Study highlights gender imbalance in peer review

Women peer review fewer papers than men but are more likely to reject the papers they review, a new study shows.

Jon Brock
Jon Brock
Jun 25 · 2 min read

This article was originally published in Nature Index in October 2017


For established scientists, reviewing the work of their peers is an important but largely unrewarded duty. But for early career researchers like Amalie Dyda, an epidemiologist at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, opportunities to take part in the peer review process are an essential part of professional development. “It’s a really big learning experience,” she explains. “It helps you develop your skills as a scientist.”

Recent studies suggest that, as in many other aspects of science, peer review is subject to gender imbalance, with women participating less than men. The latest evidence comes from an analysis of the Publons website, which allows scholars to record their completed peer reviews and have them verified by the publishing journals.

The study’s author, José Luis Ortega, from the Cybermetrics Lab in Madrid, began by harvesting 266,391 profiles from the Publons website, identifying 571 users with at least 10 verified reviews and a corresponding profile on Google Scholar.

His initial analyses showed no strong relationships between peer review activity and publishing metrics such as H-index or total citations. He did, however, find that senior academics registered more reviews on Publons than junior researchers, and that women registered fewer reviews than men. This gender bias was particularly strong amongst junior researchers including lecturers, research fellows and PhD students.


Continue reading at Nature Index.

Dr Jon Brock

Science writings: Neuroscience, psychology, science publishing, open science, science communication

Jon Brock

Written by

Jon Brock

Cognitive scientist, science writer, and co-founder of Frankl Open Science. Thoughts my own, subject to change.

Dr Jon Brock

Science writings: Neuroscience, psychology, science publishing, open science, science communication