UW Lies about Peer Review Study

Note: This rant is more about the evils of headline writers and professional C&M types than about the substance of the proposed study (which I think is very interesting):

The University of Washington is rightly proud of the fact that UW statistician, philosopher win prize for detecting bias in peer review. Except that the headline is a lie! The award is for proposing a method for detecting a certain kind of bias if it exists. The researchers quite reasonably guess that it might, and they suggest that it may explain the fact (which really was observed in a different study) that blacks are underfunded compared to whites of the same “educational background, country of origin, training, previous research awards, publication record, and employer characteristics”. And the study they propose (and which will be funded by the award) may well detect it. But it has NOT been “detected” yet.

P.S. I actually came to this via a link in a comment on a blog post in a series by Susanna Siegel in which an earlier post had referred to a study by the psychologists Uhlmann and Cohen, where they were investigating the role of gender stereotypes in hiring decisions and in which a very similar kind of bias to that proposed by the UW team was observed in a mock hiring experiment.

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