Status Report

Women in academia: a warning on selection bias in gender studies from the astronomical perspective

By SpaceRef Editor
December 18, 2020
Filed under , ,

M. L. L. Dantas, E. Cameron, Rafael S. de Souza, A. R. da Silva, A. L. Chies-Santos, C. Heneka, P. R. T. Coelho, A. Ederoclite, I. S. Beloto, V. Branco, Morgan S. Camargo, V. M. Carvalho de Oliveira, C. de Sá-Freitas, G. Gonçalves, T.A.Pacheco, Isabel Rebollido

The recent paper by AlShebli et al. (2020) investigates the impact of mentorship in young scientists. Among their conclusions, they state that female protégés benefit more from male than female mentorship. We herein expose a critical flaw in their methodological design that is a common issue in Astronomy, namely “selection biases”. An effect that if not treated properly may lead to unwarranted causality claims. In their analysis, selection biases seem to be present in the response rate of their survey (8.35%), the choice of database, success criterion, and the overlook of the numerous drawbacks female researchers face in academia. We discuss these issues and their implications — one of them being the potential increase in obstacles for women in academia. Finally, we reinforce the dangers of not considering selection bias effects in studies aimed at retrieving causal relations.

Comments: Submitted to Nature Communications on Nov. 27 — comments are welcome

Subjects: Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)

Cite as: arXiv:2012.09784 [physics.soc-ph] (or arXiv:2012.09784v1 [physics.soc-ph] for this version)

Submission history

From: Maria Luiza Linhares Dantas

[v1] Fri, 4 Dec 2020 19:00:05 UTC (41 KB)

SpaceRef staff editor.