Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly
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Regular Issue: Original Article
How the Geographic
Diversity of Editorial Boards
Affects What Is Published
Manuel Goyanes1,2 and Marton Demeter3
This article tests whether the geographic diversity of editorial boards affects the
diversity of research papers. Based on a content analysis of 84 journals listed in the
Journal Citation Report, we show that diverse editorial boards are more likely to
publish more diverse research articles, based on the country of origin of the first
author and on where the data were collected. Our findings also indicate a negative
association between (a) the impact factor and diversity of the research approach, (b)
the journal’s affiliation to an academic association and diversity in the first author’s
country of origin and the country of data collection, and (c) the founding year of
the publication and the country of data collection. Finally, the founding year of the
publication is explored as a moderator.
editorial boards, diversity, research patterns, communication sciences, journals,
Editorial boards (EBs) are crucial agents in the governance of academic disciplines.
As gatekeepers of knowledge (Metz et al., 2016), they represent a key role in shaping
what is published and thus what informs theory development, research, and practice.
In a scientific context which is increasingly standardized and formulaic (Alvesson &
1Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain
2Democracy Research Unit, Department of Political Science, University of Salamanca, Spain
3National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary
Marton Demeter, Department of Social Communication, National University of Public Service, Budapest,
Ludovika tér 2, 1083 Hungary.
904169JMQXXX10.1177/1077699020904169Journalism & Mass Communication QuarterlyGoyanes and Demeter
2 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
Gabriel, 2013), some observers suggest that scientific journals should be open to geo-
graphical inclusion in their EBs to facilitate the publication of manuscripts having a
wide range of research approaches and perspectives (Baruch, 2001). However,
research on scientometrics demonstrates that Western regions dominate major jour-
nals in terms of both authors and EBs (Murphy & Zhu, 2012) promoting, as a result,
a shared, global consensus around well-known theories and interpretations of the
world (Braun & Dióspatonyi, 2005). The effects and potential consequences of the
composition of EBs on the articles they choose to publish constitute the focus of this
This article explores the effects of EBs’ composition and journals’ characteristics in
what communication journals publish. Based on a content analysis of 84 Journal
Citation Reports (JCR) communication journals in 2017, we explore the effects of five
factors: the geographic diversity of EBs, their impact factor (IF), the year founded,
their affiliation to an academic association, and publisher. Our results indicate a posi-
tive correlation between EB diversity and the diversity of countries of origin of first
authors and the countries of data collection. Therefore, journals with more geographi-
cally diverse EBs are more prone to publish diverse research papers, at least in terms
of the first author’s country of origin and the country of data collection. In addition,
our results indicated the key role of journals’ IF and affiliation to an academic associa-
tion in reducing the diversity of the first author’s country of origin, country of data
collection, and research approach. Finally, our findings revealed that more recently
founded journals are more sensitive to geographical inclusion in terms of data collec-
tion, playing a statistically significant role as moderators in the relationship between
EB diversity and the diversity of first author origin and research approach. This study
contributes to a growing body of scholarship on how EBs affect what is published
(Goyanes, 2019) and research inequalities between Global North/South regions in
Geographical Standardization and Diversity: Why It Is So
In a globalized world, most scholars are likely in favor of “more equal representation
and diversification of scholars and studies from around the world in publications, con-
ferences, and faculties” (Waisbord, 2019, p. 93). The same author also stresses that, in
communication studies, globalization has uneven consequences because the field con-
sists of a powerful center constituted by the United States and a few Western European
countries, whereas other parts of the world account for between 1% and 5%. Thus, it
is not only that “globalization largely follows existing inequalities in the global pro-
duction of academic knowledge” (Waisbord, 2019, p. 95), but, meanwhile, inequalities
in global knowledge production also follow world-systemic inequalities in geopoliti-
cal power relations (Demeter, 2018).
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly initiated an invited forum in
which five editors of internationally recognized communication journals clarify their
opinions on the diversity of the discipline (Ang et al., 2019). Louisa Ha, editor of
Goyanes and Demeter 3
Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, emphasized that, although geo-
graphical diversity is very important in the case of international journals, a country or
regional quota cannot be accepted because journals have to maintain research quality
(Ang et al., 2019). In the same article, Peng Hwa Ang, former president of International
Communication Association (ICA) emphasized the role of mentoring programs in
peripheral regions, whereas Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, editor of Communication
Research, added that, besides low geographical diversity, low research diversity
should also be problematized. Ignacio Aguaded, editor of Comunicar, added other
types of diversity as methodological, cultural, and topical diversities. In short, all the
interviewed editors agreed that diversity is relatively low in communication research,
but, in their opinion, it should be raised without a decline in research quality.
As Chase-Dunn (1999) argues, interconnected societal fields like economy, culture,
politics, and communication should be analyzed from a global perspective, and the
global academy is no exception. Following Wallerstein (2004), we assume that knowl-
edge production is not separate from overall world-system dynamics, but is rather an
essential part of the system’s operation. Galtung (1971) even posits that the means of
knowledge production, such as popular culture and education, serve to maintain the
hegemony of the center by spreading its values and ideologies. Moreover, academic
publishing itself benefits from the political and economic hegemony of the Anglo-
American center (Canagarajah, 2002). Accordingly, it is not surprising that the pattern
of power relations in communication studies is similar to those seen in other super-
structures of the world system, such as in communication networks, transport, indus-
try, and entertainment (Wallerstein, 1991). So, although “in an ideal scholarly world,
all voices compete in academic discourse regardless of geographic and linguistic ori-
gin” (Hanitzsch, 2019, p. 214), according to both empirical analyses and theoretical
traditions such as critical studies, decolonialization studies, and world-systems analy-
sis, global science was, and still is, a distorted field that privileges the more powerful
central agents, regardless of their scientific merits (Waisbord, 2019).
