Not terribly long ago I wrote a little one-off paper on biases in peer review. I created a computer model of grant review and used it to demonstrate that very small review biases can have outsized influences on who gets funding. It was a fun little piece that ended up as a brief report in a reasonably influential journal about research policy. I got a write-up from Science Magazine about it, and was interviewed on the German equivalent of NPR. I figured that was my fifteen minutes in the sun from a science perspective.
But it’s not over yet! I just received an invitation, travel and accommodation paid, to go give a talk on the research at a working group for simulation in science. Out of the blue. I didn’t apply, I’ve never corresponded with the organizers before. I was worried at first that it was spam. I get a lot of spam invites mostly to medical conferences in China. I know they’re spam because they’re not about my actual research. I don’t know what scam they’re pulling, but I know it’s a scam.
But this is a real-live invitation by researchers in my field to participate in a working group about how to improve peer-review in science. My paper and my model were highly abstract, idealized, and academic, but I think the insight was still valuable. Now I get to go present it to the real bigwigs in my field, in Spain, for free. Wow does that make my impostor feelings spike. And maybe, maybe, I’ll be able to make positive impact on racial and gender biases in research funding allocation.
Shit, I have a lot of reading to do.