A majority of editorial board members from high-impact hematology/oncology journals are non-Hispanic White men, according to a study published in The Oncologist.
Of the nearly 800 editorial board members studied, less than 30% were women. In addition, Black, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern/North African populations were underrepresented.
For this study, researchers looked at the composition of 54 journal editorial boards that included a total of 793 members. The journals were focused on oncology (54%), hematology (24.5%), radiation oncology (12.6%), surgical oncology (5.3%), and hematology/oncology combined (3.7%).
To determine the gender, race, and ethnicity of editorial board members, the researchers reviewed publicly available data. They attempted to confirm some of this information by emailing a 4-item survey to editors in chief and second-in-command editors.
The public data showed that 72.6% of editorial board members were men, and 27.4% were women. Most board members were non-Hispanic White (71.1%), followed by Asian (22.5%), Hispanic (2.9%), Middle Eastern and North African (2.0%), and Black (1.0%).
Women filled 15.9% of editor-in-chief positions. Most of these women (90%) were non-Hispanic White, and 10% were Asian.
“The representation of underrepresented minority women physicians in editor-in-chief positions is at an inexorable zero, which is a sign of unconscious attitudes that may exclude minority women from certain positions,” the researchers wrote. “It is imperative that a diverse and inclusive board includes equity beyond gender.”
Women filled 28.3% of second-in-command editorial positions. Again, the majority of these women were non-Hispanic White (69.4%), followed by Asian (23.3%), Hispanic (3.1%), Middle Eastern/North African (2.3%), and Black (1.2%).
A total of 66 editors completed the survey intended to confirm the race, ethnicity, and gender of editors in chief and second-in-command editors. Results showed that the researchers had assigned respondents the correct gender in 100% of cases and the correct race/ethnicity in 95.5% of cases.
“While asking individuals to self-identify their race and gender remains the gold standard of reporting, low response rates and response bias have been shown to affect results,” the researchers wrote. “[T]hese data from our study support the methodology of a coding team assigning gender and race as an alternative to self-report.”
Disclosures: One study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.
Patel SR, Riano I, Abuali I, et al. Race/ethnicity and gender representation in hematology and oncology editorial boards: What is the state of diversity? Oncologist. Published online April 29, 2023. doi:10.1093/oncolo/oyad103
This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor