This page describes the methods used in the manuscript “Women are underrepresented on editorial boards” by Alyssa H. Cho, Shelly A. Johnson, Carrie E. Schuman, Jennifer M. Adler, Oscar Gonzalez, Sarah J. Graves, Jana R. Huebner, D. Blaine Marchant, Sami W. Rifai, Irina Skinner, and Emilio M. Bruna

Upon acceptance of the manuscript, these methods, the data, metadata, and code will be deposited at the Dryad Digital Repository.  



We selected for review 10 high profile journals from environmental biology, natural resource management, and plant sciences: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Biotropica, Agronomy Journal, North American Journal of Fisheries Management, American Journal of Botany, Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Ecology, Journal of Ecology, and Journal of Tropical Ecology. We chose these journals because they are published by our primary professional organizations (e.g., Biotropica, Conservation Biology) or are alternative, non-society outlets for similar research (e.g., Journal of Tropical Ecology, Biological Conservation).

Our analyses were based on the years 1985-2013.  For each journal, we selected the first issue published each year and recorded the names, institutions, and editorial positions of all editorial board members. We then used internet searches, personal knowledge, and interviews of colleagues to determine the gender of each editorial board member. Because of library licensing issues were unable to obtain data for Journal of Tropical Ecology for the years 1986-1989.

Journals often have different names for positions with similar editorial responsibilities, these names frequently change over time, and not all journals had all positions throughout the years surveyed. We therefore categorized editorial board members as follows, then used a subset of these categories in our analyses: (1) Editor-in-Chief (EIC). When journals had co-EICs all were counted and included in the total EIC count (2) Associate Editors (AE). Note that some journals created Associate Editor positions only recently (e.g., Biotropica), while others have had them for much longer (e.g., Agronomy Journal). In addition, the North American Journal of Fisheries Management and American Journal of Botany used the title “Associate Editor” to refer to members of the editorial board with responsibilities that more accurately reflect those of a “Subject Editors” or “Handling Editors”, so they were placed in that category instead. (3) Subject Editors (SE). These were also referred to as the Board of Editors (Ecology, Biological Conservation), Editorial Committee (Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematic, American Journal of Botany), and Associate Editors (American Journal of Botany, North American Journal of Fisheries Management); (4) Book Review Editors; and (5) Special Editors. These editors are tasked with organizing special sections, reviewing data archives etc. (e.g., the Biological Florida Editor for the Journal of Ecology; Concept Section, Data Archive, Special Features, and Invited Papers Editors for Ecology).

We conducted our analyses using EICs, AEs, and SEs. Throughout our manuscript and analyses we use the term ‘Editorial Board’ to refer to the group collectively made up of these three categories. Book Review and Special Editors were not included unless they were also EICs, AEs, or SEs because very few journals had these positions and those that did rarely had them for the entire survey period. We also excluded from our analyses production staff (e.g., production editors, managing editors, editorial assistants) and the American Journal of Botany’s “Section Representatives”, whose primary function was to suggest reviewers and help identify journal priorities, but did not make editorial decisions on individual manuscripts (Dr. Judith E. Skog, pers. comm., 2014).