Studies by non-white scientists still face discrimination

One study found that non-white researchers belong to fewer editorial boards, their articles spend more time in review and receive fewer citations.

Researchers at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), including social scientists specializing in data and computing, have new findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), which highlight previously unknown ways in which non-white scientists experience inequalities in the process of consideration, publication and citation of their research, which can hinder the advancement of their academic careers.

Specifically, the NYUAD team’s analysis revealed that the number of non-white editors is lower than would be expected based on their percentage of authorship. Furthermore, non-white scientists have to wait longer between submission and acceptance of their manuscripts and, once published, their papers receive fewer citations than would be expected compared to other similar studies by white scientists.

The researchers collected an unprecedented dataset of 1,000,000 articles published between 2001 and 2020 by six publishers (Frontiers, Hindawi, IEEE, MDPI, PLOS, and PNAS) and identified the responsible editor for each article, as well as its publication date. Publication. presentation and acceptance. The analysis focused on three main results: the editor-author relationship; the time elapsed between submission and acceptance of an article; and the number of citations an article has received relative to similar ones.

Their analysis showed that most countries in Asia, Africa and South America (where the majority of the population is of non-white ethnicity) have fewer editors than you might expect based on authorship percentage. If we focus on American scientists, black researchers are the least represented. As for the time dedicated to the review, the analysis revealed that articles from Asia, Africa and South America spent more time under review than other articles published in the same journal in the same year. Also in the United States, articles submitted by black authors spent more time under review. Finally, analyzing the citation rates of articles published in the United States, the researchers found that black and Hispanic scientists received far fewer citations than white researchers doing similar research. The researchers used an algorithmic tool that classifies a scientist’s race based on their name.

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“Our results confirm that there continues to be a glaring and troubling racial gap in scientific research citations that affect nonwhite scientists,” says Bedoor AlShebli, associate professor of computational social sciences at NYUAD. “This means that these researchers are likely to have less visibility compared to their peers doing similar research. The implications for them, especially being less likely to receive funding for their work, could be incredibly detrimental to their academic careers.”

“While it is clear that editors have considerable work to do to audit their editorial processes to detect and eliminate any disparities, the responsibility to act is not limited to them. The entire scientific community must strive to create an ecosystem free of the geographic and racial disparities that currently impede career advancement and scientific progress,” continued Talal Rahwan, Associate Professor of Computer Science at NYUAD.


Nonwhite scientists appear on fewer editorial boards, spend more time under review, and receive fewer citations

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