Non-White scientists appear on fewer editorial boards, spend more time under review, and receive fewer citations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disparities continue to pose major challenges in various aspects of science. One such aspect is editorial board composition, which has been shown to exhibit racial and geographical disparities. However, the literature on this subject lacks longitudinal studies quantifying the degree to which the racial composition of editors reflects that of scientists. Other aspects that may exhibit racial disparities include the time spent between the submission and acceptance of a manuscript and the number of citations a paper receives relative to textually similar papers, but these have not been studied to date. To fill this gap, we compile a dataset of 1,000,000 papers published between 2001 and 2020 by six publishers, while identifying the handling editor of each paper. Using this dataset, we show that most countries in Asia, Africa, and South America (where the majority of the population is ethnically non-White) have fewer editors than would be expected based on their share of authorship. Focusing on US-based scientists reveals Black as the most underrepresented race. In terms of acceptance delay, we find, again, that papers from Asia, Africa, and South America spend more time compared to other papers published in the same journal and the same year. Regression analysis of US-based papers reveals that Black authors suffer from the greatest delay. Finally, by analyzing citation rates of US-based papers, we find that Black and Hispanic scientists receive significantly fewer citations compared to White ones doing similar research. Taken together, these findings highlight significant challenges facing non-White scientists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2215324120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 28 2023


  • Science of science
  • inequality
  • peer review
  • race
  • scientific careers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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