The publication of research papers should be based on quality and merit, so the gender balance of authors is not relevant in the same way as it might be for commissioned writers (see Nature 504, 188; 2013). Neither is the disproportionate number of male reviewers evidence of gender bias.
Having young children may prevent a scientist from spending as much time publishing, applying for grants and advancing their career as some of their colleagues. Because it is usually women who stay at home with their children, journals end up with more male authors on research articles. The effect is exacerbated in fast-moving fields, in which taking even a year out threatens to leave a researcher far behind.
This means that there are likely to be more men in the pool of potential referees.Footnote 1
Nature has a strong history of supporting women in science and of reflecting the views of the community in our pages, including Correspondence. Our Correspondence pages do not reflect the views of the journal or its editors; they reflect the views only of the correspondents.
We do not endorse the views expressed in this Correspondence (or indeed any Correspondences unless we explicitly say so). On re-examining the letter and the process, we consider that it adds no value to the discussion and unnecessarily inflames it, that it did not receive adequate editorial attention, and that we should not have published it, for which we apologize.
Nature’s own positive views and engagement in the issues concerning women in science are represented by our special from 2013: www.nature.com/women
Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief, Nature
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Koube, L. Publish on the basis of quality, not gender. Nature 505, 291 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/505291e
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