Papers and reports are grouped by research topic. Click on a title to download a PDF of the publication (when available).

You can view reproducibility details (including code and, when available, data) for some projects at my Open Science Framework repository or GitHub repository.

Students: Interested in Research?

If you are a student at Santa Clara University and you think you might be interested in research, please come talk with me. Take a look at the projects below; see if any of them spark your interest, or if you have an idea for a similar research topic. Or if you're just generally interested in getting involved, but not sure what you're interested in doing, we can figure it out together! Check here for my office hours and drop by to chat about how we might be able to work together.

Knowledge Inequality

Never before has such a wealth of information been so immediately accessible to so many and yet the filtering demands so high. Information truly is power; who possesses it and wields it most effectively has profound consequences for inequality and human welfare. Are some groups systematically advantaged across all areas of factual knowledge? Or is there a knowledge division of labor, in which some groups specialize in certain areas? Rather surprisingly, we have no systematic accounting of who knows what. My dissertation provides a comprehensive description of knowledge in the United States. To accomplish this, I compiled data on 513 factual knowledge questions from 48 nationally representative surveys fielded between the years 2005 and 2015. The first paper explores overall trends in the general knowledge of United States adults in 16 different domains. People know the most about current events and the least about economics. The second explores demographic patterns in differential knowledge attainment, providing concrete evidence on the size of knowledge disparities by gender. Social expectations and socialization shape the knowledge acquired by men and women, with dramatic consequences for inequality. Taken together, this research analyzes the social ecosystem of knowledge. I investigate many domains of factual knowledge from religion to language to science to war. I evaluate men's and women's command over factual knowledge in a wide variety of domains. I describe the present state of factual knowledge, and I present gendered patterns of inequalities.

  • King, Molly M. Working paper, available on request. “Taking Stock of Knowledge in the U.S."
  • King, Molly M. Working paper, available on request. “Gender Gaps in Knowledge."

Gender & Scientific Careers

Producing and owning knowledge has great potential power to affect inequality through the control of these resources. An important component of understanding who "owns" knowledge is understanding who takes the credit for the creation of new knowledge. With the support of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, I have worked with an interdisciplinary team to study gender inequalities in the academic workplace, using academic publishing as a case study. My network analyses of citation patterns in 1.5 million JSTOR research articles find that women academics are underrepresented in the prestige positions of first and sole author and significantly less likely to cite their own previous work. My findings have implications for academic career paths for women, through ramifications for cumulative disadvantage. Both articles on gender and science are in the top 5% of all research articles discussed by non-scientists (according to metrics from and both have been extensively covered by the news media, underscoring my commitment to public sociology.

Open & Reproducible Science

Advancing research on reproducibility and transparency in the social science community is a natural extension of my research on knowledge inequality. As a scholar employing large data sets in my research, I have also conducted research on the challenges facing reproducible and open social science. Together with Jeremy Freese, I study how institutions and research infrastructure constrain and enable efforts toward greater transparency in social science. We make numerous research-based recommendations for policy and institutional change at various levels to promote a healthy social science ecosystem.

Health Care

I have been involved with the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality throughout most of my graduate school career. As part of this work, I have produced research reports on health disparities by race, gender, income, and intersections of these identities across the United States. Prior to graduate school, I worked as a Research Assistant in the Department of Medical Informatics at Oregon Health and Science University. Our research focused on clinical team structures and information technologies that support higher quality, lower cost health care for patients with chronic conditions.


  • Gupta, Agam, Molly M. King, James Magdanz, Regina Martinez, Matteo Smerlak, and Brady Stoll (authors alphabetical). 2013. “Critical connectivity in banking networks. Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School proceedings.
  • King, Molly M. 2009. An investigation into the interaction of X. laevis telomeric proteins TRF1 and PinX1. Undergraduate senior thesis. Reed College Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Biology Department. Portland, Oregon.