Gender Distribution Associated With the Journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine

Wilderness Environ Med. 2022 Sep;33(3):267-274. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2022.04.005. Epub 2022 Jun 23.


Introduction: Publication and peer review are fundamental to career advancement in science and academic medicine. Studies demonstrate that women are underrepresented in science publishing. We evaluated the gender distribution of contributors to Wilderness & Environmental Medicine (WEM) from 2010 through 2019.

Methods: We extracted author data from ScienceDirect, reviewer data from the WEM Editorial Manager database, and editorial board data from journal records. Gender (female and male) was classified using automated probability-based assessment with software.

Results: A total of 2297 unique authors were published over the 10-y span, generating 3613 authorships, of which gender was classified for 96% (n=3480). Women represented 26% (n=572) of all authors, which breaks down to 22% of all, 19% of first, 28% of second, and 18% of last authorships. Women represented 20% of peer reviewers (508/2517), 20% of reviewers-in-training (19/72), and 16% of editorial board members (7/45). The proportion of female authors, first authors, and reviewers increased over time. Women received fewer invitations per reviewer than men (mean 2.1 [95% CI 2.0-2.3] vs 2.4 [95% CI 2.3-2.5]; P=0.004), accepted reviews at similar rates (mean 73 vs 71%; P=0.214), and returned reviews 1.4 d later (mean 10.4 [CI 9.5-11.3] vs 9.0 d [95% CI 8.5-9.6]; P=0.005).

Conclusions: While female representation increased over the study period, women comprise a minority of WEM authors, peer reviewers, and editorial board members. Gender equity could be improved by identifying and eliminating barriers to participation, addressing any potential bias in review processes, implementing strategies to increase female-authored submissions, and increasing mentorship and training.

Keywords: authorship; bias; peer review; publication; science; women.

MeSH terms

  • Authorship
  • Environmental Medicine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peer Review
  • Wilderness Medicine*