Imprimir Republish

Racial Bias

Study to Test Racial Bias

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal agency supporting biomedical research in the United States, will begin a study to find out whether there is any type of bias in the project evaluation process that could prejudice researchers from ethnic minorities, such as blacks and Asians. A study published in 2011 in the journal Science showed that white researchers are almost twice as likely to receive NIH subsidies as African-Americans. The disparity seems to appear at the very beginning of the review process, when researchers are classified in a ranking. The agency wants to find out if there are flaws in the evaluation process and, if so, what can be done about them. The study will submit proposals without revealing the names of the authors or including racial identification data in order to see what happens to the scores. “If anonymity reduces the disparity, that will be a clear sign of bias,” Richard Nakamura, director of the Center for Scientific Review at NIH, told the journal Nature.