Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sexist Peer Reviewer Suggests Study Needs Male Authors

quote [ In [a] woefully ironic turn of events, the reviewer of a rejected, solely female-authored manuscript examining gender bias in academia recommended that the scientists add in a couple of men to their team to make their research more scientifically robust. ]

[SFW] [science & technology]
[by bltrocker@4:06pmGMT]

Comments

azazel said @ 6:31pm GMT on 6th May
Aren't reviewers supposed to be anonymous when it's a refereed journal? I'm a bit confused how anyone's supposed to "name and shame" the reviewer, from that.

Also, this: The reviewer, whose gender is unknown
I'm gonna take a wild stab in the dark and guess it's a guy.
arrowhen said @ 7:10pm GMT on 6th May
That's sexist!
bltrocker said @ 9:34pm GMT on 6th May
Yeah, I don't think they thought that sentence through, especially when one of the interesting points of the story is that PLOS is thinking about ways to de-anonymize in special circumstances.
mechanical contrivance said[1] @ 6:58pm GMT on 6th May
If the study was well designed and well executed, there is no need to have men and women on the team. If, however, the researchers let their personal feelings color the study, then a mixed team would be better. Of course, if the researchers are letting their feelings color the study, the whole thing is worthless, anyway.

Also:
Twitter users getting angry has become meaningless to me. It seems to happen all the time. I just can't bring myself to care anymore.
yevishere said @ 7:02pm GMT on 6th May [Score:1 Underrated]
Never cared in the first place.
azazel said @ 7:42pm GMT on 6th May
I used twitter for maybe a week before I got bored with it. The only thing I've used it for lately has been to ask the author of The Fire Sermon (by Francesca Haig) whether the book's name had anything to do with T.S. Eliot's poem (or the original sermon from Buddha) as I saw similarities; she confirmed my suspicions. Also told her that I disagreed with the blurb on the back calling it a mix between The Hunger Games and The Road, and rather thought it was more like Wyndham's The Chrysalids or Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz, to which she agreed (and also admitted that there were references to both in her book, which once pointed out was pretty obvious).

Anyway. Twitter is basically useless, but some interactions are good; I don't think I'd ever bother to actually email an author a question or comment, but 140 character message? Even I can do that much.
biblebeltdrunk said @ 7:55pm GMT on 6th May
i mainly use it for porn
lilmookieesquire said @ 8:11pm GMT on 6th May
Twitter is good for real time coverage of world trends but generally I've never understood why people use it.
bltrocker said @ 9:36pm GMT on 6th May
The point isn't that twitter users got angry, it's that the authors took to the twitter megaphone and shamed PLOS into making a public apology and sending the manuscript to a new editor (who is the real person at fault, here).
lilmookieesquire said @ 11:54pm GMT on 6th May
Honestly though, given the topic was on gender bias there's perhaps a few valid points/concerns in there perhaps. But the reviewer took it way too far I think. It's okay to point out gender bias but you can't really assume putting a guy in there will fix it etc. But in terms of practical advice that might be a politically wise choice- but if the reviewer doesn't agree with the report in general than it becomes way way inappropriate. If their conclusions and methods are so bad, they just need to find a better scientist- gender shouldn't matter as much as good sciencing (legit term I swear) does.

But I kind of think going to Twitter and publicly shaming the journal imight undercut their argument as opposed to perhaps including a link to a counter argument refuting the reviewers points. ie. crying "sexism" on Twitter is more about politicking than about debate/science/argument.

That said- in the real world politicking is part of science and if the journal is giving out shit reviews like that one, a little shaming into raising the quality of their reviews is more than appropriate and in that case probably (I assume) the poor quality of reviews in the journal probably serves to underscore their argument.

But that's a shot in the dark- I'm just going off assumptions here.

But I'd say the real issue here is the quality of the journal reviews because while the reviewer might have had a couple valid points regarding gender bias and where they would like to see the report come from and going, the reviewer definitely seems to have gone into unprofessional territory. But if the journal is worthwhile it should have steps in place to deal with that.

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