR to use bibliometrics to find women

Roelof Kleis,Kenneth van Zijl

Wageningen University & Research will be using bibliometrics in the search for suitable women for professorships. WUR Library will track down candidates on the basis of publication data.

© Guy Ackermans

Female professors are hard to find. Recruitment via the traditional channels produces too few candidates. Human Resources is now looking for new methods and plans to do a trial with bibliometrics together with WUR Library. The articles published by the chair group will serve as the starting point, explains information specialist Theo Jetten of WUR Library. ‘The first step is to convert article titles and abstracts into relevant keywords. We will then discuss with the appointment advisory committee whether these keywords are meaningful. Then we will use those keywords to search a database for potential candidates.’

The idea is to use this as a way of identifying candidates that you might otherwise miss.
Theo Jetten, information specialist

In the next stage, other bibliometric data will be used as well, such as the H-index and citation scores, which give an indication of someone’s scientific quality. Incidentally, the search is not limited to women. Jetten: ‘The idea is to use this as a way of identifying candidates that you might otherwise miss, such as international candidates. The university wants more women, but it is up to the appointment advisory committee which candidates they then decide to approach.’

Six vacancies
The new recruitment approach comes from Delft. Wageningen will be testing the instrument in the recruitment of a new professor of Law, says Hedwig Casteels of Corporate Human Resources, which is responsible for recruiting professors. She hopes the new approach will highlight talented women and international candidates in particular. Wageningen has at least six vacancies for professorships this year. Recruitment for five of them started back in December, before the new method was available.

WUR appointed four female professors last year. Two were personal professors and two were professors holding a chair. On the other hand, eight male professors were appointed — four personal professors and four professors holding a chair.