End Peer Review?

Adam Mastroianni has an interesting post on the rise and fall of peer review. I found it interesting in that it looks at the history of peer review, and in that it asks a clear question: Is science better off because of peer review?

I think it’s worth a read, but I struggled with peer review being pitched as “an experiment”, and especially with the extrapolation from one “I posted this on PsyArXiv and got a lot of feedback” to this is what we should be doing. Would it scale? Would it be better? Would it be fairer or simply give even more weight to “prestige” and those in stable jobs with all the resources? Would we encourage even more hyperbole and select on eloquence?

Would there still be journals (or other recommendation services), and do we want to give more decision power to individual editors (and specific algorithms)? I’m just asking a lot of questions here, but I think that the answers need a careful distinction between journals, peer review, and for-profit publishers.

New issue at Social Inclusion

There is a new issue out at Social Inclusion. “Networks and Contested Identities in the Refugee Journey”, edited by Niro Kandasamy, Lauren Avery and Karen Soldatic.

In this issue, we get work on contested identities in the refugee journey, different narratives for different refugees, how stories and narratives are negotiated, a contrast between expats and refugees, and notions of deservingness.

Complete issue: https://www.cogitatiopress.com/socialinclusion/issue/view/331

Why PR systems may be good for the representation of women

Here’s an old note from my book on political representation that explores why PR systems may be good for the representation of women.

Proportional representation (PR) systems are often touted as beneficial to the inclusion of women as political representatives [almost all of this work uses a binary approach to gender]. In the literature, the argument is typically that PR systems mean larger districts, which is good for the inclusion of “minorities”. What we should be focusing on is the probability that a vote goes to a woman. There are, however, a couple of assumptions that are rarely spelled out, notably that there are few female contenders.

Situation 1 illustrates the assumption (or empirical reality) that men more likely at the top of the ballots, thus more likely to be elected. In majoritarian systems and systems with very small district size, only the top candidates are picked. So there is no inherent advantage for PR systems, but an effect that is dependent on women being selected for top positions.

Situation 2 illustrates that in a larger district, we simply reach further down the list, thus (under the same assumption that women are less likely at the top of the ballot) we are more likely to pick a woman — like any other candidate who is more likely to be further down the list.

Situation 3 shows that having more parties — a feature of many PR systems — is equivalent to having smaller districts: Assuming that all parties tend to be more likely to put men at the top of the ballot, we are no longer reaching down the lists as much (each party gets fewer votes).

So, it’s not PR as such, but district size combined with candidate selection/candidate placement that matters for the political representation of women.

Ruedin, Didier. 2013. Why Aren’t They There? The Political Representation of Women, Ethnic Groups and Issue Positions in Legislatures. Colchester: ECPR Press.