Edit: 29 July 2017: This was the introduction to the 2015 Group Project. The students and I wrote a paper based on their project’s results that is currently in review for publication. The link below will take you to a preprint of the article on Biorxiv:
One of the topics we will explore in this workshop is Bias. For instance, women scientists tend to publish less than male scientists (known as the “productivity puzzle”), and are also cited less. Another bias is that articles with shorter titles are cited more; articles with more countries represented in the author list are cited more too.
One interesting observation is that authors from some countries seem to be more productive than others, and as an Editor who works in Latin America I often hear variations of “top journals don’t publish research by authors from developing countries”. In other words, another potential form of bias is geographic bias. We can’t test that idea in our limited time, but we can address one way that journals could begin to address such a bias – by having a geographically diverse editorial board. There have been a few studies of this topic (see below), but none of which I am aware in ecology and evolutionary biology. We’re going to remedy this.
To learn how to navigate the process of publishing a scientific paper and learn 1st-hand the value of archiving data and code, we are going to collect data and prepare a note in which we evaluate how the geographic diversity of editorial boards has changed over time. To do so, we will use the data from last year’s workshop paper, whihc we published in the Open Access journal PeerJ. We will complement the data they collected, which have been archived at Dryad, with data of our own on additional journals. We will also be able to use their code, which is available at Github, to simplify the process of editing and analyzing our data.