It’s official at Nature magazine: if a published study goes against the diversity narrative and hurts someone’s feelings, it needs to be retracted.
Last month Nature Communications published a deep-dive analysis of statistical differences in the academic careers of female scientists who had female mentors versus male mentors. Alas for the study, it found better outcomes for female scientists who had male mentors. The study was conducted by three Arab scholars at New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus, and it went through four peer reviewers on the first round, and a second round of review following suggested revisions with three new expert reviewers.
Here’s the abstract:
We study mentorship in scientific collaborations, where a junior scientist is supported by potentially multiple senior collaborators, without them necessarily having formal supervisory roles. We identify 3 million mentor–protégé pairs and survey a random sample, verifying that their relationship involved some form of mentorship. We find that mentorship quality predicts the scientific impact of the papers written by protégés post mentorship without their mentors. We also find that increasing the proportion of female mentors is associated not only with a reduction in post-mentorship impact of female protégés, but also a reduction in the gain of female mentors. While current diversity policies encourage same-gender mentorships to retain women in academia, our findings raise the possibility that opposite-gender mentorship may actually increase the impact of women who pursue a scientific career. These findings add a new perspective to the policy debate on how to best elevate the status of women in science.
You can see the problem right away. Now, perhaps you could argue that the study proves the dominance of the patriarchy in the sciences, and thus that it demonstrates precisely why it is necessary for universities to strive harder to have more senior female scientists available as mentors for the next generation of aspiring female scientists. Or someone might probe into the methodology to see whether changes in the coding of the key variables (coding is often the secret sauce of this kind of social science) produces different outcomes, or whether there are any differences to be observed by the age cohort of mentors or even institutional rank (i.e., since many women in STEM fields are more recent arrivals, you wouldn’t expect many to have the seniority and clout that comes with the longer tenure in the field that older male scientists currently have—but this will start to change in the coming years as it has in corporate America).
But no. The Wokerati protested, and Nature put the article “under review,” before finally retracting it a few days ago. Nature explained:
As part of our investigation, we also reviewed our editorial practices and policies and, in the past few weeks, have developed additional internal guidelines, and updated information for authors on how we approach this type of paper. As part of these guidelines, we recognise that it is essential to ensure that such studies are considered from multiple perspectives including from groups concerned by the findings. We believe that this will help us ensure that the review process takes into account the dimension of potential harm, and that claims are moderated by a consideration of limitations when conclusions have potential policy implications.
Note the key phrase: “from groups concerned by the findings.” From groups. What type of “groups” would these be? Nature doesn’t say, but it is not hard to guess. The Nature note says critics identified some methodological steps in the study that were “invalid,” but offers no discussion to validate the charge of invalid methods. It’s pretty clear this study was nixed because it is politically incorrect.
Meanwhile, the story of the woke assault on the Dalton School in New York City reported here the other day continues to roll along. The Dalton School is spinning furiously in hopes that its ridiculous faculty wouldn’t become a high profile public embarrassment. It says that the list of what has been characterized as “faculty demands” aren’t demands at all, but merely a set of “thought starters” to help the school think through how better to achieve diversity and inclusion.*
Here’s more of the statement by a Dalton spokesweasel, as reported by William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:
What is erroneously being referred to as “faculty demands” is in fact a set of thought-starters created this summer by a subset of faculty and staff responding to Dalton’s commitment to become an anti-racist institution. While Dalton prides itself as a leader in this important work and welcomes honest debate around how to meaningfully bring these principles to life, the school does not support all the language or actions it contains. Instead, Dalton is actively, thoughtfully engaged in securing consensus around what equity and inclusion mean to our community, in line with our standards for academic excellence. We look forward to sharing meaningful progress towards that end in the months ahead.”
“Thought starters.” Signed by over 100 members of the school’s faculty and staff. If that’s the quality of “thought” that has such a large purchase on the Dalton staff, it’s pretty clear that students won’t learn much about thinking there.
Tucker Carlson had a good segment about the Dalton disgrace with Scott Johnston, the person primarily responsible for breaking this story:
* In case you’ve forgotten, here are some of the leading demands “thought starters” by the Dalton faculty: