No evidence of discrimination against women in peer review in 145 scholarly journals

6 June 2019
Versione stampabile

Venue: Department of Sociology and Social Research, via Verdi, 26 - Trento,  Meeting Room – Third floor
Time: 12:00 - 14:00

Brown bag seminars - Organized by the Center for Social Inequality Studies (CSIS) research unit


  • Flaminio Squazzoni, University of Milan


This paper examines gender bias in peer review with complete data on 145 journals in various domains, including about 1.7 million authors and 640,000 referees. We reconstructed three possible sources of bias, i.e., the editorial selection of referees, referee recommendations, and editorial decisions, and examined all their possible relationships. Results show that women submit and review less than men. We found that editors tend to match authors and reviewer by gender. However, manuscripts written or co-authored by women are treated even more favorably by reviewers and editors. Our findings indicate that peer review does not disadvantage women, and this is especially so in biomedicine, health and physical science journals. However, efforts are needed to increase gender diversity among reviewers and editors as a means to correct biasing signals by scholarly journals.