COVID-19 as a chronic stressor and the importance of individual identity: A data-driven look at academic productivity during the pandemic

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted personal and professional life. For academics, research, teaching, and service tasks were upended and we all had to navigate the altered landscape. However, some individuals faced a disproportionate burden, particularly academics with minoritized identities or those who were early career, were caregivers, or had intersecting identities. As comparative endocrinologists, we determine how aspects of individual and species-level variation influence response to, recovery from, and resilience in the face of stressors. Here, we flip that framework and apply an integrative biological lens to the impact of the COVID-19 chronic stressor on our endocrine community. We address how the pandemic altered impact factors of academia (e.g., scholarly products) and relatedly, how factors of impact (e.g., sex, gender, race, career stage, caregiver status, etc.) altered the way in which individuals could respond. We predict the pandemic will have long-term impacts on the population dynamics, composition, and landscape of our academic ecosystem. Impact factors of research, namely journal submissions, were altered by COVID-19, and women authors saw a big dip. We discuss this broadly and then report General and Comparative Endocrinology (GCE) manuscript submission and acceptance status by gender and geographic region from 2019 to 2023. We also summarize how the pandemic impacted individuals with different axes of identity, how academic institutions have responded, compile proposed solutions, and conclude with a discussion on what we can all do to (re)build the academy in an equitable way. At GCE, the first author positions had gender parity, but men outnumbered women at the corresponding author position. Region of manuscript origin mattered for submission and acceptance rates, and women authors from Asia and the Middle East were the most heavily impacted by the pandemic. The number of manuscripts submitted dropped after year 1 of the pandemic and has not yet recovered. Thus, COVID-19 was a chronic stressor for the GCE community.

Description

Under embargo until 27 October 2024. © 2023. This manuscript version is made available under the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

Submissions, Acceptance, Pandemic, Gender Bias, Productivity, Publishing, Impacts, Tenure

Citation

Harris, B. N., Bauer, C. M., Carr, J. A., Gabor, C. R., Grindstaff, J. L., Guoynes, C. D., Heppner, J. J., Ledón-Rettig, C. C., Lopes, P. C., Lynn, S. E., Madelaire, C. B., Neuman‐Lee, L. A., Palacios, M. G., Soto, P. L., & Terry, J. (2023). COVID-19 as a chronic stressor and the importance of individual identity: A data-driven look at academic productivity during the pandemic. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 114394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2023.114394

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