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bias in peer review

Mr. W.Y. Chan wahchan at liverpool.ac.uk
Fri Jun 13 09:50:42 EST 1997

Constanze Bonifer (bonifer at sun2.ruf.uni-freiburg.de) wrote:
: I have just now read the article in Nature magazine about the bias against 
: women in peer review. I was shocked. All those years I had ideas about 
: women being less successful in getting positions because of
: - problems to combine family obligations and career
: -problems with the old boys network
: -problems because networking is not something that women are used to do
: - general education, problems with self - esteem

: And so on. All kinds of reasons. And then I read this article about the 
: peer review system in one of the most advanced countries in the world
: when it comes to womens rights and here we are:
: None of these reasons apply, because the study strictly compares
: scientists who have published with the same impact factor.

: So it is simple, plain discrimination. Women have to be 2.4 times as 
: productive than men to get the same evaluation.Full stop.
: Why is this so? When reading the article it seems that also the 
: authors are at a bit of a loss here. They obviously are reluctant to say 
: it: IT IS IN THE HEADS of the peers that women are not as good as men.
: and: if you are a female with no connections, forget about a 
: science career.

: This would also explain why less and less women advance to higher
: positions. Because they are more and more dependent on peer reviews.

: So how is it in other countries? And what on earth do we do about this?
: If this study proves to be true I see only one solution:
: A simple plain quota.Take scientists who have published with the same impact 
: factor, divide the grants up so much percentage men, so much percentage women.
: And evaluate men and women separately.

: This might sound pretty radical. But I think what this study implies is pretty 
: outrageous, too. It would be good to get more information.

: It will also be very interesting to know what the Swedes are going to do about 
: this. Because here not just numbers, but individuals have been betrayed.
: Any Swedes out there? Women who have not gotten grants?

: Constanze

Well, in some cases I have to agree but in other cases it completely
opposite. While it can be true that women are descriminated it is also
possible in other areas that women can be accepted and given special
treatment over men which result in men being descriminated, some calls
it "positive descrimination" but this idea is contradictive to the theory of
equality. I do not believe women are the only one who are descriminated, I
often believe I have to perform 3 times better than my white colleges to
be on equal footing with them, but if I choose to find work in our local
Council I would be more likely to get a job there than a white man who
has previouse experience because I can represent a face which belongs to
an ethnic minority. Personally I do not agree with this and people should be
judged for their merit and their capacity to carry the job.


: Constanze Bonifer
: Institut fuer BiologieIII
: Universitaet Freiburg

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