Don’t close that gap! Why a cohesive network hurts women (and helps men) to get ideas funded - Dirk Deichmann
Much research has been done to study why some scholarly ideas generate high scientific impact while others do not. However, knowledge on how researchers can get access to the necessary funds to conduct high-quality research has been scarce. In this study we explore whether the cohesion of a co-authorship network helps or hurts a grant applicant in getting research ideas funded. Drawing from attribution theory, we suggest that the benefits of network cohesion (i.e., having few structural holes) may depend on whether the grant applicant is a man or a woman. In order to test our hypotheses, we collected data about grant proposals which were submitted to a research funding organization by early-career scholars in 2014 and 2015. Controlling for the reviewer-assessed quality of the proposal shortly after its initial submission, we find that, by and of itself, network cohesion is not significantly associated with winning a research grant at the end of the evaluation process. The effect of cohesion, however, depends on the gender of the applicant: While male applicants have a significantly higher likelihood of winning a grant when they have a cohesive co-authorship network with few structural holes, for women the opposite holds true. They are more likely to get their ideas funded when they have an open network with many structural holes. We discuss the implications of our findings for theory and practice.