Marek Kwiek, an invited lecture in Berlin, the German Center for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) (November 2023)


Professor Marek Kwiek had an invited lecture the German Center for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW) on November 13, 2023. His lecture was about “Attrition in Academic Science: How Women (and Men) Disappear, a Global and Longitudinal Study of 143,000 Scientists”. The lecture was a part of his 2022-2024 engagement as a DZHW Visiting Researcher program.

His presentation was based on a newly published preprint with Lukasz Szymula (AMU and Boulder, Colorado):

Kwiek, Marek, and Łukasz Szymula. 2023. “Quantifying Attrition in Science: A Cohort-based, Longitudinal Study of Scientists in 38 OECD Countries.” SocArXiv. November 10. doi:10.31235/

We explore how scientists leave science: how attrition differs across genders, disciplines, and over time. In our cohort-based, longitudinal approach, we track scientists who started publishing in 2000 (N=142,776) and 2010 (N=232,843). Using publication metadata from Scopus—a global publication and citation database—we examine careers in 38 OECD countries across 16 STEMM disciplines. Survival analyses show that attrition becomes ever less gendered; regression models show that publication quantity is more consequential than publication quality. One additional publication increases the odds of staying in science by 15-20% (first cohort) and 20–40% (second cohort), depending on discipline. One-third of scientists from the first cohort left science after 5 years, a half after 10 years, and two-thirds by the end of the period examined, with the share of the leavers being consistently lower for men. While women are about one-tenth more likely to drop out after 5 and 10 years for the first cohort, women have equal odds to stay for the second cohort. Behind aggregated changes at the level of all disciplines, there are nuanced changes at the level of disciplines. Global bibliometric datasets are tested, opening new opportunities to explore gender and disciplinary differences in attrition.


Professor Marek Kwiek is Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies and UNESCO Chair in Institutional Research and Higher Education Policy, University of Poznan, Poland ( His research area is quantitative studies of science, with interests in globalization, academic profession, and international research collaboration. He has published 230 papers and his recent monograph is Changing European Academics: A Comparative Study of Social Stratification, Work Patterns and Research Productivity (Routledge, 2019). His most recent invited seminars include Berkeley, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Beijing and Hong Kong. He spent three years at North American universities, including the University of Virginia, UC Berkeley, National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC, and McGill University. He was also a Fulbright New Century Scholar in higher education (2007-2008) and a Professorial Visiting Fellow at the UCL Institute of Education, London (2012-2013). Currently, he is a Visiting Researcher at the German Center for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), Berlin. A Principal Investigator or country Team Leader in 25 international higher education research projects. An editorial board member of several academic journals, including Higher Education Quarterly, British Educational Research Journal, and European Educational Research Journal. A Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA) in Salzburg and Academia Europaeain London. Contact: Twitter: @Marek_Kwiek.


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