Improving equity, diversity, and inclusion in Journals
Background: Journal editors are the gatekeepers of our research. With increasing evidence that Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) are beneficial to research and academia, some editors have expressed their desire to improve EDI of their journals. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) established a minimum set of requirements aimed at improving EDI in scholarly publishing through a joint commitment action plan with more than 56 publishing organizations. There are several commitments in place to improve EDI in journals, however, their effectiveness is yet to be determined.
Objectives: We provide practical approaches for editors, journal publishers, and peer reviewers to improve EDI in academic journals based on the six minimum standards set by the RSC.
Methods: We searched publisher websites, empirical studies, and relevant resources that evaluated the impact of any approach to improve EDI in journals.
Results: We suggest the following six approaches that journal editors can adopt to meet the RSC minimum criteria: (1) adopt a journal EDI statement with clear, actionable steps to achieve it; (2) promote the use of inclusive and bias-free language; (3) appoint a journal’s EDI director or lead; (4) establish an EDI mentoring approach; (5) monitor adherence to EDI principles; and (6) publish reports on EDI actions and achievements. Peer reviewers need to support the author’s needs whether they were language needs by directing them to language services or their clinical conditions that require accommodations. We also provide examples of journals that have implemented some of these strategies to improve EDI.
Conclusions: EDI issues in academia are tightly intertwined with systemic oppression that is integrated in policies and regulations of academic progression. Publishers and journal editors need to test the feasibility of implementing these approaches and assess their impact on improving EDI. Patient, public, and/or healthcare consumer involvement: no.