Another research tradition dealing with global inequalities in science is decolonial-
ization theory (De Santos, 2007, 2014, 2018; Kerr, 2014; Mignolo, 2011, 2018). De
Santos (2011) uses the very expressive word epistemicide when referring to how hege-
mons of global science systematically overlook and exterminate rival or alternative
research traditions, epistemologies, and peripheral knowledge. According to this tradi-
tion, the so-called globalization of knowledge is conceived as an encounter of cultures
that implies the death of the knowledge of the subordinated participant. This leads to
an epistemic monoculture (Mignolo, 2011) where the West maintains control over the
structure of knowledge. According to decolonization theorists, the global academic
community needs a cognitive justice in which plurality of knowledge is the norm, and
in which even peripheral members of the community have the right to profess different
forms of knowledge (De Santos, 2007). With reference to communication scholarship,
Ganter and Ortega (2019) stress that postcolonial studies “confront institutionalized
knowledge and aim to trigger not only a more democratic rereading of our own schol-
arly realities but also a greater diversity of perspectives in media and communication
studies” (p. 70).
4 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
As we have seen, the colonialization of epistemic, cultural, and topical issues
results in a relatively less diverse, centralized and Euro-American hegemony that cre-
ates power structures within the discipline, similar to those already in place in the
world system in general (Aman, 2016; Lee, 2015). But as Wang (2011) stresses, “the
ascendancy of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and deconstructionism has finally
brought academic attention to the periphery, minority, and subaltern. This is the time
for decentralization, de-Westernization, differentiation and pluralist thinking” (p. 2).
De Santos (2016) expressly states that the academic community should recognize that
global perceptions and knowledge go far beyond the Western understanding of the
world (p. 8). In a similar vein, Silvio Waisbord (2019), former editor of the ICA flag-
ship Journal of Communication, affirms that “broadening the geographical-intellec-
tual horizons of the field is imperative to reassess the validity of arguments, interrogate
premises and arguments, expand analytical horizons, and bring in research questions
and intellectual traditions from around the world” (p. 101). Hanitzsch (2019) also adds
that more diversity might make a discipline more resilient in the face of crises. For
example, the crisis of journalism might be only a crisis of Western journalism, not of
the field as a whole, meaning that taking more diverse journalism practices and aca-
demic perspectives into account could help the entire field to counter the crisis. Thus,
the ethical arguments in favor of a culturally and geopolitically diverse discipline
could be augmented with an evolutionary argument that more diverse disciplines are
more robust and thus more resistant to global challenges and difficulties.
As will be discussed in the following paragraphs, EBs play a crucial role in the
geopolitical representation of a journal. Ganter and Ortega’s (2019) analysis showed
that “a critical implementation of de-Westernization requires more geographically
diverse editorial boards, greater international cooperation, and comparative accounts
to capture diversity in regional contexts” (p. 68). Thus, we could assume that the level
of diversity in general—and the level of de-Westernization in particular—is repre-
sented by the geographic diversity of EBs, and that the composition of EBs also repre-
sents world-systemic power relations in terms of knowledge production and
Geographic Diversity of EBs and Its Effects on What Is
The key function of EBs is manifested by the gatekeepers of knowledge metaphor
(Metz et al., 2016), an idea that acknowledges their crucial influence in structuring
journals’ research output, and hence what informs theory development, research, and
practice (Metz & Harzing, 2012). This metaphor should be understood, however, in
the context of the extremely complex system of global academia. Scientific reputation
is very important not only for authors, but for journal editors as well. Being indexed in
Web of Science (WoS), MEDLINE, or Scopus is a great achievement for editors in
their efforts to make their journals highly cited and internationally visible, whereas it
is also crucial to keep indices like the journal impact factor (JIF) or Elsevier’s SJR
Goyanes and Demeter 5
(Scimago Journal & Country Rank) as high as possible. Canavero et al. (2014) inves-
tigated the process by which journal editors select presumably highly cited articles and
authors with a strong reputation. The authors found that most editors use two types of
bibliometric indicators: journal impact (based on citations) and academic reputation
(based on the h-index of the authors). And, as it is well demonstrated through the infa-
mous Matthew-effect (Bonitz et al., 1999) that authors from the periphery will receive
fewer citations to their papers than their central peers, the publication of peripheral
research articles runs counter to the interests of journal editors.
Another argument that supports the fact that the geographic diversity of EBs could
affect the diversity of published articles comes from empirical research (Demeter,
2018; Lauf, 2005). Lauf ascertained that, although we do not have direct evidence as
to whether the review process leads to a higher or lower geographic diversity because
of the lack of public data on it, we can still presume that there is a connection. He also
presents empirical and practical arguments: Under the former, his research clearly
showed that communication journals with more diverse EBs publish more diverse
articles in terms of the affiliations of the authors. According to his practical arguments,
Lauf said that the extremely high proportion of central (mostly American) editors and
the less than 5% of non-Western EB members lead to a situation in which peripheral
article proposals cannot be reviewed by the internal process and must be sent for an
external review, making the process both slower and costlier. This last feature is key in
communication studies, where social geographical and even human geographical dif-
ferences between different world regions can be very pronounced. It seems obvious
then that, if a journal had no EB member or advisor specializing in, for example,
Central Africa, the board would face serious challenges in selecting articles from or
about this region. Consequently, an editor might reject an article without having first
made an adequate assessment of it. Another possible reason why newer journals have
relatively more diverse EBs than established, older journals is that emerging journals
need a diverse board to be eligible for inclusion in JCR (Goyanes, 2019). It is much
harder for established journals to diversify EBs, because only scholars with prominent
reputations are invited and they are more likely to be from the Global North (Lauf,
Demeter (2018) repeated and added to Lauf’s research with all 82 WoS SSCI
(Social Sciences Citation Index)-indexed communication journals and found a strong
correlation between EB diversity and publication diversity. He even found that, when
a journal increases its EB diversity, the diversity in what is published is likely to
increase as well:
The composition of journal editorial boards proved to be a good predictor for the national
diversity of their publication output. There are significant correlations between the
diversity of editorial boards and the national diversity of publications in both negative
and positive directions. Moreover, journals that raised their national diversity in their
editorial boards from Lauf’s research to the present also raised their national diversity in
publications. Therefore, the correlation between editorial boards and publication outputs
6 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
has been proved both longitudinally and in cross-sectional statistical measures. (Demeter,
2018, pp. 2914–2915)
In accordance with the insights of both world-systems theory and decolonization stud-
ies, we assume that geopolitical hierarchies in the world system would correlate with
an uneven systemic distribution of knowledge production and dissemination (Demeter,
2018). As it might play a significant role in both the level of gatekeeping and publica-
tion output, we assume that the level of internationalization is represented in not just
the diversity of EB members, but also the diversities of authorship, data collection, and
research approach. In addition, we presume that the diversity of EB members as gate-
keepers plays a crucial role in these relationships, and therefore we hypothesize as
H1: A greater geographic diversity within an EB leads to greater diversity in (a)
first author’s country of origin, (b) country of data collection, and (c) research
We will also investigate how the central systemic position of a journal, measured in its
IF, affects its diversity indices. Journals with a high IF are at the top of the hierarchy
in academic reputation (Paulus et al., 2015), as it is often assumed that IF is associated
with the quality of the content published (Ferrer-Sapena et al., 2016). Although this
assumption is contested by many scientometric studies (Callaway, 2016), there is a
general agreement on the crucial role of the IF in supporting academic decisions in
relation to academic promotions and the allocation of funds (Siversten, 2016). To con-
tribute to top-tier journals, authors must meet exacting quality standards, a feat that
many scholars worldwide struggle to accomplish. As journals with a distinguished
reputation are often at the top on impact in a given field (Delgado & Repiso, 2013), we
presume that they might attract people and empirical evidence from different regions
of the world.
In addition, as many world regions have established scientific standards in which
the IF is the benchmark for research assessments, we assume that those journals with
a higher IF are more likely to publish diverse research papers in terms of authorship
and empirical evidence, given the demanding pressure of different geographical
domains. Similarly, as many reputed journals are at the forefront in diversity issues in
science communication and production (Dhanani & Jones, 2017) and play a key role
in persuading other journals to become more open to geographical inclusion, we
assume that this will reflect on their scientific output.
Silvio Waisbord and Claudia Mellado (2014) wrote that de-Westernization
refers to a shift in academic knowledge to broaden the analysis by considering experiences,
research findings, and theoretical frameworks developed in the rest of the world.
De-westernization is deemed necessary to enrich a field that has been historically organized
around analytical concepts, epistemologies, arguments, and evidence developed in the
United States and Western Europe. It is understood as the inclusion of subaltern
Goyanes and Demeter 7
perspectives typically ignored in Western academia that question fundamental premises of
the scientific enterprise underpinning mainstream communication research. It embodies
the need to reposition academic research and local knowledge traditionally situated in the
“margins.” It is considered necessary to shake up certainties grounded in a narrow set of
cases and analytical perspectives, and to break away from the provincialism of scholarly
research. It reflects broad impulses to decentralize academic knowledge amidst massive
shifts in the world’s politics, economics, and culture driven by globalization and the
coming of new powers and geopolitical blocs (p. 362).
When referring to the very complex concept of de-Westernization, the authors also
mean increased diversity in country of data collection, subject of study, and the body
of evidence. All these considerations mean that, among non-Western authors, non-
Western data, evidence, and subjects should be incorporated in the field of interna-
tional communication scholarship (Waisbord & Mellado, 2014), and, according to
Waisbord (2015a), the most prestigious journals should lead by setting the example.
However, this openness of top-tier journals to diversity will be challenged when it
comes to the research approach implemented. In this regard, it is well documented that
the hegemonic view for science development in communication sciences is based on
quantitative research (Freelon, 2013; Waisbord, 2019). Despite the diversity that does
exist in the field and the counterhegemonic struggle within academia, communication
research is increasingly empirically based and rooted in the positivistic paradigm, both
qualitatively, but also, and especially, quantitatively. As a consequence, many cultural,
critical, postcolonial, and theoretical views in general on communication research
development are increasingly rejected. Therefore, we assume that although top-tier
communication journals might attract more diverse authors with diverse empirical
evidence in terms of the country of data collection, they might also prefer mainstream
research approaches. As a result, we hypothesize as follows:
H2: The greater the IF, (a) the greater the diversity in first author’s country of ori-
gin, (b) the greater the diversity in country of data collection, and (c) the lesser the
diversity in research approach.
Additional considerations can be taken into account when we consider journals’ age,
that is, when they were founded. As in other cultural, political, or economic areas, the
scientific field in general—and academic journals in particular—is increasingly under
pressure in democratic societies to meet standards of diversity (Dhanani & Jones,
2017). Journals’ crucial role in the dissemination of sciences makes them a key forum
for the fostering of openness, diversity, and inclusion, thus allowing for pluralistic
visions of the world. For instance, Waisbord hastened the decentralization of the field
not only by his programmatic editorial (Waisbord, 2015a) and his article in
Communication Theory (Waisbord, 2015b; Waisbord & Mellado, 2014) but also in his
latest book (Waisbord, 2019). Following this logic, it is possible that recently founded
journals are more sympathetic to diversity issues in science as they may have been
established with clear normative expectations in line with the growing political and
8 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
societal pressures on diversity issues. Older journals might, on the contrary, be more
likely to maintain the status quo, as they were founded with traditional structures,
views, and expectations on the development of sciences. However, the research strate-
gies and specializations of some journals might favor certain topics and agendas,
regardless of when they were founded. Therefore, due to a lack of clear theoretical
prediction, we ask the following research question:
RQ1: How does the founding year of the publication affect diversity of (a) first
author’s country of origin, (b) countries of data collection, and (c) research
In addition, we want to explore whether the effects of the interaction between EB
diversity and publication founding year predict diversity in (a) the first author’s coun-
try of origin, (b) the country of data collection, and (c) research approaches. Specifically,
we are interested in testing whether EB diversity and the founding year of the publica-
tion reduce or increase the levels of our three dependent variables. It can be assumed
that both the intrinsic nature of EBs in terms of geographic diversity and the founding
year of the publication are key factors in shaping journals’ output and thus in amplify-
ing or mitigating the diversity of research in communication sciences. We thus explore
the following research question:
RQ2: How does the founding year of a publication affect the relationship between
EB diversity and diversity in (a) first author’s country of origin, (b) countries of
data collection, and (c) research approaches?
