Gender in the peer review process

Intro

In our third meeting, on May 4th, we will address how gender figures in the scientific peer review process. It’s important to make explicit the implicit negative gender biases of scientists, in a way that specific action plans can be devised to correct the issue.
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  1. Gender bias in scholarly peer review:
    https://elifesciences.org/content/6/e21718
  2. Journals invite too few women to referee:
    http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/1.21337!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/541455a1.pdf
  3. Gender imbalance in science journals is still pervasive:
    http://www.nature.com/news/gender-imbalance-in-science-journals-is-still-pervasive-1.21348

And in addition, a longer paper from 2016
Author-suggested reviewers: gender differences and influences on the peer review process at an ecology journal:
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2435.12665/epdf

Questions to discuss in smaller groups:

a) Is this a consequence of gender biased networks i.e. homophily?
b) How does this knowledge contribute and lead to development?
c) What tools can we imply to handle biases in the review process?

Among older papers, you can also read about the discussion on the double-blind review. See

Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534707002704

And a continuation of the debate:
http://www.cell.com/trends/ecology-evolution/pdf/S0169-5347(08)00138-9.pdf

Meeting minutes

Announcements

  • Johanna Liljestrand Rönn has sent out the documents with what happens in the case of sexual harassment in the department, they are now available on the website: http://www.genderperspectivesinscience.xyz/2017/04/27/plan-of-action-sexual-harassment/
    She is currently working on a summary in English that also will be available on the same page.

  • Fika list has been updated. At least two people per meeting seems fair. It can be found at http://www.genderperspectivesinscience.xyz/schedule/

  • We voted for taking a break with the topics for the summer. The discussion group will still meet and talk during the whole summer, but the proposed topics will be put on hold from mid/late June until mid August.

  • Feedback on the website was positive, and it was agreed that the intention is for the website to primarily be a resource for us as a discussion group, but may be used as outreach as well.

  • The blog was announced:

    • Open for everyone to write a blogpost (opinionated piece) under your own names

    • Can be spread further than the main website content

Discussion of “Gender perspectives in the review process”

(Below is a summary of points discussed by people part of the discussion groups. The group as a whole did not reach or attempt to reach any consensus)

  • Ingrid Ahnesjö summarised the guiding literature. From the content she had prepared three main questions. Three groups were formed and discussed one question each. After discussions, each group summarised their main points on the blackboard, and short discussion around each question with the whole group took place.

    • Q1: Is the reviewer bias a consequence of gender biased networks, i.e. homophily?

      • Points brought up by the small group:

        • Homophily could be both good and bad depending on context, motivation, implicit or overt bias.

        • In the ideal situation (perfect equality) it is not recommended – since the situation is far from ideal, homophily in the case of women will help close the gender gap.

    • Q2: What tools can we implement to handle biases in the review process?

      • Points brought up by the small group:
        Who can do what?

        • Journals – hire diverse group of editors

        • Editors – diverse set of reviewers, need a larger pool of reviewers

        • Universities + Conferences – set up networks, courses. Include more people in the review process, e.g. more “less” qualified reviewers.

        • Authors- suggest diverse reviewers

    • Q3: How will this knowledge contribute to the future and lead the development?

      • Points brought up by the small group:

        • Merit-based equal opportunity system

        • Today “merit-based” system favors men

        • Ideally, system should be merit-based (if all else was equal)

        • Equal opportunities (quotas) at grant applications, job search, at university application level, and merit-based system later

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