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(Science.org)   NSF grants to researchers who A) have the best science proposals or B) are white. There goes the science   (science.org) divider line
    More: Creepy, National Science Foundation, Racism, White scientists, decades of NSF data, NSF funding rates, Historically black colleges and universities, funding of scientists, geochemist Christine Yifeng Chen  
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628 clicks; posted to STEM » on 08 Aug 2022 at 7:35 AM (7 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



43 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-08-08 8:12:41 AM  
I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.
 
2022-08-08 8:26:25 AM  

Northern: I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.


U of Montana taught me this. They favor the programs and schools where high energy work is being done; so, European temporary transplants and Chinese transfers.

Also; "Mammal Favoritism", if you want to know why we try to save useless animals that really should be extinct. Hi, Pandas.
 
2022-08-08 8:29:28 AM  
In 2019, for example, NSF funded 31.3% of proposals from white scientists, versus an overall rate of 27.4%. In contrast, the success rate was 22.4% for Asian scientists and 26.5% for Black scientists. Proposals from Latino scientists were funded 29% of the time, a rate slightly above average but below the rate for white scientists.

Well, perhaps the white scientists just had better proposals?  I mean did you even consider that?

On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?
 
2022-08-08 9:08:47 AM  

debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?


If the information is included at all, it's included to correct for the natural imbalance of institutional racism. Even if they're not filtering by race as part of the selection, the entire system of academia has pre-filtered by race, and applicants who are people of color are less likely to have ended up in high-prestige positions where they're going to get huge piles of grant money.
 
2022-08-08 9:10:36 AM  

debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?


You can't fix a process without data on the results of that process.
 
2022-08-08 9:13:58 AM  
That said, 'race' data is not supposed to be used in the actual selection process, and more recent systems are taking active steps to ensure this.

/ ironic that the Webb telescope people did a good job on that
// since Webb himself was a prejudiced schmuck
/// not like rain on your wedding day
 
2022-08-08 9:44:17 AM  
Funding success rates for white scientists far exceed the NSF average, whereas Black and Asian researchers do worse

Well, there it is.  Those Black and Asian scientists are lowering the average! We should exclude them outright so that the white scientists would be doing average, by definition.  It's just science, people.
/s
 
2022-08-08 9:45:10 AM  

debug: In 2019, for example, NSF funded 31.3% of proposals from white scientists, versus an overall rate of 27.4%. In contrast, the success rate was 22.4% for Asian scientists and 26.5% for Black scientists. Proposals from Latino scientists were funded 29% of the time, a rate slightly above average but below the rate for white scientists.

Well, perhaps the white scientists just had better proposals?  I mean did you even consider that?

On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?


It isn't part of the application process, but their names surely are, and scientists who are known to the review committees are likely to benefit/suffer from that foreknowledge.  I doubt there is intentional bias toward white or against POC, but unintentional bias is built in unless the review committee looked at proposals completely blind (stripped of info related to specific scientists or institutions).
 
2022-08-08 9:45:45 AM  

debug: Well, perhaps the white scientists just had better proposals?  I mean did you even consider that?

On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?


If you want to apply for a NSF Grant, you have to submit through certain websites. For the NSF Fastlane site, you need to provide your first and last name along with other information.

A NSF grant proposal requires biographical sketches of the principal investigators. It's pretty much a CV listing education and work history. If you're well-known in a certain field, people likely know where you've gotten your degrees and where you've worked at so they can make educated guesses as to who you are. If you sound like you're well-established or working for someone well-established, that works in your favor.

And you have to describe the facilities you're doing your research at and that can give clues as to who you are and where you work at. It's not flat-out stating who you are exactly, but it's a subtle clue.

There's no personal information that easily identifies you like name, email, work phone number, etc on the proposal that gets reviewed. But there's other info that could identify someone and skew things.
 
2022-08-08 9:47:53 AM  

debug: Well, perhaps the white scientists just had better proposals? I mean did you even consider that?


You may be joking, but that's a part of the "systemic" and "structural" racism cited in the study and article.

On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?


An unrelated study showed that 63% of Farkers showed poor or incomplete subject comprehension after reading The Fine Article.
 
2022-08-08 9:51:58 AM  

t3knomanser: it's included to correct for the natural imbalance of institutional racism. Even if they're not filtering by race as part of the selection, the entire system of academia has pre-filtered by race


This Farker understands.
 
