In keeping with the theme of Diversity in Peer Review, for this year’s Peer Review Week we’re taking a closer look at two recent studies on the topic. These articles are freely available throughout the month of September.
This 2018 Learned Publishing article discusses the geographical imbalance of reviewers discovered during research in medicine and agricultural and biological sciences. They found that:
- there was a correlation between the reviewer location and the country and region of the Editor‐in‐Chief and that of the corresponding author.
- reviewers were more likely to accept invitations to review articles when the corresponding author was from their region and were more likely to be positive about such articles.
This 2015 British Ecological Society article reviews a comprehensive data set of the peer review process for all submitted papers to the Functional Ecology journal and concluded that editor gender, seniority and geographic location affect who is invited to review for Functional Ecology, and how invitees respond to review invitations, but not the final outcome of the peer review process. To increase diversity of reviewer populations, journals should increase gender, age and geographic diversity of their editorial boards.
They found that:
- though the gender ratio of editors was majority male, the proportion of female editors increased over time
- female editors invited more female reviewers than their male counterparts, and both editors over-selected reviewers from their own graphical locality
- females invited to review were less likely to respond to review invitations, but more likely to accept if they responded
- men invited to review were both less likely to respond and more likely to decline if the editor was female
- the proportion of women among selected reviewers decreased with editor seniority when the editor was male but increased with editor seniority when the editor was female
- the gender ratio of selected reviewers differed a lot between late‐career (more senior) male and female editors
- individuals invited to review were less likely to agree to review if the editor was more senior
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