Authors and editors assort on gender and geography in high-rank ecological publications


Kezia R. Manlove, Rebecca M. Belou


PLoS One


Peer-reviewed publication volume and caliber are widely-recognized proxies for academic merit, and a strong publication record is essential for academic success and advancement. However, recent work suggests that publication productivity for particular author groups may also be determined in part by implicit biases lurking in the publication pipeline. Here, we explore patterns of gender, geography, and institutional rank among authors, editorial board members, and handling editors in high-impact ecological publications during 2015 and 2016. A higher proportion of lead authors had female first names (33.9%) than editorial board members (28.9%), and the proportion of female first names among handling editors was even lower (21.1%). Female editors disproportionately edited publications with female lead authors (40.3% of publications with female lead authors were handled by female editors, though female editors handled only 34.4% of all studied publications). Additionally, ecological authors and editors were overwhelmingly from countries in the G8, and high-ranking academic institutions accounted for a large portion of both the published work, and its editorship. Editors and lead authors with female names were typically affiliated with higher-ranking institutions than their male peers. This description of author and editor features provides a baseline for benchmarking future trends in the ecological publishing culture.



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