, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 175–189 | Cite as

Persistent nepotism in peer-review

  • Ulf SandströmEmail author
  • Martin Hällsten
Selected Papers Presented at the 9th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators


In a replication of the high-profile contribution by Wennerås and Wold on grant peer-review, we investigate new applications processed by the medical research council in Sweden. Introducing a normalisation method for ranking applications that takes into account the differences between committees, we also use a normalisation of bibliometric measures by field. Finally, we perform a regression analysis with interaction effects. Our results indicate that female principal investigators (PIs) receive a bonus of 10% on scores, in relation to their male colleagues. However, male and female PIs having a reviewer affiliation collect an even higher bonus, approximately 15%. Nepotism seems to be a persistent problem in the Swedish grant peer review system.


Productivity Measure Gender Bias Impact Score Postdoctoral Fellowship Swedish Research Council 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asmar, C. (1999), Is there a gendered agenda in academia? The research experience of female and male PhD graduates in Australian universities, Higher Education, 38(3): 255–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Black, M. M., Holden, E. W. (1998), The impact of gender on productivity and satisfaction among medical school psychologists, Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 5(1): 117–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bornmann, L., Daniel, H. D. (2005), Selection of research fellowship recipients by committee peer review. Reliability, fairness and predictive validity of Board of Trustees’ decisions, Scientometrics, 63(2): 297–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brouns, M. (2000), The gendered nature of assessment procedures on scientific research funding: the dutch case, Higher Education in Europe, 25: 193–199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cole, J. R., Zuckerman, H. (1987), Marriage, Motherhood and Research Performance in Science Scientific American, 256(2): 119.Google Scholar
  6. Gander, J. P. (1999), Faculty gender effects on academic research and teaching, Research in Higher Education, 40(2): 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Glänzel, W., Debackere, K., Thijs, B., Schubert, A. (2006), A concise review on the role of author self-citations in information science, bibliometrics and science policy, Scientometrics, 67(2): 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kulis, S., Sicotte, D., Collins, S. (2002), More than a pipeline problem: Labor supply constraints and gender stratification across academic science disciplines, Research in Higher Education, 43(6): 657–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kyvik, S., Teigen, M. (1996), Child care, research collaboration, and gender differences in scientific productivity, Science Technology & Human Values, 21(1): 54–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Levin, S. G., Stephan, P. E. (1998), Gender differences in the rewards to publishing in academe: Science in the 1970s, Sex Roles, 38(11–12): 1049–1064.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Long, J. S. (1992), Measures of sex differences in scientific productivity, Social Forces, 71(1): 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Moed, H. F. (2005), Citation Analysis in Research Evaluation. Springer Verlag.Google Scholar
  13. Prpic, K. (2002), Gender and productivity differentials in science, Scientometrics, 55(1): 27–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rossiter, M. W. (1993), The Matilda Effect in science, Social Studies of Science, 23: 325–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sandström, U. & pal. (1997), “Does Peer Review Matter?” Peers on Peers. Allocations Policy and Review Procedures at TFR. Stockholm, Swedish Research Council for Engineering Sciences.Google Scholar
  16. van Raan, A. F. J. (2006), Statistical properties of bibliometric indicators: Research group indicator distributions and correlations, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(3): 408–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wennerås, C., Wold, A. (1997), Nepotism and sexism in peer-review, Nature, 387(6631): 341–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Wessely, S. (1998), Peer review of grant applications: what do we know? Lancet, 352(9124): 301–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Wold, A., Chrapkowska, C. (2004), Förbjuden frukt på kunskapens träd. Atlantis. [in Swedish]Google Scholar
  20. Xie, Y., Shauman, K. A. (1998), Sex differences in research productivity: New evidence about an old puzzle, American Sociological Review, 63(6): 847–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department for Studies of Social Change and CultureLinköping UniversityLingköpingSweden
  2. 2.Department of Sociology & Swedish Institute for Social ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations