eLife Latest: Taking steps to increase the diversity of our editorial board

As the Board of Reviewing Editors reaches 500, we reflect on recent recruitment efforts.

When eLife first opened for submissions in 2012, the 175-member Board of Reviewing Editors (BRE) represented the wide array of disciplines covered by the journal – from human genetics and neuroscience to biophysics and epidemiology.

Since that time the board has grown to encompass new subject areas such as Cancer Biology and Physics of Living Systems and to accommodate the increasing number of submissions from across the life sciences and biomedicine.

The Reviewing Editors work with the Senior Editors to realise eLife’s commitment to fair and constructive peer review. Revision requests are consolidated following an open, internal consultation among reviewers to deliver a single, concise set of the essential revisions. This helps to limit the rounds of revisions and allows research to be published promptly.

We want our editorial board to reflect the scientific communities we serve. When recruiting Reviewing Editors over the last few years, a greater emphasis has been placed on diversity. This has included improving the gender balance, diversifying the geographical distribution of the editorial board, as well as increasing representation of early and mid-career researchers.

The chart below shows how the editorial board has changed in terms of gender balance over the 12 months of 2019.

Female researchers currently represent 39% of the BRE (+10% compared to the start of 2019), and mid and early-career investigators now account for half of the editorial board (compared to 37% of the BRE at the start of 2019). In 2019, we also recruited editors from countries that were previously not represented, including Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, and increased the representation in some Asian countries, such as China.

Whilst these efforts are underway, we are aware that there is still a long way to go. Promoting diversity across our editorial board remains a priority, and a new initiative to support our efforts to improve the geographical representation of the editorial board will be announced shortly.


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