Jurassic Park's Dr Ellie Sattler is not impressed.
Two female scientists have had their research paper rejected by a peer review journal because it wasn't co-authored by a male.
Dr Fiona Ingleby from the University of Sussex and Dr Megan Head from ANU wrote a paper about how gender differences influence the experiences of PHD students transitioning to post-doctoral studies, and submitted it to PLoS One, a journal from the Public Library of Science.
In an incredible demonstration of their point and some amazing comedic use of irony (actually not funny though), the reviewer's response was that they should get a male (any male, really) to co-author the study, "to serve as a possible check against interpretations that may sometimes be drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically-based assumptions". Just... wow.
It gets worse, though. The reviewer actually makes some rather helpful suggestions for answers to their hypothesis these doctors had obviously not considered, due to being women.
For example, perhaps male doctoral students co-author more papers on average than women because men can run faster than women.
Or perhaps these woman researchers hadn't considered that men get published in better journals than women because men work longer hours, because they have better stamina.
This is actually what the guy said. An incredulous Dr Fiona Ingleby tweeted screenshots, because empirical evidence.
Reviewer’s conclusion: we should get a man’s name on MS to improve it (male colleagues had already read it) (2/4) pic.twitter.com/fhiyzNG0R8— Fiona Ingleby (@FionaIngleby) April 29, 2015
…and this is a bit hypocritical given the reviewer’s own ideological biases throughout the review, for example: (3/4) pic.twitter.com/aJ8aTIRdYL— Fiona Ingleby (@FionaIngleby) April 29, 2015
Journal has been given three weeks so far to respond to our appeal. If there was ever an argument for double-blind peer review… (4/4)— Fiona Ingleby (@FionaIngleby) April 29, 2015
After a significant social media backlash, the Public Library of Science has accepted its reviewer's comments were out of line, and promised to consider the appeal to the decision.