- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Science Education
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Across a broad range of disciplines, research has found that inequity is systemic in the journal review process. Collectively, however, this study does not specifically examine racial inequity. Moreover, literature on the peer review process in science education, in particular, does not foreground equity as a subject of study. The present study aims to address this void by examining racial equity in the peer review process with a specific focus on journals in science education. Data are collected from lead editors of major science education journals through the form of interviews, focus groups, and critical arts-based methods. The two research questions driving data collection are (a) In what ways does the science education journal peer review process promote racial equity? and (b) How are science education journal editors’ perceptions of racial inequity reflected in the peer review process? McNair and colleagues’ racial equity framework informs the explorations of journal review in science education from the lead editors’ perspectives. From our findings, we offer four suggestions for moving toward greater racial equity in the science education peer review process.more » « less
ABSTRACT CONTEXT The peer review process plays a critical role in ensuring the quality of work published within a field and advancing the knowledge within the research community. However, for many members of the community, the process of peer review largely remains a black box to many scholars, especially those with less experience within the community. Therefore, there is a need to illuminate the peer review process for the research community. PURPOSE OR GOAL To more transparently reveal the contents of the black box around the peer review process, we interviewed editors (associate and deputy editors) for the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) to provide editor perspectives on the overall peer review process. The goal of this paper is to clearly articulate the behind-the-scenes processes of peer review as well as the expectations and perceptions of the editors with respect to publishing within JEE. By bringing these processes to light, we hope that more members of the field will be aware of the overall process and the associated expectations for contributing to the field. APPROACH OR METHODOLOGY/METHODS To meet the goals of this study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with six editors of JEE who worked in the field of engineering education research (EER), as a part of a larger project exploring the boundaries of the field as expressed within the peer reviews process. The interviewer from the research team followed a protocol but also asked additional questions to elicit more details in some cases. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically coded using an open-coding process. ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES Based on the analysis of the editor interviews, we present three critical aspects of the peer review process: the types of editors, the process that editors typically conduct to identify reviewers, and the types of decisions through the process. Additionally, we highlight considerations and advice from the editors to help members of the EER community develop. CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS/SUMMARY The current study makes the editors’ perspectives and decision-making processes more explicit to readers. These decision-making processes are full of careful considerations and also challenges. By doing so, we hope to help the members of the EER community gain a better understanding of what is going on backstage of the peer review process.more » « less
The lack of racial diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines is perhaps one of the most challenging issues in the United States higher education system. The issue is not only concerning diverse students, but also diverse faculty members. One important contributing factor is the faculty hiring process. To make progress toward equity in hiring decisions, it is necessary to better understand how applicants are considered and evaluated. In this paper, we describe and present our study based on a survey of current STEM faculty members and administrators who examined applicant qualifications and characteristics in STEM faculty hiring decisions.
There are three key findings of the present research. First, we found that faculty members placed different levels of importance on characteristics and qualifications for tenure track hiring and non-tenure track hiring. For example, items related to research were more important when evaluating tenure track applicants, whereas items related to teaching and diversity were more important when evaluating non-tenure track applicants. Second, faculty members’ institutional classification, position, and personal identities (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity) had an impact on their evaluation criteria. For instance, we found men considered some diversity-related items more important than women. Third, faculty members rated the importance of qualifications with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)-related constructs significantly lower than qualifications that did not specify DEI-related constructs, and this trend held for both tenure track and non-tenure track faculty hiring.
This study was an attempt to address the issue of diversity in STEM faculty hiring at institutions of higher education by examining how applicant characteristics are considered and evaluated in faculty hiring practices. Emphasizing research reputation and postdoctoral reputation while neglecting institutional diversity and equitable and inclusive teaching, research, and service stunt progress toward racial diversity because biases—both implicit and explicit, both positive and negative—still exist. Our results were consistent with research on bias in recruitment, revealing that affinity bias, confirmation bias, and halo bias exist in the faculty hiring process. These biases contribute to inequities in hiring, and need to be addressed before we can reach, sustain, and grow desired levels of diversity.
In this essay, I explore some of the insights provided in a set of three manuscripts that focus on centering equity in peer review, authored by Bancroft, Ryoo and Miles, Nkrumah and Mutegi, and Marshall and Salter. I consider various aspects of their arguments, highlighting implications for the procedures and norms of journals and funding organizations and questions for further consideration. Drawing on their findings and analyses, I discuss various recommendations, such as the need to change the rules and norms of peer review to be more equitable, to ensure that reviews are free from race, ethnicity, gender, and other kinds of identity-related biases, to work towards equitable distribution of the resources, such as advising, mentoring, and valuable feedback, that support fair reviewing, and to establish criteria and rubrics that support research that is conducted in collaboration with communities marginalized in science education. In addition, I raise issues for further consideration, including the evolving relationship between “equity” and “merit” with regard to peer review and the need for centering equity in ways that allow for discussion, debate, and development of the field.more » « less
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