Mentor-mentee interaction and laboratory social environment: Do they matter in doctoral students' publication productivity?

Document Type


Publication Title

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education


We explored the social shaping of science at the micro-level reality of face-to-face interaction in one of the traditional places for scientific activities—the scientific lab. We specifically examined how doctoral students' perception of their: (i) interaction with doctoral mentors (MMI) and (ii) lab social environment (LSE) influenced productivity. Construed as the production of peer-reviewed articles, we measured productivity using total number of articles (TOTAL), number of articles with impact factor greater than or equal to 4.00 (IFGE4), and number of first-authored articles (NFA). Via face-to-face interviews, we obtained data from n = 210 molecular biology Ph.D. students in selected universities in Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. Additional productivity data (NFA) were obtained from online bibliometric databases. To summarize the original 13 MMI and 13 LSE semantic-differential items which we used to measure students' perceptions, principal component (PC) analyses were performed. The results were smaller sets of 4 MMI PCs and 4 LSE PCs. To identify which PCs influenced publication counts, we performed Poisson regression analyses. Although perceived MMI was not linked to productivity, perceived LSE was linked: Students who perceived their LSE as intellectually stimulating reported high levels of productivity in both TOTAL and IFGE4, but not in NFA. Our findings not only highlight how students' perception of their training environment factors in the production of scientific output, our findings also carry important implications for improving mentoring programs in science. © 2016 by The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 45(2):130–144, 2017.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.