Peer review and networks in STEM disciplines - a question of gendered Inclusion, exclusion and power?
Felizitas Sagebiel (University of Wuppertal)
Paper short abstract:
Based on research the paper will discuss, how exclusion processes (in STEM) excellence construction are included in peer reviews and assessment procedures, focusing on the individual qualification and merit, while neglecting those factors as masculine power in gatekeeping, mentoring and networks.
Paper long abstract:
Peer reviews or assessments are very important in science and institutions of higher education. Formal and informal networks influence definition of good science as well as successful scientists and engineers. Cooperation in research projects and publication need integration in relevant networks. For definition of excellence, the relevant quantity of high output in academia has neglected those factors as power in masculine biased gatekeeping, mentoring and networks, by focusing only on the individual qualification and merit. Therefore, the construction of excellence as high performance with numerous publications, successfully securing research grants and (particularly for engineers) patents is not gender neutral. Quantity of publications in journals with peer review play a central role for definition of scientific excellence of a scientist. There is a general belief in academia that publication in a peer-reviewed journal shows a higher qualification than a publication in a journal without peer review or in books. What is nearly never considered is the integration of scientists and reviewers in relevant networks with inclusion and exclusion processes, questioning the principle of objectivity and meritocracy. Even though mostly male gatekeepers and men's networks play an important, powerful but hidden role in the evaluation system of science they are not considered as biasing objectivity of the results of knowledge production. In networks of so-called gender-neutral journals, women participate still less in comparison to men and seem to be less qualified. The paper will discuss examples of biases (in STEM), based on qualitative empirical experiences from European and German projects in academia.
The room where it happens: inclusion, exclusion and power in STS research and practice