How can Scientific Societies Address Disparities on Editorial Boards?

Kelsey Poulson-Ellestad, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL, United States, Scott Hotaling, Washington State University, School of Biological Sciences, Pullman, WA, United States, Laura Falkenberg, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Patricia Ann Soranno, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, East Lansing, United States
Gender- or ethinic-based disparities in training and job opportunities can impact the career trajectories of members of underrepresented groups. Such issues also exist within scientific publishing. Because of the powerful position of associate editors as gatekeepers in scientific publishing, disparities at the editorial level influence not only publication success of authors from underrepresented groups, but also what type of scientists receive professional benefits from serving as an editor. We conducted a survey of associate editors for from the three society journals of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology & Oceanography to address two specific questions: 1) what experiences in research and publishing did associate editors have before joining an editorial board? and 2) does professional experience intersect with identity (i.e., gender, country of origin) in shaping the pool editors for this family of society journals? We were able to draw conclusions about editorial diversity from the analysis of this novel dataset. For example, research experience of associate editors appeared contingent upon gender, such that men were more likely to serve as associate editors earlier in their careers than women. Second, scientists from non-English speaking countries became associate editors later in their careers and after obtaining more publishing experience (both as authors and peer reviewers) than native English speaking editors. We hope that these survey results can act as a starting point for developing strategies that editors and scientific societies can use to address disparities in editorial boards. Such strategies would serve to improve the working climate for aquatic scientists (Session Goal #3) and enhance representation at the editorial level to more accurately reflect the geographic distribution of research in the aquatic sciences (Session Goal #4).