Challenging the "old boys club" in academia: Gender and geographic representation in editorial boards of journals publishing in environmental sciences and public health

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Title: Challenging the "old boys club" in academia: Gender and geographic representation in editorial boards of journals publishing in environmental sciences and public health
Authors: Dada, Saravan Daalen, Kim RobinBarrios-Ruiz, AlannaBuggy, Conor J.et al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/13070
Date: 21-Jun-2022
Online since: 2022-08-17T14:04:22Z
Abstract: In light of global environmental crises and the need for sustainable development, the fields of public health and environmental sciences have become increasingly interrelated. Both fields require interdisciplinary thinking and global solutions, which is largely directed by scientific progress documented in peer-reviewed journals. Journal editors play a critical role in coordinating and shaping what is accepted as scientific knowledge. Previous research has demonstrated a lack of diversity in the gender and geographic representation of editors across scientific disciplines. This study aimed to explore the diversity of journal editorial boards publishing in environmental science and public health. The Clarivate Journal Citation Reports database was used to identify journals classified as Public, Environmental, and Occupational (PEO) Health, Environmental Studies, or Environmental Sciences. Current EB members were identified from each journal’s publicly available website between 1 March and 31 May 2021. Individuals’ names, editorial board roles, institutional affiliations, geographic locations (city, country), and inferred gender were collected. Binomial 95% confidence intervals were calculated for the proportions of interest. Pearson correlations with false discovery rate adjustment were used to assess the correlation between journal-based indicators and editorial board characteristics. Linear regression and logistic regression models were fitted to further assess the relationship between gender presence, low- and middle-income country (LMIC) presence and several journal and editor-based indicators. After identifying 628 unique journals and excluding discontinued or unavailable journals, 615 journal editorial boards were included. In-depth analysis was conducted on 591 journals with complete gender and geographic data for their 27,772 editors. Overall, the majority of editors were men (65.9%), followed by women (32.9%) and non-binary/other gender minorities (0.05%). 75.5% journal editorial boards (n = 446) were composed of a majority of men (>55% men), whilst only 13.2% (n = 78) demonstrated gender parity (between 45–55% women/gender minorities). Journals categorized as PEO Health had the most gender diversity. Furthermore, 84% of editors (n = 23,280) were based in high-income countries and only 2.5% of journals (n = 15) demonstrated economic parity in their editorial boards (between 45–55% editors from LMICs). Geographically, the majority of editors’ institutions were based in the United Nations (UN) Western Europe and Other region (76.9%), with 35.2% of editors (n = 9,761) coming solely from the United States and 8.6% (n = 2,373) solely from the United Kingdom. None of the editors-in-chief and only 27 editors in total were women based in low-income countries. Through the examination of journal editorial boards, this study exposes the glaring lack of diversity in editorial boards in environmental science and public health, explores the power dynamics affecting the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and proposes concrete actions to remedy these structural inequities in order to inform more equitable, just and impactful knowledge creation.
Funding Details: Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Journal: PLOS Global Public Health
Volume: 2
Issue: 6
Start page: 1
End page: 23
Copyright (published version): 2022 The Authors
Keywords: Environment and public healthPedagogiesAcademic leadership positionsGender representationGeographic representation
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000541
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
ISSN: 2767-3375
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems Research Collection
Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science Research Collection

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