A study in the current issue of BioScience looks into how author gender, as determined from the name on the manuscript, affects peer review outcome. The researchers took a published ecology paper and changed the author name to appear female, male, have just an initial, or not provide a name. The various versions of the paper were then given to both male and female referees at different stages of their training for review. According to the researchers, "name changing did not influence acceptance rates or quality ratings."
"We hope this preliminary study reflects positive changes within the biological field in tandem with the overall increase in the number of female biologists," the authors add.