Published on in Vol 7 (2024)

Preprints (earlier versions) of this paper are available at, first published .
Gender Parity Analysis of the Editorial Boards of Influential Dermatology Journals: Cross-Sectional Study

Gender Parity Analysis of the Editorial Boards of Influential Dermatology Journals: Cross-Sectional Study

Gender Parity Analysis of the Editorial Boards of Influential Dermatology Journals: Cross-Sectional Study

Research Letter

1Department of Dermatology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, MN, United States

2Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, United States

3Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, United States

4Department of Dermatology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, United States

5Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, Downers Grove, IL, United States

6Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Flint, MI, United States

7Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA, United States

8College of Osteopathic Medicine, Rocky Vista University, Parker, CO, United States

9Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Bradenton, FL, United States

10Department of Dermatology, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, United States

Corresponding Author:

Robert P Dellavalle, MSPH, MD, PhD

Department of Dermatology

University of Minnesota Medical School

1-411 Phillips-Wangensteen Building

516 Delaware St SE, MMC 98

Minneapolis, MN, 55455

United States

Phone: 1 612 625 8625


Women continue to be underrepresented in academic leadership positions, especially in dermatology [1]. Although women account for more than half of all board-certified dermatologists in the United States, academic dermatology leadership roles, such as department chair and fellowship director positions, remain disproportionately occupied by men [2]. This inequity extends to medical journals, with substantial gender gaps reported in editorial board composition across multiple specialties; previously published data from 2018 suggested that women accounted for the minority of dermatology editors in all positions [1]. To provide an evaluation of current trends, the composition of dermatology editorial boards by gender was assessed in 2021, making comparisons among highly indexed dermatology journals.

The top 20 most impactful dermatology journals by the 2020 h-index were identified on Scimago [3]. Journal editorial board websites were searched in November 2021 for lists of editor names and roles, and journal-defined editorial board members were identified and tabulated. Binary (women vs men) gender estimation by author first name was performed with Gender API [4], a popular gender inference service based on querying large multifactorial databases and name repositories. Estimations were corroborated by web-based searches of professional photographs and biographies by 2 independent researchers, with in-depth discussion and consensus meetings to resolve discrepancies.

Editorial board membership averaged 37% (SD 12%) women, with a median of 33% (IQR 18%) women across the journals analyzed (Figure 1 and Table 1). The Journal of Dermatological Science (11/73, 15%) and Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (14/64, 22%) had the lowest proportions of women editors, whereas Contact Dermatitis (21/36, 58%), Sexually Transmitted Infections (44/82, 54%), and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (49/93, 53%) had among the highest. The editorial board of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Dermatology was observed to be 56% (15/27) women after excluding International Advisory Committee members. Of the 20 journals, only 5 (25%) had women editors-in-chief.

Figure 1. Numbers of men and women on editorial boards for the top 20 dermatology journals by h-index. Percentages of women editorial board members are indicated.
Table 1. Women editorial board members and editors-in-chief for the top 20 dermatology journals by the 2020 h-index.
Dermatology journalh-index rankh-index in 2020Editorial board members, NWomen, n (%)Woman editor-in-chief
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology120820979 (38)No
Journal of Investigative Dermatology22015121 (41)No
British Journal of Dermatology317913363 (47)No
JAMAa Dermatologyb41662715 (56)Yes
Dermatologic Surgery512512238 (31)No
Lasers in Surgery and Medicine6112246 (25)No
Wound Repair and Regeneration71096126 (43)No
Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology81076414 (22)No
Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research91055820 (34)No
Sexually Transmitted Diseases101059349 (53)No
Sexually Transmitted Infections11988244 (54)Yes
Contact Dermatitis12963621 (58)Yes
Experimental Dermatology139614344 (31)No
International Journal of Dermatology14936521 (32)Yes
Journal of Dermatological Science15937311 (15)No
Dermatology16923410 (29)No
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology17894010 (25)Yes
Clinics in Dermatology18884511 (24)No
Acta Dermato-Venereologica19832813 (46)No
Archives of Dermatological Research20806621 (32)No
All journals

Totalc1454537 (37)5/20 (25)d

Mean (SD)73 (47)37 (12)

Median (IQR)63 (46)33 (18)

aJAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association.

bJAMA Dermatology’s editorial board was observed to be 36% (19/53) women when including International Advisory Committee Members.

cNot applicable.

dReported as n/N (%).

