Jussim on Citation Bias

Back in June, Rutgers social psychologist Lee Jussim performed a review of the peer-reviewed literature surrounding gender bias in science. His findings indicate that studies which find bias against women (“favor men”) receive far greater attention in the academic community than studies which find no bias at all (“unbiased”), or bias in favor of women (“favor women”). Moreover, not only are the “favor men” studies methodologically weaker than the “unbiased” and “favor women” studies, but “favor women” studies outnumber “favor men” studies 5:2, while “unbiased” studies outnumber them 2:1.

This citation bias toward “favor men” studies seems to indicate a preference among social scientists for the “women are victims” narrative that is quite prevalent on the political left. At the very least, it suggests a predilection for the career-advancing attention garnered by such findings.

Concludes Jussim,

Overall, therefore, my prior essay indicated that evidence of biases favoring men [in science] is weak, and there is at least as much evidence of biases favoring women and unbiased responding. 
This essay showed, however, that bias is alive and well, even if [findings of] gender biases in peer review may be on shaky ground. The bias [that is] alive and well is a scientific bias in favor of studies showing biases against women [emphasis added].

In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to be skeptical toward virtually any claim of (especially systemic) bias that is purposefully perpetrated by one group against another. I think this is probably the result of appreciation for the complexity of systems composed of vast numbers of human interactors that I’ve developed as a result of studying economics.

At least, that’s what I like to tell myself. There’s always the possibility that that’s merely a story I tell myself to justify a chauvinistic gut reaction–but, of course, I doubt it.