Finally, we hypothesize that prestigious academic associations might represent exist-
ing power relations in the world system of knowledge production. In other words, we
assume that, as members from central (typically American and Western European)
countries are significantly overrepresented in the most prestigious academic associa-
tions in communication studies (Waisbord, 2019), journals published by these associa-
tions prefer central authors and thus show less diversity in the first author’s country of
origin, the countries of data collection, and research approaches. Relatedly, given the
growing influence of publishing houses in the dissemination of science, we also
explore how they affect the diversity of journals’ output. Although a priori they do not
significantly interfere in editorial decisions, we aim to empirically explore which pub-
lisher is more supportive of first author, country of data collection, and research
approach diversity. Given the limited EB diversity in communication journals
(Goyanes, 2019), it is time that they take action, pressuring editors to improve the
international coverage of leading journals by including those issues, themes, and
regions which are currently marginalized (Goyanes, 2017). Therefore, we ask the fol-
lowing research questions:
H3: Journals affiliated with an academic association (ICA, AEJMC [Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication], NCA [National Communication
Goyanes and Demeter 9
Association], etc.) are less likely to show diversity in (a) first author’s country of
origin, (b) country of data collection, and (c) research approaches.
RQ3: How the journal publisher (Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, etc.) affects
diversity in (a) first author’s country of origin, (b) country of data collection, and
(c) research approach.
In accordance with the methods of the current literature (Demeter, 2018; Lauf, 2005),
we selected all communication journals (N = 84 in 2017) indexed on the SSCI list of
WoS in 2017. We chose the year 2017 for the analysis, because we started our data col-
lection in 2018, and therefore data for 2017 were the most recent available. Similarly,
we decided to take the JCR to examine our hypothesis and research questions because
it is the most influential in sciences and is usually taken as the reference in academic
promotions, scholars’ evaluations, and research funding (Alvesson et al., 2017).
Data for this study are based on a probabilistic, stratified random sample. We strati-
fied the sample by journal and number of articles published. In total, there were 84 JCR
journals in 2017, publishing 3,483 articles excluding special issues (M = 41.46;
SD = 35.36; min. = 12; max. = 247). We stratified the sample by those journals that
have published less than 40 articles per year (Njournals = 60; 71.4%; Narticles = 1,585;
45.5%; mean of the cohort = 26.41; SD = 8.24; min. = 12; max. = 40), between 40
and 80 articles (Njournals = 17; 20.2%; Narticles = 964; 27.7%; mean of the cohort = 56.7;
SD = 12.8; min. = 41; max. = 77), between 80 and 120 (Njournals = 5; 6%; Narticles =
509; 14.6%; mean of the cohort = 101.8; SD = 11.3; min. = 88; max. = 117) and 120
to the maximum number of publications (Njournals = 2; 2.4%; Narticles = 425; 12.2%;
mean of the cohort = 212.5; SD = 48.7; min. =178; max. = 247).
To make the sample more proportional, we conducted a uniform content analysis of
30% of the published articles in the four cohorts by journal. This means that, if a jour-
nal published 36 articles in 2017, it belonged to the first cohort and 11 papers were
content analyzed (30% of 36). Similarly, if a journal published 145 articles, it fell into
the fourth cohort and 43 articles were content analyzed (30% of 145). Our sampling
was probabilistic and stratified by journals and published papers at 30% (and not pro-
portionally representative), because many journals publish less than 40 papers per
year, making this proportion below three articles, which prevented us from calculating
diversity indices. On the other hand, we selected 30% of the total publications by jour-
nal because it was a sufficient proportion to have a sound sample and calculate the
indices. In total, 1,056 articles from 84 periodicals were content analyzed.
To test our hypothesis and answer the research questions, the EBs and research articles
were reviewed by the second author. For intercoder reliability, the first author
10 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
independently coded a random selection of 20% of cases of both EBs and research
approaches. The Cohen kappa intercoder agreement coefficient (Cohen, 1960), which
adjusts for the proportion of agreements that take place, was evaluated using the guide-
lines outlined by Landis and Koch (1977), where the strength of the kappa coefficient is
as follows: 0.01 to 0.20—slight; 0.21 to 0.40—fair; 0.41 to 0.60—moderate; 0.61 to
0.80—substantial; 0.81 to 1.00—almost perfect. The analysis provided an interrater
agreement of 98% and a kappa coefficient of 0.93 for EBs, and an interrater agreement
of 93% and a kappa coefficient of 0.93 for research approaches. Therefore, the inter-
coder agreement coefficient was almost perfect for EBs and substantial for research
approaches (the description of these variables can be found in the following codebook).
Independent and Dependent Variables (Codebook)
This study’s main objective was to explore the fundamental factors that explain jour-
nals’ research output related to EB composition and journal characteristics. Specifically,
we explored how the EBs’ geographic diversity, the IF, the founding year of the publi-
cation, the journal’s affiliation to an academic association, and its publisher affected
journals’ research diversity, specifically in terms of first author’s country of origin,
country of data collection, and research approach. Thus, our model includes three dif-
ferent research diversity measures as dependent variables, six variables of interest as
independent variables, and one moderation effect between the IF and founding year of
the publication. Accordingly, the article includes a series of measures of these vari-
ables, as well as some standardized characteristics of EBs as controls.
General identification of the unit of analysis for EBs and research articles. This initial sec-
tion consists of data relating to the number of the unit of analysis, name of the EB
members including editor-in-chief, editors, associate editors, and international EBs (N
= 5,428), title of the research article (N = 1,056), journal in which the article was
published (N = 84), and date on which the coding was made.
IF. Journals’ IF was taken from the JCR ranking in the category of “Communication”
in 2017 (M = 1.45; SD = 0.84; max. = 4; min. = 0.25).
Founding year of the publication. This variable was measured by consulting the first
year in which the journal was published. If a journal had changed its name during its
evolution, we take the first year of publication of the original journal as reference
(M = 1985; SD = 19.78; max. = 2013; min. = 1915).
Journal affiliation to a Western academic association. Journal affiliation was coded as 1
= yes, 0 = no and includes, among others, affiliations such as the ICA, AEJMC, and
Journal publisher. This variable was coded with five categorical values representing all
the possible publishers of JCR communication journals: 1 = Wiley (n = 6), 2 = Sage
Goyanes and Demeter 11
(n = 26), 3 = Elsevier (n = 4), 4 = Independent (n = 16) (i.e., International Journal
of Communication), 5 = Taylor & Francis (n = 32).
