More “women in science” stuff, but less gloomy this time

29 01 2014

I’ve just emailed the editors of Animal Welfare and Applied Animal Behaviour Science, as promised to my group, to ask why they don’t have double-blind peer review and see if they’d consider adopting it. What I didn’t tell these editors is that one study apparently suggests that double-blind peer reviewing seems to improve womens’ chances just because womens’ chances have got better over time anyway, i.e. an order effect acts as a confound (which only shows up if you track non-double blind journals over the same period). So that is cautious good news! It’s clear the jury is still out on this though, and this study doesn’t not speak to the issue of “institution bias”, so I still suspect double-blind is best.

And this new story, while not exactly good news as it does highlight the sexism of men, does identify a way to tackle one problem: the paucity of invited female speakers at conferences. The solution: have at least one woman on the organising committee, and then the % women being invited goes way up (from 25% to 43% in this study).