Weekend reads: Retracting racist and sexist work; The Lancet learns from a retraction; Trump administration interferes with publications

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The week at Retraction Watch featured:

Our list of retracted or withdrawn COVID-19 papers is up to 33.

Here’s what was happening elsewhere:

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2 thoughts on “Weekend reads: Retracting racist and sexist work; The Lancet learns from a retraction; Trump administration interferes with publications”

  1. Nice sexism in quoting “In the combined group of local and external users, articles submitted by women are more likely to be published than articles submitted by men.” The study literally states this is an artifact of male/female ratios among internal/external submissions:
    “All this data allow us to see if the acceptance rate differs between users belonging to different gender groups. When we look at all articles submitted to JSCS without filtering out the ones rejected for technical reasons, then the acceptance rate for female users is 7%, for male is 3% and 7% for unspecified. For the local users it translates to 26%, 26% and 25% respectively, and for the external users to 3%, 2% and 4%. After taking into account only the articles that passed the technical check, we get 41% for female, 31% for male and 47% for unspecified users. For local users, these adjusted acceptance rates are equal to 70%, 68% and 84%, while for the external users they are equal to 22%, 23%, 35%.”

    Taking the quote you chose out of context perpetuates the idea that reverse sexism is a thing, and that is actively harmful.

    1. “Taking the quote you chose out of context perpetuates the idea that reverse sexism is a thing, and that is actively harmful.” I don’t agree that’s the message either from the article or from Ivan’s headline.

      The study found a ~2:1 female:male ratio among “local” (Serbian) authors, and among reviewed manuscripts from those authors, and and among accepted articles from those authors; and a ~1:2 female:male ratio among non-Serbian authors, reviewed manuscripts, and accepted articles. There are more males (and more rejected manuscripts) among authors and manuscripts from outside Serbia (especially from Iran, China, India, and Pakistan), but males and females in both the local and the non-local pool of authors and manuscripts have about the same outcomes (similar success in getting submitted manuscripts published). That seems like equity, and it’s good news. The difference between the local and non-local pools seems to show that chemistry has successfully recruited more women in Serbia. That also seems like good news.

      On the other hand, I think your misplaced tone policing about sexism in that headline and about perpetuating “harm” do metaphorical damage to the conversation about equity. Falsely accusing allies like Ivan of thought crimes does not advance equity for women in science, and it makes all of us feminists look like thin-skinned outrage junkies. There is real sexism in science, and some women scientists are treated really badly. But these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

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