Nationality of EB members. This section analyzes the geographical origin of EBs. The
nationality of EBs was coded according to the country in which EB members have
their current academic affiliation, following previous studies on EBs’ diversity (Deme-
ter, 2018; Goyanes, 2019). Taking the current academic affiliation to get evidence
about the nationality of EBs has obvious limitations. For instance, an American scholar
who works at a Singaporean university would count as an Asian, despite the fact that
he or she might have a greater connection to U.S. academia. Nevertheless, in the
majority of the cases, the two countries are aligned.
The geographical categories were as follows: 1 = United States, 2 = United
Kingdom, 3 = Western Europe, 4 = Canada, 5 = Developed Asia (including Japan,
Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong), 6 = Australia and New Zealand, 7 =
Middle East, 8 = Africa, 9 = South America, 10 = Eastern Europe, 11 = Undeveloped
Asia (all Asian countries not listed under Developed Asia), and 12 = Israel. As out-
lined, we combine continent level, country level, and geographical level to present the
data in a coherent and concise manner, following previous studies (Goyanes, 2019).
For instance, we consider the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and
Israel as independent values at country level because they are some of the most impor-
tant countries in terms of total EB members. By contrast, we consider Africa as a
conglomerate of nationalities at a continent level because its contribution to the total
number of EB members is limited. Finally, we consider Western Europe, Developed
Asia, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe, and Undeveloped Asia at geo-
graphical level to make geographical distinctions between and within continents based
on their cultural and economic roots.
Diversity of first author country of origin. This section analyzes the geographical origin
of the first author of the article. The coding and rationale for their geographical clas-
sification were the same as those in EBs’ nationality.
Country of data collection. This section analyzes the geographical domain in which
authors collected their data. The coding was the same as that in EBs’ nationality with
another category (13) for international or regionally comparative data analysis.
Research approach. This section analyzes the research approach employed, coded as 1
= quantitative, 2 = qualitative, 3 = mixed methods, and 4 = theoretical. Critical/
cultural studies were considered qualitative or theoretical depending on whether the
article was empirically based (qualitative) or not (theoretical). Articles that combined
both quantitative and qualitative techniques were considered to be mixed-methods
studies. The nature of this variable was based on journals’ voluntary or discretional
strategies, which prevented us from opening normative discussions in relation to
diversity issues. In this regard, some journals (e.g., Communication Theory) are
devoted to theoretical essays rather than data-based research, and some outlets favor
12 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
particular methodological orientations, regardless of their EB. Moreover, some might
even argue that it is better to have specialized outlets rather than all-inclusive ones.
The priorities and orientations of journals are based on the strategies of their editors
and readers. Therefore, although this variable is particularly relevant in calibrating the
level of research standardization in communication sciences, the domination of certain
research orientations is voluntary. However, in the majority of cases, journals present
a fair research diversity when it comes to methodological approaches.
To control for potential confounds, our statistical models also included a variety of
variables that may explain relationships between the variables of interest. Specifically,
we included four controls: number of articles published (M = 41.46; SD = 35.36; max.
= 247; min. = 12), number of EB members (M = 63.30; SD = 31.77; max. = 171;
min. = 8), editor gender (female = 27 or 35.1%; male = 50 or 64.9%), and editor
origin (United States = 45 or 55.6%; Rest of the world = 36 or 44.4%). Making the
categorization for American/Rest of the world editor origin is in consonance with the
discourse of the Americanization of the field (Waisbord, 2015a, 2015b, 2019;
Waisbord & Mellado, 2014), or, as other authors call it, the “internalization through
Americanization” discourse (Wiedemann & Meyen, 2016).
EB diversity index. As outlined previously, we first collected data on all the EB mem-
bers (N = 5,428) of the JCR journals and categorized them by region of their current
affiliations. Based on these data, we calculated Simpson’s reciprocal index of diversity
for each journal (Hill, 1973). Diversity was calculated by the geographical locations of
the individual EB members of a given journal. The range of this variable is between 1
and 0, where numbers closer to 1 signify greater international diversity in EBs, and
values closer to 0 indicate less (M = 0.53; SD = 0.25). The calculation deals with the
total number of elements in a given category (n) and with the total numbers of all ele-
ments (N), so the diversity index measures the distribution of the elements from pro-
portional distribution (values closer to 1) to disproportional distribution (values closer
Research papers’ diversity indices. To measure the diversity of research articles, we
developed three indices (i.e., dependent variables). Our first variable measured the
geographic diversity of the first author’s affiliation. We coded the selected articles
using the same categories as for EB diversity, and we used Simpson’s reciprocal index
of diversity as a model throughout (M = 0.61; SD = 0.24). Our second variable mea-
sured research papers’ country of data collection. We used the same categories as for
Goyanes and Demeter 13
EB diversity and first author affiliation, with another category for international or
regional comparative data fields. Again, the country of data collection diversity was
calculated based on the model of Simpson’s reciprocal index of diversity (M = 0.66;
SD = 0.23). Our third variable measured articles’ research diversity in terms of the
research approach. This variable was also developed on the model of Simpson’s recip-
rocal index of diversity (M = 0.45; SD = 0.26).
To test our hypotheses and research questions, we conducted a hierarchical ordinary
least squares (OLS) regression analysis, with three different dependent variables: the
first author’s country of origin, the country of data collection, and the research
approach. The independent variables were introduced in three different blocks. The
first block of variables comprised the set of controls (number of articles published,
number of EB members, editor gender, and editor origin), the second comprised our
variables of interest: founding year of the publication, IF, journal affiliation, and pub-
lisher, and in the third block we introduced the moderation effects (EB diversity × and
founding year of the publication) using the PROCESS macro in SPSS (Model 1).
The collected data showed enormous differences between the different levels of diver-
sity of individual periodicals (see Supplemental Appendix for the complete data set).
We will begin by presenting some descriptive statistics (Table 1) on the contributions
of different world regions in their numbers of EB members, first author’s country of
origin, and country of data collection (Figure 1).
