Tuesday, September 6, 2022

AJP Editors Outline Ongoing Efforts to Address Racism, Publication Biases

Prioritizing papers that examine the impacts of systemic racism and health care inequities and creating a program for residents of diverse backgrounds to learn about the publishing process are just two of several changes made in the past two years by the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP) to address structural racism and social injustice. So wrote AJP Editor-in-Chief Ned H. Kalin, M.D., and the Journal’s deputy and executive editors in an editorial appearing in the September issue.

“This editorial update is meant to show that we have endeavored to incorporate diversity and inclusion efforts into all aspects of our editorial processes,” Kalin and colleagues wrote. “[W]e are committed to continuing these efforts in order to attain substantial progress in the coming years.”

The editors outlined several changes to AJP’s submissions process meant to ensure that research reports on human subjects include complete sociodemographic data related to race, ethnicity, sex, and gender identity.

When authors submit manuscripts to AJP, they will now be required to answer the following yes/no questions (a comment box will allow the authors to elaborate on any of their responses):

  • Does your submission indicate how participant race and participant ethnicity were ascertained?
  • Does your submission distinguish between assigned sex at birth and gender identity?
  • Does your submission indicate how sex and gender were ascertained?
  • Is your sample representative of the population from which it was drawn?

Reviewers of AJP manuscripts will be encouraged to “take note of the authors’ responses to participant recruitment data and to engage in a dialogue among authors, reviewers, and editors about adequacy of efforts,” Kalin and colleagues wrote.

“We announce these initiatives as merely the initial steps in an ongoing process of improvement, and we will provide regular reports on this process,” the authors concluded. “By improving how we review submitted research papers, our intent is to have an effect further upstream by influencing how studies are designed, conducted, analyzed, and reported so that ultimately all individuals will be represented in papers published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.”

For related information, see the Psychiatric News articles “On Structural Racism and Mental Illness” and “Article on Dismantling Racism in Psychiatry Among 2021 AJP Editor’s Picks.”

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