A new analysis of data collected by the Research Corporation (see related story) shows a small gender gap in research productivity at predominately undergraduate colleges.

The analysis, conducted by the Research Corporation and based on data collected for the study Academic Excellence: The Sourcebook, shows that women at all levels lag men slightly in the publication of peer-reviewed journal articles. The study was sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, The Robert A. Welch Foundation, the W. M. Keck Foundation, The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and the Research Corporation The productivity numbers are from 2980 respondents, 67% of all science faculty from the133 participating predominantly undergraduate institutions.

Over the 10-year period between 1991 and 2000:

* Female full professors reported 6.1 publications, with 61% of institutions reporting at least one female faculty member at this rank. Male full professors reported 6.6 publications, with 99% of all faculty members reporting at least one male faculty member at this rank.

* Female associate professors reported 4.6 publications, with 75% of all institutions reporting at least one female faculty member at this rank. Male associate professors reported 5.5 publications, with 98% of all institutions reporting at least one male faculty member at this rank.

* Female assistant professors reported 4.3 publications, with 74% of institutions reporting at least one faculty member at this rank. Male assistant professors reported 5.0 publications, with 94% of institutions reporting at least one male faculty member at this rank.

Data for younger faculty members--those who have been faculty members for less than 10 years--were corrected for their term of service, so that, for example, a professor with 5 years of service and two peer-reviewed publications was credited with four publications over the 10-year period.

Research Corporation Vice President Michael Doyle, the study's principle author, discounts the gender productivity gap. "Since the sample size changes in proceeding from assistant professor--nearly 40% of this category are women--to full professor--less than 20% of this category are women--we are comparing increasingly small numbers of women--less than 200 as full professor. Also, the data thus far are not differentiated according to department, so we may be comparing dramatically different disciplinary expectations. All I'm prepared to say at this time," Doyle says, "is that the numbers are nearly the same."

The CDC will provide more analysis of the Research Corporation report in the coming weeks.

Jim Austin is the editor of Science Careers. @SciCareerEditor on Twitter