Although the dominance of the United States and Western Europe is significant in
all our measured dimensions, we also noted important differences. The United States
clearly has the most powerful position as gatekeeper of ideas, because it has much
more EB members than all other world regions taken together, and its participation in
EB members is even stronger than its participation in data or author contribution. The
exact opposite is true of developing world regions like Africa, Eastern Europe, devel-
oping Asia, the Middle East, or South America, where their contributions as data pro-
viders are much stronger than their participation as idea brokers, as illustrated by their
number of EB members. The third type of contribution is represented by Western
Europe, where author participation is the strongest form of contribution, followed by
a still extensive contribution in terms of the data field and a lesser but still significant
contribution in EB members.
H1 predicted that a greater geographic diversity within an EB leads to greater diver-
sity in (a) first author’s country of origin, (b) country of data collection, and (c)
research approach. The regression analysis revealed a statistically significant and posi-
tive association between EB diversity and diversity of first author’s country of origin
(β = 0.609; p < .01) and country of data collection (β = 0.471; p < .01). However, as
reflected in Table 4, the association between EB diversity and research approach was
Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Zero-Order Correlations.
EB number 63.30 31.77 — .234* −.236* −.119 .371** −.070 .061 −.133
41.46 35.36 — −.006 .170 .173 .113 .118 .151
EB diversity 0.53 0.25 — .426** .076 .628** .397** .172
1985 1978 — −.103 .413** .155 .147
Impact factor 1.45 0.84 — .081 .122 −.197
First author origin 0.61 0.24 — .647** .060
Country of data
0.66 0.23 — .142
0.45 0.26 —
Note. EB = editorial board.
*p < .05. **p < .01.
Goyanes and Demeter 15
not statistically significant. Therefore, more diverse EBs are more prone to publish
research articles that are diverse in terms of first author’s country of origin and country
of data collection. Hence, H1a and H1b were fully supported, where H1c was not
H2 predicted that the greater the IF, (a) the greater the diversity in first author’s
country of origin, (b) the greater the diversity in country of data collection, and (c) the
lesser the diversity in research approach. The regression analysis revealed a statisti-
cally significant and negative association between the IF and the research approach
diversity. Therefore, the higher the IF, the lower the research approach diversity
(β = −0.199; p < .05). As reflected in Tables 2 and 3, the regression did not show a
statistically significant association between IF and both first author’s country of ori-
gin and the country of data collection. Hence, H2a and H2b were not supported,
whereas H2c was supported.
RQ1 asked how the founding year of the publication affects diversity in (a) the
first author’s country of origin, (b) the country of data collection, and (c) the research
approach. The regression analysis shows a negative association between the found-
ing year of the publication and country of data collection diversity. Therefore, more
recently founded journals are more likely to publish diverse research articles, at least
in terms of the country of data collection (β = −0.195; p < .05). However, there was
no statistically significant association between the founding year of the publication
and either the diversity of first author’s country of origin or the research approach.
Data Authors EBMs
Figure 1. Contributions of different world regions to the global academy in communication
and media studies in terms of EB members, author, and data of origin participation.
Note. The “Australia” category also includes EB members from New Zealand. EB = editorial board;
EBMs = editorial board members.
16 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
RQ2 asked how the founding year of a publication affects the relationship between
EB diversity and diversity in (a) first author’s country of origin, (b) countries of data
collection, and (c) research approaches. The interaction terms of the regression anal-
ysis show that the founding year of the publication negatively affects the relation-
ship between EB diversity and first author diversity (β = −0.009; p < .01). However,
as demonstrated in Table 4, the founding year of the publication positively affects
the relationship between EB diversity and the country of data collection (β = 0.007;
p < .05). Figure 2 graphically plots the interaction terms between EB diversity and
founding year of the publication. We can observe that, when EB diversity is low,
recently founded journals are more prone to publish diverse research articles in
terms of the first author’s country of origin. However, when EB diversity is high, an
older journal is more likely to publish diverse research articles in terms of the diver-
sity of the first author’s country of origin. On the other hand, in Figure 3, we plot the
interaction terms between EB diversity and research approach. In this case, we
observe a cleaved transverse moderation: When EB diversity is low, older journals
are more prone to research approach diversity (negatively), but when EB diversity is
high, recently founded journals are more likely to research approach diversity
Table 2. Regression Analysis Predicting the First Author’s Country of Origin.
β main effects Moderation effect
Block 1: Controls
Number of articles 0.142 0.000
Number of EBs −0.036 0.000
Editor gender 0.059 0.006
Editor nationality −0.228* 0.044
Block 2: Variables of interest
EB diversity 0.609** 0.553**
Publication founding year 0.031 0.000
Impact factor −0.048 0.000
Journal affiliation −0.365** −0.130**
PublisherWiley 0.252* 0.050
PublisherNone 0.065 0.005
PublisherTaylor & Francis −0.035 0.003
PublisherElsevier −0.045 0.001
ΔR2 (%) .528 —
Block 3: Moderation effect
EB diversity × Founding year — −0.009**
Note. Cell entries are final-entry OLS standardized coefficients. EB = editorial board; OLS = ordinary
*p < .05. **p < .01.
Goyanes and Demeter 17
H3 predicted that journals affiliated with an academic association (ICA, AEJMC,
NCA, etc.) are less likely to show diversity in (a) first author’s country of origin, (b)
country of data collection, and (c) research approaches. The regression analysis
revealed a statistically significant and negative association between journal affiliation
and the diversity of first author’s country of origin (β = −0.365; p < .01), and country
of data collection (β = −0.479; p < .01). However, the association between journal
affiliation and research approach diversity was not statistically significant. Therefore,
H3a and H3b were supported, whereas H3c was not supported. Finally, RQ3 asked
how the journal publisher (Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Elsevier, etc.) affects diversity in
(a) first author’s country of origin, (b) country of data collection, and (c) research
approach. The regression analysis shows that, taking Sage as the baseline in the analy-
sis, journals published by Wiley are more likely to publish research articles with a
greater diversity in first author’s country of origin (β = 0.252; p < .05) and country of
data collection (β = 0.193; p < .05). However, for the research approach diversity, the
regression did not show a statistically significant association.
