Sexist science journal peer reviewer advises women to get men to help with their research

The publisher has since apologised for the 'tone' of the review

Kashmira Gander
Thursday 30 April 2015 17:02 BST
Two female scientists were advised to seek the advice of men for a research paper
Two female scientists were advised to seek the advice of men for a research paper (David Silverman/Getty Images)

The publisher of a science journal has apologised after a peer reviewer said two female researchers could improve their research by seeking help from “one or two male biologists”.

The review sent to the University of Sussex student read: "It would probably … be beneficial to find one or two male biologists to work with (or at least obtain internal peer review from, but better yet as active co-authors)” to prevent the manuscript from “drifting too far away from empirical evidence into ideologically biased assumptions."

Twitter went into meltdown after evolutionary geneticist Fiona Ingleby shared the review sent to her alongside a rejection letter for her latest research paper.

The writer, whose gender is unknown, went on to claim that it is “not so surprising that on average male doctoral students co-author one more paper than female doctoral students, just as, on average, male doctoral students can probably run a mile a bit faster than female doctoral students.”

Ingleyby told ScienceInsider that she and co—author Megan Head Australian National University in Acton chose not to “name and shame” the journal, as the case highlights wider issues at many publications.

After the RetractionWatch website revealed the journal was published by PLOS, it issued an apology, and said an appeal is in process, adding it regretted the “tone, spirit and content” of the review, according to

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in