2022-08-08 10:14:12 AM  

sorceror: debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?

You can't fix a process without data on the results of that process.


But if you're only filtering on the content of the proposal, it shouldn't matter, right?  Or are you suggesting that we give higher priority to minority proposals, even if they aren't as good as some other non-minority proposals?  It seems to me that the grants should just be awarded based on the merit of the proposal.
 
2022-08-08 10:17:13 AM  

mossberg: debug: In 2019, for example, NSF funded 31.3% of proposals from white scientists, versus an overall rate of 27.4%. In contrast, the success rate was 22.4% for Asian scientists and 26.5% for Black scientists. Proposals from Latino scientists were funded 29% of the time, a rate slightly above average but below the rate for white scientists.

Well, perhaps the white scientists just had better proposals?  I mean did you even consider that?

On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?

It isn't part of the application process, but their names surely are, and scientists who are known to the review committees are likely to benefit/suffer from that foreknowledge.  I doubt there is intentional bias toward white or against POC, but unintentional bias is built in unless the review committee looked at proposals completely blind (stripped of info related to specific scientists or institutions).


And names shouldn't be included either.  They should be categorized by randomly generated number or alphanumeric code.  It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.
 
2022-08-08 10:26:41 AM  

debug: It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.


It's hard to check the publication history of an anonymous number.
 
2022-08-08 10:35:29 AM  

debug: But if you're only filtering on the content of the proposal, it shouldn't matter, right?


See my very next response after the one you replied to.
 
2022-08-08 10:56:59 AM  
Maybe they used The Big Bang Theory TV show as a guideline.
 
2022-08-08 11:08:04 AM  

t3knomanser: debug: It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.

It's hard to check the publication history of an anonymous number.


Why do you need to?  Are their previous publications somehow relevant to their current proposal?  It seems like the proposal itself should be judged on its own merit.
 
2022-08-08 11:21:45 AM  

debug: t3knomanser: debug: It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.

It's hard to check the publication history of an anonymous number.

Why do you need to?  Are their previous publications somehow relevant to their current proposal?  It seems like the proposal itself should be judged on its own merit.


Frequently, yes, their previous publications are almost certainly relevant to their current proposal, because it's almost certainly an expansion of work they already have done.
 
2022-08-08 11:28:24 AM  

debug: sorceror: debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?

You can't fix a process without data on the results of that process.

But if you're only filtering on the content of the proposal, it shouldn't matter, right?  Or are you suggesting that we give higher priority to minority proposals, even if they aren't as good as some other non-minority proposals?  It seems to me that the grants should just be awarded based on the merit of the proposal.


Without knowing the proposals that are accepted and rejected it's pretty hard to make a determination on whether racism was a determination on handing out the grants.
 
2022-08-08 11:37:17 AM  

BizarreMan: debug: sorceror: debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?

You can't fix a process without data on the results of that process.

But if you're only filtering on the content of the proposal, it shouldn't matter, right?  Or are you suggesting that we give higher priority to minority proposals, even if they aren't as good as some other non-minority proposals?  It seems to me that the grants should just be awarded based on the merit of the proposal.

Without knowing the proposals that are accepted and rejected it's pretty hard to make a determination on whether racism was a determination on handing out the grants.


You would still know which ones were rejected or accepted.
 
2022-08-08 11:40:15 AM  

t3knomanser: debug: t3knomanser: debug: It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.

It's hard to check the publication history of an anonymous number.

Why do you need to?  Are their previous publications somehow relevant to their current proposal?  It seems like the proposal itself should be judged on its own merit.

Frequently, yes, their previous publications are almost certainly relevant to their current proposal, because it's almost certainly an expansion of work they already have done.


So you're saying that previous publications aren't open to anyone else that wants to expand upon them?
 
2022-08-08 11:46:09 AM  

debug: So you're saying that previous publications aren't open to anyone else that wants to expand upon them?


Of course not, but academics in general, and science in specific, is a process of increasing specialization. So your publication history would need to show that you've already done relevant work to be considered as a good choice for a grant. For scientists, your publication history is your resume.
 
2022-08-08 12:04:28 PM  

t3knomanser: debug: So you're saying that previous publications aren't open to anyone else that wants to expand upon them?

