2014 Group Project

This is the introduction to the 2014 Group Project. The students published a paper based on their work, which was later selected to be one of the articles in the PeerJ Picks 2015 Collection.

Cho AH, Johnson SA, Schuman CE, Adler JM, Gonzalez O, Graves SJ, Huebner JR, Marchant DB, Rifai SW, Skinner I, Bruna EM. (2014Women are underrepresented on the editorial boards of journals in environmental biology and natural resource management. PeerJ 2:e542 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.542


One of the topics we will explore in this workshop is Bias. For instance, women scientists tend to publish less than male scientists (known as the “productivity puzzle”), and are also cited less. One interesting form of bias that could influence gender-related scientific productivity is the representation of women on editorial boards of scientific journals. There have been a few studies of this topic (see below), but none of which I am aware in ecology and evolutionary biology. We’re going to remedy this.

1) To learn how to navigate the process of publishing a scientific paper, we are going to collect data and prepare a note in which we evaluate how the gender diversity of editorial boards has changed over time. Todo so, we will use the following journals:

  1. Biotropica (1969)
  2. Journal of Tropical Ecology (1985)
  3. Ecology (1920)
  4. Oecologia (1968)
  5. Conservation Biology (1987) :
  6. Biological Conservation (1968)
  7. Journal of Ecology (1913) :
  8. Any others you would like to nominate for inclusion



Keiser et al. 2003. Gender composition of editorial boards of general medical journals. The Lancet.

Mauleon et al. 2013. Assessing gender balance among journal authors and editorial board members. Scientometrics.

Royal Economic Society. 1999. The Gender composition of editorial boards in economics.

Stark et al. 1997. The gender Effect on Editorial Boards and in Academia. Bulletin of the Society for American Archeology.

Metz, I.; Harzing, A.W. (2012) An update of gender diversity in editorial boards: A longitudinal study of Management journals,Personnel Review, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 283-300

Metz, I.; Harzing, A.W. (2009) Gender diversity in editorial boards of Management journalsThe Academy of Management Learning & Education, vol 8, no. 4, pp. 540-557

Wing et al 2010. DIfferences in editorial board reviewer behavior based on gender. J Women’s Health.

Addis and Villa. 2003. The Editorial Boards of Italian economics journals: Women, Gender, and Social Networking.  Feminist Economics 9(1): 75-91.

8 thoughts on “2014 Group Project”

  1. I like the last figure you posted with the % female over time – really easy to see the increasing trends and also, as you said, leaving things on a more positive note (while still showing that % female falls far below 50% line for most journals)

  2. I received a reply from the executive director of the Society for Conservation Biology. She did not think they collect gender information on members (I am a actually a member and do not recall ever specifying gender). I cannot find info on the website. She forwarded my request to their marketing and publicity coordinator, in hopes he might have more info, but I have not heard back yet.

    Where were others able to find this info for other Society memberships?

  3. In the NSF info that ‘Natural Resources/Conservation’ (which is probably the closest approximation to Conservation Biology field) – the % female degrees were 26% in 2000 and 47% in 2010.

    1. I found some other data on the trends from the NSF site. I plotted the %male/female doctorate recipients from US universities in Ag Science and Natural Resources. Basically shows the % male at 70% in 2002, but declining to 55% in 2010, and female at 30% in 2002 and steadily rising to 44% in 2012. Seems about the same as what Shelly found for the Nat Resources/Conservation field.


      This could bring up a discussion of what field we are actually describing/trying to describe.

  4. This is peripherally related to the topic of our paper, in case anyone is interested in pursing the bigger issue of gender equality.

    TODAY is “Equal Pay Day for women” – marking the number of extra days into 2014 the average woman must work to earn as much as her male counterpart did in 2013.

    I’ve got quite a lively debate going on fb page, but this Bureau of Labor Statistics report provides more info that demonstrated a pay gap in all but 2 of the hundreds of included occupations.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

WIS 6934