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Over at his Cryptogenomicon blog, Sean Eddy has given readers a glimpse into how a hiring committee he is co-chairing is going about its faculty search.

Eddy writes that they've received 182 applications for a position at the Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology and that the applicants have been strong. However, he worries that they've self-selected too much as the applicant pool was already biased at that point: it was 21 percent female and 5 percent underrepresented minority. Many of the applicants already have ties to Harvard, he adds.

"People don't get a lot of information about what happens in one of these searches and what the selection criteria are," he tells Nature News. "I'm worried about people not applying because they think we're not going to hire minorities or women or people who don't have Harvard degrees."

Eddy then describes some steps the committee is taking to focus on the applicants' science as well as combat implicit biases the committee members may hold.

He writes that he's not interested in journal titles or citation counts. Instead, he says he's looking for "evidence of substantial, original, creative work, and a trajectory that I can understand that leads up to the research proposal."

Then to try to undo the effect of implicit biases, Eddy says the committee is reading and ranking applications from women and underrepresented minorities separately before combining all rankings together.

This, he tells Nature News, is not to create quotas. "It's one of the few concrete things I can think of to do in a process like this, to force people including myself to have a conscious, slow, second look at their decisions," Eddy says. "It's a work in progress. These are tough issues."

Nature News adds that Eddy's post has generated discussions on Twitter. Holly Bik, a New York University bioinformatician who is on the job market, tweets that Eddy's "blog post is a step in the right direction" for reducing self-selection. She adds that "demystifying the black box process is always good."