Editor Diversity: Facilitating change to ensure a truly inclusive publishing landscape

Springer Nature Group
By: Rucha Kapare, Biz Turnell and Sowmya Swaminathan Springer Nature, Mon Apr 29 2024

Author: Rucha Kapare, Biz Turnell and Sowmya Swaminathan Springer Nature

As the diversity of the research landscape changes - it's imperative that we have a clear awareness and understanding of the current demographics across journal portfolios - a responsibility shared by publishers and editors. Such awareness is one way that we can then better enable a truly inclusive and representative publishing landscape.

As a leading research publisher, we are committed to eliminating barriers to creating, discovering and using knowledge. By better understanding the demographics across our publishing portfolio, we aim to contribute to more equitable outcomes in learning and scholarship. As part of this commitment, earlier this week we published our first benchmarking report looking at Editor diversity at Springer Nature. Using internal data from our community of over 100,000 academic editors across approximately 3,000 Springer Nature journals, the report provides a snapshot of editorial diversity in 2023. This benchmarking report provides key data for us, alongside the Annual Progress Report and Sustainability Report, to take an informed, evidence-based approach to improving and supporting representation within publishing and our editorial teams.

To mark its publication, an edited version of the report’s foreword from Ritu Dhand, Chief Scientific Officer at Springer Nature, can be read below. The full report can be read here - https://stories.springernature.com/journal-editor-diversity/index.html 


The world of science and research is evolving, becoming increasingly global and diverse. We have seen major shifts in where research is produced, with contributions from countries in particular China outpacing western nations by both output and quality. 

A truly inclusive publishing landscape should represent all communities, globally and across multiple dimensions of diversity. That’s why inclusivity is part of our strategy: if we are to address the world’s most urgent societal challenges, we must be representative of global research. 

This is particularly relevant when it comes to our decision-makers. Springer Nature supports more than 100,000 academic editors across our portfolio, spanning every discipline, and every corner of the world. These editors play a critical role in ensuring their journals foster inclusive publishing practices and represent their communities. 

We know that to facilitate change, we must first understand our current demographics. This is why we have released our first benchmarking report, examining our editors’ geographic and gender diversity. While we have ambitions to report on a much broader set of diversity characteristics, our goal was to begin with what was immediately available to us, including self-reported geographic data, and assumed gender for the full spectrum of our journals. 

This initial data reaffirms what we know to be true across the industry. Editorial decision-makers are not fully representative of the diverse research community they serve, and there is much more we need to do to address this. The scale of the challenge is significant for a publisher of our size, but we are actively supporting our editors in diversifying their journals. Our most recent cohort of newly recruited editors is more representative of regional diversity, and our Scientific Reports case study shows the positive impact of inviting increasing numbers of women to become editors. 

By sharing what we are learning we aim to inform, inspire, and drive forward action across the industry. That’s why we continue to invest in DEI research, data, and resources, such as our 2023 report on researcher perceptions and experiences, and our DEI in Research Publishing Hub. We have also compiled examples of editorial best practices as part of this report. Moving ahead, we will continue to track our progress towards greater inclusiveness, reviewing insights and making recommendations for action. Our goal is to create a publishing landscape that is representative, inclusive, and truly reflects the global and diverse nature of scientific research.”


Springer Nature has – and continues to – drive a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.  You can read more about our DEI commitments and strategy here - https://group.springernature.com/gp/group/taking-responsibility/diversity-equity-inclusion


Author: Rucha Kapare, Biz Turnell and Sowmya Swaminathan Springer Nature

Rucha, Biz and Sowmya make up the key project team behind the development of our first benchmarking report into editorial diversity at Springer Nature. More on each individual can be found on their respective LinkedIn pages.

Rucha Kapare is Global Head of External Diversity Equity Inclusion – Data

Biz Turnell is Senior Editor, Scientific Reports

Sowmya Swaminathan is Director, DEI, Research, Springer Nature

Ritu Dhand, author of the foreward,  is Chief Scientific Officer for Springer Nature. More on Ritu can be found on her LinkedIn.

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