This seems almost too classic to be real. Two women submit a research paper for peer review and get a suggestion that they should add a man or two as co-author(s). I’m not making it up.
Evolutionary geneticist Fiona Ingleby was shocked when she read the review accompanying the rejection for her latest manuscript, which investigates gender differences in the Ph.D.-to-postdoc transition, so she took the issue to Twitter.
Earlier today, Ingleby, a postdoc at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, posted two excerpts of the anonymous review. “It would probably … be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions,” the reviewer wrote in one portion.
Or, better yet, add one or two male biologists and then subtract the original female biologists. And change the subject to male superiority in the Ph.D.-to-postdoc transition. That would be perfect.
“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,” added the reviewer (whose gender is not known).
True, true. Not so surprising at all. It’s a matter of preferences, you see. Females are the marrying and child-having sex, you see, so it’s just natural that they don’t want to write as many papers, because they’re too busy being broody. Christina Hoff Sommers has explained all this very well.
Ingleby and her co-author, evolutionary biologist Megan Head of the Australian National University in Canberra, submitted the manuscript to “a mid-range journal with a broad readership,” Ingleby explained in an e-mail to ScienceInsider…
Ingleby and Head said they received the rejection with just the single review. “Not only did the review seem unprofessional and inappropriate, but it didn’t have any constructive or specific criticism to work on,” Ingleby wrote. (The reviewer wrote that the study is “methodologically weak” and “has fundamental flaws and weaknesses that cannot be adequately addressed by mere revision of the manuscript, however extensive,” according to a copy of the review Ingleby provided to ScienceInsider, but Ingleby says these comments are “quite vague” and therefore difficult to address.)
Three weeks ago, the pair appealed the rejection. The only communication they had received from the journal was an e-mail apologizing for the delay. So today Ingleby posted the excerpts because “we felt that the journal should have taken the appeal a bit more seriously – the review is so obviously inappropriate that we couldn’t understand why it was taking so long, when we just wanted them to send it back out for a fair review.”
I don’t see what the problem is. There was only one reviewer, who said this is no good and you should get two men to write and submit it. What’s wrong with that?