Does Referee Gender Make a Difference?

Once again, Jonathan Weisberg (Toronto), one of the managing editors of Ergolooks at the journal’s data to see what, if anything, can be learned from it. This time, he focuses on what difference the gender of an article’s referee makes.

Professor Weisberg finds that at Ergo:

  1. A greater percentage of men than women who are asked agree to referee requests.
  2. Men, on average, complete referee reports in less time than women.
  3. Women referees recommend papers be rejected or undergo major revision more than men.*
  4. Men referees recommend papers be accepted or undergo only minor revision more than women.*
  5. The gender of the referee makes no difference to whether the editor follows the referee’s recommendation.

* Regarding the differences reported in 3 and 4, Professor Weisberg says that a chi-square test of independence finds the differences are not statistically significant.

Professor Weisberg does not report on whether he looked into whether referee recommendations differed by gender when the genders of the papers’ authors were taken into account. For example, do men and women referees differ in their recommendations of papers written by women? That would be interesting to learn.

For the numbers and details, visit Professor Weisberg’s blog.


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