Gender Equality in Research Journal Publishing

Publishers of some of the world's most impactful research journals and books have committed to tackling bias and discrimination by signing up to the Royal Society of Chemistry's Joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing.

Publishers of some of the world’s most impactful research journals and books have committed to tackling bias and discrimination by signing up to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing.

An initial 11 signatories were announced in late June. Eight further signatories brings the number of journals affected to over 7,000. The publishers that have signed, in alphabetical order, are: AGU Publications, American Chemical Society Publications, American Mathematical Society Publications, BMJ Journals, Cambridge University Press, the Company of Biologists, eLife, Elsevier, Emerald Publishing, the Geological Society of London, Hindawi, IOP Publishing, NEJM Group, Oxford University Press, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, SAGE Publishing, Ubiquity Press and Wiley.

The joint statement came after previous research  conducted by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has shown that the gender of a scientific author, peer-reviewer or editor can influence the likelihood of research being published. The group also plans to form a working group to collaborate on further actions to improve inclusion and diversity in publishing.

All signatories of the commitment agreed to pool their resources and knowledge to agree four initial actions to set a new standard in scholarly publishing. These are to:

  1. Understand the research community

By collaborating to enable diversity data to be self-reported by members of their communities, they will work towards a collective and compliant system so that researchers only need to self-report data once. They will share and analyse anonymised diversity data to understand where action is needed.

  1. Reflect the diversity of the community

They will use anonymised data to uncover subject-specific diversity baselines, and set minimum targets to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of authors, reviewers and editorial decision-makers.

  1. Share success to achieve impact

They will share and develop new and innovative resources to improve representation and inclusivity of diverse groups. They will transparently share policies, measurements, language and standards, to move inclusion and diversity in publishing forward together.

  1. Set minimum standards on which to build

They will scrutinise their publishing processes and take action to achieve a minimum standard for inclusion in publishing, based initially on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Framework for Action in Scientific Publishing. They will engage all relevant stakeholders to improve outcomes on inclusion and diversity, at all stages of the publishing process.

A working group is being established to share practice and monitor progress, and the group are inviting and encouraging other publishers to join.

Agreement on the joint declaration was reached in a workshop organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry, after it shared its pioneering Framework for Action in Scientific Publishing  – an action-focussed roadmap to minimise exclusion and bias in its publications, also released publicly this week.

The framework was a commitment made during the RSC’s enquiry into its publication processes: Is publishing in the chemical sciences gender biased? . This report analysed more than 700,000 research papers and 141,000 citations in its journals, revealing that women face subtle barriers at each stage of the publication process.

The data behind the report was also released as a peer-reviewed paper , with positive response  from the scientific community.

In its new framework for action, the RSC recognises that strong foundations must first be laid to achieve lasting impact. Therefore, the document framework has two parts: Building the Foundations and Opportunities for Action.

Each part has four sections, which focus on specific topics such as “Establishing leadership” or “Setting standards”. Several actions are then suggested within each topic, which can be used to provide a general understanding of performance, and enable identification and prioritisation of actions.

For more information, see and