The American Chemical Society (ACS) first diversity report on its authors, reviewers, editors, and members of the Editorial Advisory Board (EAB) shows significant but not unexpected disparities. The organization said it would use this benchmark data to implement changes that could address systemic issues of peer review, editor selection, accessibility and other factors affecting diversity in the industry. scientific publishing.
The ACS undertook a demographic survey last year that informed the new report and found that men make up the majority of these categories, often by at least two to one. “The imbalance between the number of men and women in each stakeholder group is present at every stage of the publication process of the ACS publications reviews”, the report concludes. “Among all authors, men are far more represented than women or non-binary people, consistent with global trends in gender disparity in chemistry.”
The acceptance rate for all authors in ACS journals is essentially the same. However, women submit about 10% fewer manuscripts per person each year to ACS journals, and they are also less likely to be the corresponding author of a paper. Although women represent 32% of all authors of articles submitted to ACS journals, they represent only 24% of corresponding authors. Meanwhile, non-binary authors make up less than 1.5% of all author groups.
The ACS survey also found that the demographics of reviewers closely mirror that of corresponding authors: 73% are male, 25% are female, and 1% are non-binary.
However, many more women serve on the editorial boards and EABs of ACS publications. It turns out that 34% of ACS journal editors and 40% of EAB members are women, compared to about a quarter of corresponding authors and reviewers. Non-binary people make up less than 1% of both groups.
When it comes to the ethnicity of ACS reviewers, 46% identify as white and 30% as East Asian. South Asians and Latinos or Hispanics are the only other groups that make up more than 5% of reviewers who completed reviews. Similarly, 55% of ACS’s journal editors are white, while its EABs are 56% white. People who identify as East Asian made up 27% of editors and 26% of EAB members. No other racial or ethnic group comprises more than 5% of editors or EABs.
In terms of regional representation, 48% of ACS publications editors and 44% of the organization’s EAB members are from the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, East Asia and the Pacific each contributes 22%, while Europe and Central Asia make up 21% of ACS’s publishers and 23% of its EAB members.
In December 2020, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) collated and reported its diversity data, with results similar to those of the ACS. This analysis showed that women represent approximately 30% of authors in RSC journals, nearly 30% of corresponding authors and 41% of first authors.
Further, upon review, RSC journals accepted for publication about a quarter of manuscripts with women as corresponding authors, and the figure was nearly 39% for articles with a female first author.
The RSC report also examined the composition of the editorial boards of its journals, finding that 57% of those who served on these boards were men and 43% were women. The ethnic breakdown revealed that 71% were white and 28% were Asian.
Unlike its ACS counterpart, the RSC’s analysis included participation information disaggregated by sexual orientation and also examined diversity among the recipients of its prizes, awards and grants.