Brown School Co-hosts Meeting Focused on Improving Diversity in Scientific Publishing

Faculty; Public Health; Research

Editors from some of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world recently convened at Washington University to explore diversity, equity, and inclusion in scientific publishing. 

​Co-hosted by the Brown School and the American Journal of Public Health and sponsored by the Robert W​ood Johnson Foundation, the meeting drew nearly 30 editors from publications including JAMA, Nature, PLoS ONE, and The Lancet. ​

The group met to discuss ways to improve racial equity in editorial practices. To that end, they reviewed literature and collected data in order to identify the metrics, pathways, and practices that could be incorporated to create guidelines for the scientific publication process.

“We are brainstorming what each journal is doing and what we can do together,” explained Rodrigo Reis, professor and interim co-dean of the Brown School. Ross Brownson, the Brown School’s Steven H. and Susan U. Lipstein Distinguished Professor, who is associate e​ditor of the Annual Review of Public Health, was also in attendance.

The editors used three guiding questions as their framework:

  • What is the prevalence of exclusion within scholarly publication?
  • What are the mec​hanisms that facilitate exclusion and lack of diversity within scholarly publication?
  • What interventions and initiatives have been implemented in order to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive field?​​

Alfredo Morabia, editor-in-chief of the American Journ​al of Public Health summed up the focus of the session by saying, “We’re understanding what we do right. What are our biases, and how we can correct that?” He added, “If there are some elements that exclude people from publication in journals, we want to know how and what is the evidence.”

Morabia expressed optimism that guidelines would be in place by the end of 2024. ​