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Diversity in the editorial boards of global health journals
  1. Soumyadeep Bhaumik1,
  2. Jagnoor Jagnoor1,2
  1. 1The George Institute for Global Health, India, New Delhi, India
  2. 2The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Soumyadeep Bhaumik; sbhaumik{at}georgeinstitute.org.in

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Summary box

  • We present a new scoring system (Composite Editorial Board Diversity Score (CEBDS)) to evaluate the diversity of editorial board in terms of three parameters—gender, country income-level and geographic region.

  • We analysed the diversity of the editorial boards of 27 specialty global health journals—of 303 editors, 40% were females; 68% based in high-income countries; 34% were based in Europe and Central Asia and 30% were based in North America. And among editors-in-chief, 27% were females and 73% were based in high-income countries.

  • Only 26% of journals had the highest possible score in the gender diversity domain (40%–60% female editors), 11% had the highest possible score in the country income-level domain (at least one editor in all country income groups) and 7% had the highest possible score in the geographic region diversity domain (at least one editor in all six regions). Overall, only 11% of journals had high CEBDS (≥8).

  • There is need for studies to understand enablers and barriers of diversity in journal editorial boards. Affirmative action and application of organisational good practices for improving diversity, inclusion and belongingness is required to ensure diversity in editorial board of global health journals.

Introduction

Diversity in global health workforce and leadership has received a lot of attention, particularly in terms of gender and representation of low/middle-income countries in global health institutions like the WHO.1–4 Representation of women in medical journals has been studied extensively including for authorship, peer-reviewers and editorial positions in several medical specialities,5–14 with only a few studies analysing geographical diversity.15 16 Although many journals champion diversity narratives in several domains of global health,17–19 the issue of diversity in specialty global health journals has not been studied previously.

Having an editorial role in an academic journal reflects status and indicates leadership and influence within a field. Thus, having …

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