Paper proposes new tool that would judge major titles on metrics such as ratio of male to female authors
Journals should be given a “diversity factor” to help improve representation across research, according to a new paper.
We couldn’t agree with this Times Higher Education story and the research project it reports more. This is especially true if you take the concept of diversity to include gender, race, disability and age. A publication cannot be considered impactful unless it speaks to the experience of all of us. For far too long scientific publishing has only been directed to the experience and needs of white, male, middle-aged and the non-disabled. This ignores the reality of life for most of us. This needs to change, as does the way in which we assess the impact of publications.
The study – led by Jack Gallifant, a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for Computational Physiology at MIT – said there is no objective measure for tracking progress towards inclusivity in science or for evaluating who contributes to health research.
Published in the Public Library of Science, the paper says the impact factor has transformed into a proxy for the quality of individual articles even though highly cited papers skew calculations, and leading journals have “gamed the system”.
“A shift from a single citation-based metric to using several different metrics that provide a more complete perspective on factors aligned with scientific excellence based on contribution to advancing diversity and inclusion, improving health outcomes, and achieving equity is therefore necessary,” the authors write.
Researchers used the OpenAIex database to examine the metadata of all papers published between 2000 and August 2022, and published a dashboard displaying the proposed diversity factor of major titles.