A commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion for BMJ and our journals
BMJ and our journals have the ability to stand up for equality, diversity, and inclusion in research, clinical practice, and scholarly communication—and the responsibility to do so
For over 200 years, academic journals have been the gatekeepers of scientific research publication, the means by which researchers receive recognition for their work and the conduit for research to inform clinical practice. The BMJ has a 170-year history that stretches back to a time when US and European men primarily dominated research and clinical practice, and there was little room for diversity.
While we may tell ourselves that “times have changed” and the world is now much more equitable, this is not what the evidence tells us. The vast majority of editors of the top-cited medical journals are straight, white, men based in Europe and the US and research conducted by women in top-cited medical journals receive fewer citations. The BMJ’s “racism in medicine” special issue highlighted the perpetuating bias in every aspect of medicine, from the discrimination faced by junior and trainee doctors, to obvious racial disparities in patient outcomes.
There is also obviously still injustice in the research to publication cycle. Journals cannot simply state that they can only publish what they receive and are therefore immune to bias and prejudice. Journals consist of curations of scholarly content and published articles are passed through editorial and peer review processes: people are involved in these processes and everyone carries their own inherent bias. BMJ now recognises the role that journals and editors play in perpetuating the cycle of injustice in research and scholarly communication and we have outlined how we are actively working to tackle racism and injustice and support equality, diversity, and inclusion in all of our BMJ journals. [Read more]