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Women, Science and the Royal Society; Open Access Research

Adam Rutherford asks the Royal Society why there is a decline in their awards to female scientists this year, and he investigates getting science out from behind paywalls.

Royal Society investigates the decline in their awards to female scientists
Last week, the UK's national science academy, the Royal Society, announced its latest round of University Research Fellows (URFs). And they are almost all fellows - in the male sense of the word. Out of 43 new posts, only two of them are women. These positions are for early-career, post-doctoral researchers. But, at the top of the tree, fewer than one in ten science professors are women, and one of the top UK scientific accolades - a Royal Society Fellowship - is held by only one in twenty. To their credit, The Royal Society were "horrified" by this latest round, and their president, Sir Paul Nurse, immediately called for a full investigation into how this happened, saying "this sends out a bad message to young female scientists".

Our reporter Tracey Logan asks why Royal Society grants are so important to young scientists, and whether this year's number of female recipients is a sign of gender bias on the awarding committees, or just a statistical blip in a fair process? And Adam Rutherford meets Professor Julia Higgins to hear the latest just after participating in a diversity working group meeting at the Royal Society in London.

Getting science out from behind paywalls
You pay for science research via your taxes, but you may not get to see the results unless you pay again to read the journals that publish them. With two major UK science publishers, the Royal Society publishing and Nature, announcing one apiece of their journals are going fully open access -broadly, free for anyone to read online - we're discussing the way science makes it from the lab to the public, via the ever controversial system of publishing and peer review. Adam is joined by Fiona Godlee, Editor of the British Medical Journal; Lesley Anson, Chief Editor of Nature Communications; and Chris Lintott, Professor of Astrophysics and Citizen Science Lead at the University of Oxford.

Producer: Fiona Roberts
Assistant Producer: Jen Whyntie.

Available now

30 minutes


  • Thu 2 Oct 2014 16:30
  • Thu 2 Oct 2014 21:00

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