DEIA in Scholarly Publishing – Recent Resources for Authors and Peer Reviewers

The scholarly publishing community continues important work in diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Here is a roundup of recent resources and initiatives that may be helpful for authors and peer reviewers.

In 2021, JAMA and the AMA Manual of Style published Updated Guidance on the Reporting of Race and Ethnicity in Medical and Science Journals. The updated guidance was published after feedback and comments from reviewers, scholars, and researchers. Topics such as capitalization, listing racial and ethnic categories in alphabetical order vs order by majority, and geographic origin and regionalization considerations are included. A Summary Guide for Preferred Terms When Reporting Race and Ethnicity is available open access on the JAMA website. Additional explanations and references are provided in the AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, 11th edition, Chapter 11, Correct and Preferred Usage, available from Becker Library.

The American Society of Nephrology adapted this update into a checklist for authors in all medical disciplines, Checklist for Reporting of Race and Ethnicity in Medical and Science Journals modified from JAMA. Professional organizations and societies are providing authors with additional guidance tailored to their research areas. For example, AMIA’s Inclusive Language and Context Style Guidelines includes specific examples of text revisions reflecting AMIA’s guiding principles of inclusive language.

The National Academies recently issued a report, Using Population Descriptors in Genetics and Genomics Research recommending that genomics and genetics researchers tailor their use of population descriptors based on the type and purpose of their study, and explain why and how those descriptors were selected in their work.

The PREreview Open Reviewers Program, a peer review training and mentoring program, published a Bias Reflection Guide. “This guide is meant to help you think deeply about the ways assumptions or biases may be affecting your assessment of manuscripts you choose to review.” The guide includes a list of 10 common biases and assumptions in peer review and a guided, non-judgmental reflection to help reviewers think critically about biases they identify. The guide is meant to be used by both new and experienced reviewers and ideally read before beginning a review of a manuscript.

The Peer Review Taxonomy was developed to standardize terms used to describe peer review practices and improve transparency. The taxonomy promotes the use of inclusive language,  such as using the term “double anonymized” to describe a review process where the author is masked to the reviewer and the reviewer is masked to the author. Several publishers are piloting the taxonomy, which is expected to be adopted as a formal NISO standard after additional updates and public comments.

Publishers are also collaborating on a set of questions for collecting self-reported gender identity as well as race and ethnicity data from authors, reviewers and editors. Over 56 publishers, with over 15,000 journals, have agreed to a  joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing. The question set and resulting data are the first step to understand the current diversity of authors, editors and reviewers. Researchers may soon see these questions in the publisher systems they use to submit or peer review manuscripts. To learn more about how the questions were developed and how they are being deployed in publisher systems, please see this presentation.