Of course not, but academics in general, and science in specific, is a process of increasing specialization. So your publication history would need to show that you've already done relevant work to be considered as a good choice for a grant. For scientists, your publication history is your resume.


Except that anyone can continue research on a previously published work, so it's not necessarily the same author continuing the research.  For the approval board to think so would be kind of stupid.  So citing previous publications (if this is in fact required), no matter who authored them, should not lead to a conclusion by the approval board as to who the applicant of the current submission is.
 
2022-08-08 12:24:22 PM  

debug: Except that anyone can continue research on a previously published work


Yes, and if they're going to, they probably should have publications relating to the subject they're picking up. Like, yes, I could theoretically apply for a grant for a research project in concurrent applications, but unless I've already published papers in the field, you shouldn't give me that grant.
 
2022-08-08 1:01:49 PM  
The biggest factor that determines if you get an NSF grant is if you have previously gotten an NSF grant.
 
2022-08-08 1:04:09 PM  
So is the problem that the NSF grant process is biased?  If so, easy solution is to hide info from the grant approvers that might indicate the race (or gender) of the submitters.

I have no data to support this, but I bet at least *part* of the problem is that the bias extends to the universities that employ the scientists and white scientists submit better proposals because they have access to more/higher quality resources (i.e. mentors, collaborators, equipment, etc.).  That seems like a MUCH harder problem to solve.
 
2022-08-08 1:12:28 PM  

debug: t3knomanser: debug: So you're saying that previous publications aren't open to anyone else that wants to expand upon them?

Of course not, but academics in general, and science in specific, is a process of increasing specialization. So your publication history would need to show that you've already done relevant work to be considered as a good choice for a grant. For scientists, your publication history is your resume.

Except that anyone can continue research on a previously published work, so it's not necessarily the same author continuing the research.  For the approval board to think so would be kind of stupid.  So citing previous publications (if this is in fact required), no matter who authored them, should not lead to a conclusion by the approval board as to who the applicant of the current submission is.


An applicant citing their own publications could also be used as a demonstration that the applicant has a history of doing quality work on the particular subject they're seeking a grant for, which would be an indicator that your project has a better chance of solid results.
 
2022-08-08 1:15:42 PM  

t3knomanser: debug: Except that anyone can continue research on a previously published work

Yes, and if they're going to, they probably should have publications relating to the subject they're picking up. Like, yes, I could theoretically apply for a grant for a research project in concurrent applications, but unless I've already published papers in the field, you shouldn't give me that grant.


So how does one obtain their first grant if they've never published before?
 
2022-08-08 1:17:52 PM  

Northern: I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.



good one.  haven't heard.  sadly true
 
2022-08-08 1:18:59 PM  

debug: t3knomanser: debug: Except that anyone can continue research on a previously published work

Yes, and if they're going to, they probably should have publications relating to the subject they're picking up. Like, yes, I could theoretically apply for a grant for a research project in concurrent applications, but unless I've already published papers in the field, you shouldn't give me that grant.

So how does one obtain their first grant if they've never published before?



the same way one gets a job that requires experience when they have no experience.

used car salesman capitalism aint' perfect.
 
2022-08-08 1:20:18 PM  

assjuice: The biggest factor that determines if you get an NSF grant is if you have previously gotten an NSF grant.



Murca does have the best "research" money can buy.

especially if the funds come from private sources.....
 
2022-08-08 1:21:47 PM  

Jedekai: Northern: I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.

U of Montana taught me this. They favor the programs and schools where high energy work is being done; so, European temporary transplants and Chinese transfers.

Also; "Mammal Favoritism", if you want to know why we try to save useless animals that really should be extinct. Hi, Pandas.



you were abused by a panda as a child.   we get it.
 
2022-08-08 1:22:40 PM  

debug: So how does one obtain their first grant if they've never published before?


Usually working for another researcher and getting listed as a co-author. Which gets us back to the institutional racism part of things: people who have opportunities to get started tend to be more successful than people who don't.

NSF does have an entire set of grants that exist to fund peoples PhD programs. It's not your grant, per se, but your PhD advisor's grant- basically the NSF pays that researcher to hire you. But by the time you're applying to PhD programs, you're already an established player with a meaningful track record in your field, and probably already have publications you're at least a co-author on.

