Tuesday, May 12, 2015

203.5 - This week: A two for one special! A second Clown Award!

Clown Award: unknown peer reviewer

This week: A two for one special! A second Clown Award!

Our clown here does not have a name. Or even a gender. But the identity as a clown is clear enough.

Fiona Ingleby, an evolutionary geneticist and postdoc at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, and Megan Head, an evolutionary biologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, together submitted a paper to PLOS ONE, an on-line peer-reviewed science journal based in San Francisco. The paper was about gender differences in the transition from PhD to postdoc and suggested that women may face a harder time in making that transition due to gender biases.

The peer-reviewer to who the paper was referred rejected the article not for flaws in its content or for lapses in the scientific process, but because it didn’t have enough input from men. Yes, I said that. The anonymous rerviewer wrote:
Perhaps it is not so surprising that on average male doctoral students co-author one more paper than female doctoral students, just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile a bit faster than female doctoral students.
Or maybe, he or she went on, the guys just work harder. Or maybe their papers are just better. Because, we're apparently supposed to gather, they're guys. And stuff.

So the reviewer suggested that the researchers find
one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors) in order to serve as a possible check against interpretations that may sometimes be drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically based assumptions.
To put it more bluntly, ya just can't trust them lady scientists, they need a couple of dudes in there to keep their pretty little heads on straight.

Again, we don't know the reviewer's identity or even their gender and if you say that it couldn't have been a women I say to you Phyllis Schlafly. What we do know is that when the researchers made a public stink over the journal's sluggish response to their appeal of the rejection, PLOS released a statement saying it "regrets the tone, spirit and content of this particular review" and promising reconsideration.

The other thing we know is that this reviewer, whoever they were, is a sexist clown.

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