Table 3. Regression Analysis Predicting Country of Data Collection.
β main effects Moderation effect
Block 1: Controls
Number of articles 0.107 0.000
Number of EBs 0.052 0.001*
Editor gender 0.054 0.037
Editor nationality −0.085 0.065
Block 2: Variables of interest
EB diversity 0.471** 0.392**
Publication founding year −0.195* −0.001
Impact factor −0.083 0.001
Journal affiliation −0.479** −0.007
PublisherWiley 0.193* 0.002
PublisherNone 0.085 0.001
PublisherTaylor & Francis 0.078 0.001
PublisherElsevier −0.087 0.001
Block 3: Moderation effect
EB diversity × Founding year — −0.000
Note. Cell entries are final-entry OLS standardized coefficients. EB = editorial board; OLS = ordinary
*p < .05. **p < .01.
18 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
EBs are crucial bodies in the governance, management, and promotion of scientific
journals (Rosenstreich & Wooliscroft, 2006). As “gatekeepers of knowledge” (Metz
et al., 2016), they perform a key role in leading academic fields and have a strong
influence on what is published and thus what informs communication research and
teaching. This article contributes to the limited, but fundamental research in this area
by examining how the geographic diversity of EBs affects research papers’ diversity
in terms of first author’s country of origin, country of data collection, and research
approach. Our results offer six interrelated contributions to this line of inquiry at two
different levels of analysis: descriptive and theoretical.
First, at a descriptive level, we found that the central core of the world system of
knowledge production (especially the United States and Western Europe) significantly
dominates EBs, which might suggest that their expectations, agendas, and perspec-
tives are crucial to shaping communication theory, research, and teaching. Therefore,
the role of EBs as gatekeepers of knowledge is fundamentally rooted in central Western
understandings of science, shaping the content and morphology of leading communi-
cation journals. If the Global North rules most EBs in communication sciences, the
Table 4. Regression Analysis Predicting Research Approach.
β main effects Moderation effect
Block 1: Controls
Number of articles 0.207* 0.001*
Number of EBs −0.150 −0.001
Editor gender −0.020 0.006
Editor nationality −0.209* −0.104
Block 2: Variables of interest
EB diversity −0.006 −0.020
Publication founding year 0.015 0.000
Impact factor −0.199* −0.007
Journal affiliation 0.044 0.000
PublisherWiley −0.156 −0.001
PublisherNone 0.091 0.000
PublisherTaylor & Francis −0.152 −0.004
PublisherElsevier 0.076 0.000
Block 3: Moderation effect
EB diversity × Founding year — 0.007*
Note. Cell entries are final-entry OLS standardized coefficients. EB = editorial board; OLS = ordinary
*p < .05.
Goyanes and Demeter 19
opposite could be said for the Global South, which represents a tiny fraction of the
composition of EBs, first author’s country of origin, and the country of data collection.
In this regard, our results clearly demonstrate that peripheral Global South regions are
almost invisible, suggesting that their power to challenge or modify existing theories
and research approaches in communication is currently very limited.
Second, our results first empirically demonstrate that, in terms of the business case
for diversity (Robinson & Dechant, 1997), EB geographic plurality matters, at least in
promoting journals’ research output. Therefore, journals with EBs composed of mem-
bers from a variety of regions are more likely to publish diverse research papers in
terms of first author’s country of origin and the country of data collection, but not in
terms of the research approach. Despite the fact that our results partially confirmed our
general theoretical assumption, our descriptive results did show marked differences
between Global North and South, suggesting that the evolution of top-tier communica-
tion journals is at different stages and progressing at different speeds. To this regard,
as previous studies on different fields of sciences have demonstrated (Burgess &
Shaw, 2010; Willet, 2013), EBs and the production force in communication sciences
are still ruled by a handful of Western regions (Goyanes, 2019).
Figure 2. The interaction term of founding year of the publication on the relationship
between editorial board diversity and first author’s country of origin diversity.
20 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
It is interesting, however, that EB diversity correlates with authorship and country
of data diversity, but not with research approach diversity. Therefore, it can be assumed
that a more diverse EB would not result in a more diverse discipline in terms of
research approaches. Still, it can be argued that a more developed geographical diver-
sity is crucial for at least two reasons. First, a more diverse pool of authors and a more
diverse EB serve the aims of de-Westernization (Waisbord, 2019); thus, increasing
research approach diversity is very important, but not the only goal of de-Westerniza-
tion. Second, we can also hypothesize that, at this stage of decentralization, more
peripheral scholars are trying to use mainstream Western approaches to be published
in established periodicals. Thus, a more significant de-Westernization of research
approaches will be a later result of other fields of decentralization such as the de-
Westernization of EB, country of data, and authorship. This assumption is reinforced
by a recent paper stating that peripheral regions are more likely to either submit papers
without the appropriate theoretical framework or using mainstream Western theories
(Ang et al., 2019). In addition, peripheral authors, most typically, try to use Western
theories on peripheral communities as well. Thus, we might suppose that research
Figure 3. The interaction term of founding year of the publication on the relationship
between editorial board diversity and research approach diversity.
Goyanes and Demeter 21
approach diversity needs significantly more time to develop than other types of diver-
sity such as EB diversity or the diversity of authorship.
Third, we predicted (H2) a positive association between IF and (a) first author’s
country of origin diversity, (b) country of data collection diversity, and (c) a negative
association with approach diversity. Our results indicated that only the third relation-
ship, that is, H2c, was statically significant, partially supporting our predictions.
Therefore, journals with a higher IF are more oriented toward specific research
approaches, both quantitative and qualitative, and neglect as a consequence many
other cultural, critical, postcolonial, and—in general—theoretical and empirical views
on communication research development (including mixed-methods research). These
findings show that, despite the privileged position of leading journals to promote
change, this transformation is not effective in research outcomes when it comes to our
third dependent variables. In this regard, our findings indicate that leading journals are
still very focused on specific research approaches, neglecting other orientations, and
generally authored by Global North scholars.
