We have with interest followed the constructive discussions held in various forums after our post on DN Debate. Many are positive to our call for women and researchers from smaller universities, to participate more on the discussion page. One example is Malmö university's vice chancellor, Kerstin Tham, who in a blog post announces that she will now “initiate a strategic process to increase the debattinslagen from our female researchers”.
Others are more questioning. This category includes Bo Rothstein, in his reply although think it is “easy to agree with the representatives of the organisation Science & Public that the more researchers who are women and who work at the small and medium-sized institutions of higher education should occur in the public debate”, but at the same time criticizing parts of the survey and our subsequent call.
We are very pleased that this is noticed. The answer is both simple and complicated. Of course there are many more factors than gender, institution and area of research to bring in to the discussion about which researchers appear in the public debate. But for the type of study that we have conducted, and the parameters Rothstein lists, such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or social class, so it is not possible to read out these on the basis of the signature researcher's name (and that's lucky). A study of these parameters would require a completely different approach in order not to be highly risky from a validitetsperspektiv.
When it comes Rothsteins other question about universalism in science, and the claim that we with our post “breaks with this basic principle of scientific business”, we are wondering. That the proportions of men and women do not look the same among the researchers of the DN Debate in the scientific community at large, can have two possible reasons: 1) Women do not send contributions to the same extent as men, and/or 2) women's opinion articles are not adopted to the same extent as men. According to the DN Debate manager, Nils Öhman, is the gender distribution in the work material similar to that of the published articles. It is, therefore, explanation 1) that in consideration grad is behind the findings in our study. Women do not send in opinion pieces just as much as men.
, and that a researcher's gender, or institutional affiliation should not have any impact on whether his works be published or not. But should you, merely refer to “universalism”, to be able to neglect the various forms of systematic imbalances are identified within the academic world? We believe that it is to make it a little bit easy for themselves.
Science & the Public purpose is to promote dialogue and openness between researchers and the surrounding society. Our op-ed is a part of the work to as many researchers as possible will be able to participate in the dialogue.
the Purpose of our post was, of course, not to encourage successful, active researchers – regardless of gender or employer – to write fewer op-eds, but to encourage more people to participate in public debate. It is our hope that Bo Rothstein and other researchers who possess extensive experience of debating, can contribute as mentors and sources of inspiration to a breadth of researchers who are not used to making their voices heard in for example, the DN Debate.