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Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A new survey finds limited diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, The Scientist reports.

Researchers led by the University of California, San Francisco's James Salazar sent surveys to 654 journal editors, representing 25 different journals from the US and Europe, that asked about their race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identity. As they report in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers found 77.2 percent of respondents were white, 50.8 percent were male, and 88.3 percent identified as heterosexual.

Among the US-based journals, 1.1 percent of editors identified as Black, the researchers report, noting that that 3.6 percent of medical school faculty, 5.0 percent of practicing physicians, and 13.0 percent of adults in the US are Black. Meanwhile, 3.8 percent of editors identified as being of Hispanic, Latinx, or Spanish origin, compared to 5.5 percent of medical school faculty, 5.8 percent of practicing physicians, and 16.4 percent of US adults.

Salazar tells The Scientist that he got the idea for the survey based on his experience as a Latino Editorial Fellow at JAMA Internal Medicine and says he was not surprised by the low diversity the survey uncovered. "It's important to emphasize that our study found a lack of diversity despite the presence of widespread stated commitments to promote diversity among these journals," he adds at The Scientist. "So, it is not enough for a journal simply to say that it is committed to diversity."