manuscript rejection rates

lisa vaillancourt vaillan at
Fri Oct 29 12:00:32 EST 1999

<fontfamily><param>Times</param><bigger><bigger>Valerie, this UCSF
study you mention is very interesting, and the findings are not
something that I had considered.  It does make sense, though, given the
female tendency to accept criticism rather than to assume that the
critic is an idiot.  I see this tendency very strongly in myself and my
female students, but not in my male colleagues, who generally seem more
confident in their own abilities.  What I was originally wondering was
whether manuscript rejection rates were higher for women than for men. 
I have read a few other studies that generally showed that work by
women was questioned more and taken less seriously than that by men,
and so it seemed possible that women submit equally, but are rejected
more.  Your study would suggest that women end up publishing fewer
papers but in presumably better journals.  I wonder if there are data
on that ?  I think these questions could be a very good topic for a
study by someone, and if differences were proved out, it might make
journal editors more aware of bias that could exist.  

Ann, you are right that to succeed we need to publish a lot, and so we
probably need to relax a bit about the "small stuff".  But I wonder if
we, as women, have much of a choice about this. I wonder if editors and
reviewers are more critical of these small "dark spots" when the author
is a woman than they are when the author is a man.  Your comments about
reading between the lines of reviews are interesting, I had not fully
considered these things before.  Perhaps men tend to think of these
possible reasons for rejection more often, and that is why they take
the criticism less seriously.  

Lisa Vaillancourt

Assistant Professor

Department of Plant Pathology

S-305 Agricultural Science Center North

Lexington, KY 47546-0091

telephone (606) 257-2203

fax (606) 323-1961

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