Our findings suggest that an underrepresentation of women on dermatology editorial boards concerningly persists across multiple top journals, recapitulating earlier findings by Lobl and colleagues [1] while highlighting potential ongoing challenges in addressing gender disparities within editorial boards. However, limitations of our study include reliance on high-throughput software examining first names only and estimating binary gender, which may lead to misclassification and lacks acknowledgment of individuals identifying as nonbinary or transgender. Indeed, it has been recognized that Gender API may not be accurate when performing estimations on first names considered to be gender neutral [4]. Future work analyzing self-reported sex and gender identity to ensure true concordance with the individual’s identity is needed.

Abating the gender gap among editorial boards may improve the editorial review process and the diversity of perspectives offered, along with expanding the use of inclusive language and encouraging diverse author representation. Editors-in-chief and academic journal leadership should evaluate board member recruitment with the goal of gender parity, where having 50% women on editorial boards could more accurately represent the dermatology workforce [1]. Furthermore, those serving in senior editor positions may wield considerable influence over the journal and editorial procedures, emphasizing the need for a careful and nuanced approach to fostering overall inclusivity. Subsequent analysis by editor roles, credentials, backgrounds, and experience across different journals may assist with driving meaningful change. As part of JMIR Dermatology’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the publication and peer-review process, a recent editorial uncovered additional areas for improvement in DEI [5]. Very few dermatology journals explicitly include statements about DEI, have DEI-dedicated editorial board members, or present any information about how the peer-review process ensures DEI. Clear commitments and mission statements from journals could assist with formalizing processes and bolstering transparency. JMIR Dermatology has now invited >50% women dermatologists to its editorial board [6]. If the journal’s goals are not ultimately reached, conducting investigations into the reasons underlying lower acceptances among applications from women will be important [6]. Given current data trends, proactive strategies such as these are urgently needed to recruit, promote, and retain women dermatologists in academic settings. Regular monitoring and assessment can help identify foci for improvement and demand accountability. Thus, intentional work to establish expanded frameworks, criteria, and recommending actionable strategies across journals will be a crucial component of broadening DEI and presents a worthwhile goal for further research.


This work was presented at the Ninth International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication in Chicago, Illinois, on September 9, 2022.

Conflicts of Interest

RPD is a joint coordinating editor for Cochrane Skin, a dermatology section editor for UpToDate, a social media editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD), a podcast editor for the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID), the editor-in-chief of the JMIR Dermatology, and a coordinating editor representative on the Cochrane Council. DMS is a social media editor for JMIR Dermatology. RPD receives editorial stipends (JAAD and JID), royalties (UpToDate), and expense reimbursement (Cochrane Skin).

  1. Lobl M, Grinnell M, Higgins S, Yost K, Grimes P, Wysong A. Representation of women as editors in dermatology journals: a comprehensive review. Int J Womens Dermatol. Jan 2020;6(1):20-24. [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
  2. Nambudiri VE, Shi CR, Vleugels RA, Olbricht SM. Academic dermatology leadership in the United States -- addressing the gender gap. Int J Womens Dermatol. Dec 2018;4(4):236-237. [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
  3. SJR: Scimago Journal & Country Rank. URL: [accessed 2022-02-25]
  4. Gender API. URL: [accessed 2022-02-25]
  5. Kiene J, Minion S, Rodriguez R, Dellavalle R. Diversity, equity, and inclusion of dermatology journals and their editorial board members. JMIR Dermatol. Mar 10, 2023;6:e44217. [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]
  6. Minion S, Kiene J, Dellavalle R. Dermatology journals' editorial boards require improved gender equity: JMIR Dermatology's future directions. JMIR Dermatol. May 05, 2023;6:e43256. [FREE Full text] [CrossRef] [Medline]

DEI: diversity, equity, and inclusion
JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association

Edited by R Alhusayen; submitted 20.04.23; peer-reviewed by D Verran, R Rodriguez; comments to author 23.07.23; revised version received 26.04.24; accepted 09.05.24; published 21.05.24.


©Mindy D Szeto, Torunn E Sivesind, Lori S Kim, Katie A O’Connell, Kathryn A Sprague, Yvonne Nong, Daniel M Strock, Annie L Cao, Jieying Wu, Lauren M Toledo, Sophia M Wolfe, Wyatt Boothby-Shoemaker, Robert P Dellavalle. Originally published in JMIR Dermatology (, 21.05.2024.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work, first published in JMIR Dermatology, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic information, a link to the original publication on, as well as this copyright and license information must be included.