Fourth, we empirically show the key role that the founding year of the publication
plays in predicting the diversity of the country of data collection. In this particular
case, it could be said that contemporary journals are aligned with the social diversity
demands of our times and seek to offer equal opportunities across different geographic
groups (Dhanani & Jones, 2017), thus encouraging intellectual openness and innova-
tive thinking (Parker, 2007). Specifically, recently founded journals are more likely to
publish diverse research papers in terms of the country of data collection. However,
the relationship is not statistically significant for both the first author’s country of
origin and the research approach. This misalignment or gap between old journals and
the country of data collection diversity might be explained by the hierarchical and
traditional structures that govern their scientific strategies and research decisions, in
which change processes might require time and, especially, good reasons (such as
those which we are offering) to implement such transformations.
Fifth, when journals were founded mattered when explaining the relationship
between EB diversity and the diversity of both first author’s country of origin and
research approaches. On one hand, the more diverse the EB, the greater the diversity
in first author’s country of origin. However, the effect is more pronounced in older
journals. Older journals benefit the most from increased EB diversity, at least when
explaining first author’s country of origin diversity. This may be because such older
journals have adapted their editorial policies in recent times to include more geo-
graphically open boards, which in turn significantly (and positively) affects their
research output in terms of first author’s country of origin.
On the other hand, we also show how journals’ year of foundation acts as a
cleaved transverse moderator (Holbert & Park, 2019). In this sense, the relationship
between EBs’ diversity and research approach diversity is positive in recently
founded journals but negative in older ones. The reason for this counterintuitive
finding, particularly when it comes to older journals, may be that, although many EB
members of older periodicals come from different geographical areas, they may
share a common approach to research practice, influencing the journal research
22 Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 00(0)
output. This may be due to interlocking editorship (the same scholars appointed to
multiple EBs) and the practice in older journals of establishing a traditional invisible
college made up of geographically diverse members but holding a common approach
to science development.
Sixth, journals published on behalf of an academic association (most of them
United States based) are less willing to consider both non-U.S. first authors and coun-
tries of data collection outside the United States, suggesting that their national expec-
tations and research priorities govern the research output of such journals, whereas
only one publisher (Wiley), compared with Sage, is more likely to include diverse data
collection. This last finding might be due to two fundamental reasons: (a) the topics,
approaches, and issues covered by Wiley journals (pooled sample), or (b) simply
because this publishing house, with respect to Sage, is taking action, pressuring editors
to turn communication studies in a more diverse, pluralistic area. We should mention
that, compared with the other publishing houses, Wiley publishes a relatively limited
number of journals which makes the comparison dubious. However, it is more likely
that a limited number of journals would go together with less diversity, but this is not
the case with Wiley. Thus, the more plausible explanation could be that Wiley strategi-
cally endorses diversity in its communication journals, or, in other words, it is more
likely that Wiley’s journals will have higher diversity indices than others.
In conclusion, the central theoretical implications emanating from the observations
made in this article include (a) the key role of EBs in shaping journals’ research output
and (b) the need for promoting diversity and stimulating openness and plurality in EBs
to trigger a correspondingly pluralistic orientation toward science.
Limitations and Future Studies
Several limitations of this analysis are noteworthy. First, we use the JCR list to mea-
sure the effects of EB diversity on journals’ research output. Despite the fact that this
index is the most influential in the assessment of both universities’ and scholars’
records of publications (Alvesson & Gabriel, 2013), other rankings (such as the Scopus
SJR) might be more inclusive. This is probably one reason why the analysis reveals
such a strong dominance of Western scholars. The JCR is frequently criticized for its
perceived bias in favor of the English language, trending (Western) topics, and quan-
titative approaches (Delgado & Repiso, 2013), as the JCR is frequently used as aca-
demic currency in the Western world (Bauder et al., 2017). Therefore, future studies
might replicate this research based on other more diverse rankings, taking other inter-
national journals into account.
Second, the academic affiliations of EB members are considered to be an indication
of their countries of residence. Therefore, this article takes their place of work to be
their nationality. However, there are many scholars with a very international back-
ground, meaning that their country of origin might not be aligned with their country of
Third, EB’s gatekeeping role is only valid when board members are heavily
involved in the review process, and not in the case of nominal EBs where board
Goyanes and Demeter 23
members are not actively involved in reviewing. However, even in these cases, EB
diversity can also encourage diverse submissions.
Fourth, we decided to code only the origin of the first author and we only coded the
variable “country of data collection” for single-nation studies, whereas all the com-
parative studies were assigned to a single category called “multinational.” This mea-
surement may challenge the increasing relevance of multiple authorship as well as
collaborative and comparative research. However, first, author order is considered to
be an important factor when assessing academic reputation in general and publication
output in particular (Du Jian, 2013). It has also been found that the level of participa-
tion is highest for first authors (Baerlocher et al., 2007). Thus, first authors have the
most significant roles when analyzing research diversity. Notwithstanding, coding the
geographical positions of all the contributing authors and coding each country for
comparative studies would have made the analysis more complex. Future studies
could also code multiple authorships. Second, regarding the country of data collection,
we used the category “multinational” which referred to research papers dealing with
more than one geographical location. This allowed us to include comparative studies,
but future studies might extend the research by analyzing the geographic diversity of
multinational research papers as well.
Finally, data for this study are correlational, precluding us to identify with certainty
a causal relation between EB diversity and research output. More robust causal claims
would be warranted by experimental data and more work is needed to draw causal
inferences with greater confidence. Thus, the relationships theorized in this article
should be interpreted with caution. However, extant research has shown the crucial
role of EBs in determining what is published (Metz et al., 2016), and therefore a poten-
tial causal association is presumable.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of
Marton Demeter https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9888-9682
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Marton Demeter is an associate professor at the National University of Public Service,
Budapest. His research foci are global academic inequalities, the analysis of transnational
knowledge production and the analysis of the uneven accumulation of global symbolic and
Manuel Goyanes, PhD, teaches at Carlos III University in Madrid and his main interests are in
media management and sociology of communication sciences. He is the author of Desafío a la
Investigación Estándar en Comunicación. Crítica y Alternativas, Editorial UOC. His work has
appeared in journals such as Information, Communication & Society, Journalism, Journalism