Study Finds a Shortage of Women as Peer Reviewers in Scientific Journals

American Geophysical UnionA study by the American Geophysical Union finds that women are underrepresented as peer reviewers for journals in the field. The study examined the gender of all peer reviewers for papers published in the 20 journals of the AGU between 2012 and 2015. The analysis found that women made up 20 percent of all peer reviewers. In contrast, women were the lead authors of 27 percent of papers published in these journals and are 28 percent of the members of the American Geophysical Union.

According to the AGU, “peer review is an essential part of scholarly publishing and building a scientific career. Scientific journals rely on reviews of manuscripts by experts to ensure the standards, quality and significance of the papers published in their journals. Reviewing manuscripts helps scientists develop their own writing and expertise and foster relationships with others in the field.”

The AGU found that the low number of women peer reviewers is a result of fewer women being asked to review journal articles by authors and editors, especially men.

Eric Davidson, president of the American Geophysical Union, stated that “a better understanding and awareness of the issue of implicit bias across career-building activities will lead to better advancement and retention of women in the sciences.”

Filed Under: Research/StudySTEM Fields

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