Anonymised Review Study
Lower success rates for women in grant applications, in part, reflect fewer women compared to men in different research fields and at senior levels.
But a large body of research suggests that the trend is also partially due to unconscious bias. Removing identifying information from grant applications, such as names and gender pronouns, can reduce bias and level the playing field — not just for women but also other marginalised groups and early career researchers.
We are leading a national trial across Australia to study the effects of anonymising grant applications for in-demand scientific equipment such as telescopes, the Australian synchrotron, and supercomputers.
We are working with four Australian research organisations: CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), NCI (National Computational Infrastructure) and AAL (Astronomy Australia Limited) to assess whether anonymised peer-review impacts application outcomes.
We explore if and how anonymised peer-review impacts gender differences in grant outcomes. We examine gender differences before and after anonymising peer review according to the gender of the lead investigator. We deploy a statistical model that enables us to account for not only gender, but also for the granting organisation (i.e., CSIRO, ANSTO, NCI and AAL).
We are currently conducting the analysis and will provide updates here when findings are available.
This study will provide important data on the effectiveness of anonymising grant applications to inform recommendations to higher education and research institutions, government, and research funders to address gender equity in the research sector.
There are 12 frequently asked questions (and answers) about the anonymous review study.