Which all gets back to: it's not so much that the grants are being handed out on a biased basis (though in at least some cases, it's certainly true), but the entire system of becoming someone who can apply for grants is itself biased. A researcher of color is less likely to be at a top-flight institution, working with people in the top of their field, and thus they're less likely to get a grant, not because the people handing out the grants are automatically racist, but because that researcher simply hasn't had access in ways that people with privilege may have.
 
2022-08-08 2:09:25 PM  

Linux_Yes: Northern: I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.


good one.  haven't heard.  sadly true


From an article in Science a few years ago.  There are many anecdotes of young associate professors overturning the 70 year olds earlier works for a variety of reasons but the old timer sits on the editorial board of Science magazine and throws out those submissions or trashes them in peer review which really hurts the careers of the younger scientists.
 
2022-08-08 2:20:15 PM  
Eliminate ask what race people are on the submission form. Problem solved.
Let things get approved on merit alone. No systemic racism.
 
2022-08-08 2:24:41 PM  

t3knomanser: debug: It really shouldn't be that difficult to make the submissions anonymous to the selection committee.

It's hard to check the publication history of an anonymous number.


This is actually the real cause.

Prior success influences future selection.

You might have noticed this phenomenon occurring in literally every other aspect of life. You think Tom Cruise had to compete with other, potentially better, actors to play the role of Maverick?
 
2022-08-08 2:27:22 PM  

Northern: Linux_Yes: Northern: I can see how the NSF got into this mess, as academia is very structured to protect legacy professors.  Science advances one funeral at a time is both funny and true.


good one.  haven't heard.  sadly true

From an article in Science a few years ago.  There are many anecdotes of young associate professors overturning the 70 year olds earlier works for a variety of reasons but the old timer sits on the editorial board of Science magazine and throws out those submissions or trashes them in peer review which really hurts the careers of the younger scientists.


i read somewhere that half the medical knowledge known today will be proven untrue in 20 to 30 years.

but that is the nature of science.   it corrects itself over time.  the problem is it takes more time than it should because of all the in house politics/BS.

its no wonder the space aliens won't land.   (;
 
2022-08-08 2:42:37 PM  

debug: sorceror: debug: On a more serious note, why is the race (or gender, for that matter) of the scientist even known or part of the submission/proposal process?

You can't fix a process without data on the results of that process.

But if you're only filtering on the content of the proposal, it shouldn't matter, right?  Or are you suggesting that we give higher priority to minority proposals, even if they aren't as good as some other non-minority proposals?  It seems to me that the grants should just be awarded based on the merit of the proposal.


Oh my god the world isn't a meritocracy and never has been.
 
2022-08-08 2:44:09 PM  

Obscene_CNN: Eliminate ask what race people are on the submission form. Problem solved.
Let things get approved on merit alone. No systemic racism.


And if they have a name associated with a particular ethnicity? You know, how resumes with Black-sounding names get less callbacks than identical resumes with "whise-sounding" names?
 
2022-08-09 10:33:58 AM  

sorceror: Obscene_CNN: Eliminate ask what race people are on the submission form. Problem solved.
Let things get approved on merit alone. No systemic racism.

And if they have a name associated with a particular ethnicity? You know, how resumes with Black-sounding names get less callbacks than identical resumes with "whise-sounding" names?


Not the case. My friend gets NSF grants all the time and he has a Hispanic sounding name. Merit speeks volumes.
 
2022-08-09 1:30:38 PM  

Obscene_CNN: Not the case. My friend gets NSF grants all the time and he has a Hispanic sounding name. Merit speeks volumes.


"The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'." "Your friend" is an anecdote.TFA has data.
 
2022-08-09 1:41:42 PM  

sorceror: Obscene_CNN: Not the case. My friend gets NSF grants all the time and he has a Hispanic sounding name. Merit speeks volumes.

"The plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'." "Your friend" is an anecdote.TFA has data.


The data doesn't prove that the rejected proposals weren't inferior.
 
2022-08-09 3:12:31 PM  
Obscene_CNN: The data doesn't prove that the rejected proposals weren't inferior.

Fark user imageView Full Size


Tell me you don't know about the null hypothesis without telling me you don't know about the null hypothesis. You could also look at the article I linked to way back at the top of the thread.

/ your comments so far don't prove you're not a racist either, right?
 
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