Recent trends in the U.S. Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (BSSR) workforce

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 12, Issue 2)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Author abstract
Length: 7,611 words
Lexile Measure: 1340L

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Abstract :

While behavioral and social sciences occupations comprise one of the largest portions of the "STEM" workforce, most studies of diversity in STEM overlook this population, focusing instead on fields such as biomedical or physical sciences. This study evaluates major demographic trends and productivity in the behavioral and social sciences research (BSSR) workforce in the United States during the past decade. Our analysis shows that the demographic trends for different BSSR fields vary. In terms of gender balance, there is no single trend across all BSSR fields; rather, the problems are field-specific, and disciplines such as economics and political science continue to have more men than women. We also show that all BSSR fields suffer from a lack of racial and ethnic diversity. The BSSR workforce is, in fact, less representative of racial and ethnic minorities than are biomedical sciences or engineering. Moreover, in many BSSR subfields, minorities are less likely to receive funding. We point to various funding distribution patterns across different demographic groups of BSSR scientists, and discuss several policy implications.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A480256466