Sex and gender policies in scientific publishing

Sex and gender differences and similarities are too often unaccounted for in scientific research, although these variables can be important determinants of health and well-being. This also applies to disciplines other than health research. The impact of, for example, environmental contaminants, interventions and innovations cannot be fully assessed if sex and gender dimensions are not accounted for in research, and will not be known if they are not systematically reported. In addition, there is an increasing awareness of the gender bias among authors, reviewers, editors, and editorial board members, and a growing recognition that a more gender-balanced science structure will benefit science and innovation.

In 2013, the Gender Policy Committee of the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) launched an extensive international survey in order to map existing editorial sex and gender policies. The survey probed not only for current practices, but also for opinions regarding editorial sex and gender policies in scientific journals and publishing houses.

The Gender Policy Committee is leading the development of Common Standards for Gender Considerations in Scientific Publishing. The Common Standards provide guiding principles on how to implement gender policies in journals, and serve as a model for editors and editorial societies across a wide range of disciplines.

At the Gender Policy Session at the EASE 2014 congress, the draft Common Standards will be presented for the first time to EASE members and delegates for a public consultation. Delegates are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft recommendations, share experiences from their discipline and/or journals, and engage in constructive dialogue about the importance of gender policies in journals.