Friday, January 18, 2008

Towards equality of a sort

In today's Informed Reader (B6, subscription required, third item) is a blurb scooping the Jan. 19 New Scientist, offering a conclusion that I thought was obvious...until I realized that I was using hindsight bias, a.k.a. Monday morning quarterbacking. The conclusion in question: that females do better in the "male" worlds of, for example, symphony orchestras and academic papers if the judges don't know their gender.

...To test whether this is true, a team at the University of Toronto led by Amber Budden looked at the journal Behavioral Ecology, which switched to a double-blind peer-review process in 2001. The study found that 8% more female authors had papers published once authors' identities were hidden. Dr. Budden believes the findings should spur a debate about adopting anonymous review policies in scientific fields.

Sounds like a good start. Is the 8% statistically significant, though? And the one journal? But I'm all for it, especially since my status happens to be female and (hopefully!) publishing papers in the future.

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