1. Pickler, Rita H.

Article Content

This issue of Nursing Research includes articles submitted in response to our special call for reports of successful strategies for recruitment and retention of diverse study samples, design, and analysis of variables addressing diversity and equity in research as well as research results increasing understanding about the conduct of equitable and inclusive science. Our interest in health equity is not new. The journal has, for years, had a standing call for articles of original research across the scope of health equity with topics including research implications of definitions, concepts, and measurement of health equity; cross-cultural and longitudinal validity of health equity indicators; use of toolkits and other technical resources to support community capacity building; and models for describing, guiding, and testing progress toward health equity. In addition, the standing call for health equity emphasizes our interest in research reports about interventions to effectively build community capacity to implement, evaluate, and sustain programs and policies to promote health equity; reduce persistent, population-specific health disparities using a health equity framework; design and test culturally tailored interventions for high-risk communities; and use culturally appropriate evaluation strategies for targeted interventions to establish best practices and support evidence-based approaches to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity.


Although we clearly support dissemination of research focused on improving health equity, we are also concerned about editorial equity. Equity, the policies and practices that ensure fair access and opportunities for success for everyone (Rodriguez, 2016), is a priority for scientists and publishers. As editors, we grapple with challenges to editorial equity, especially in our efforts to increase diversity among authors, reviewers, editorial board members, and readers. We recognize that some journals and publishers are ahead of us (see, e.g., Fontanarosa et al., 2021). At a recent editorial board meeting, we discussed an array of topics focused on equity in our editorial practices and we made some decisions. The first of these was to affirm our intent to continue the standing call for health equity. We are certain that publishing articles focused on health equity is paramount to our mission to promote excellence in nursing science.


A suggestion often made for increasing editorial equity is to increase the diversity of editorial boards (Pickler et al., 2020). We have a small editorial board at Nursing Research; the board's primary purpose is to provide valuable input regarding topics of interest to nursing science. Increasing board diversity along self-identified gender, race, ethnicity, and intersectionality is thus important to the board's and journal's purpose-so too is increasing the range of expertise in topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in research. Board diversification is thus a priority we are actively pursuing.


Another frequent suggestion is to increase diversity among peer reviewers. Similar to many journals, we do not ask our reviewers for any demographic information; we only ask for institutional affiliation (primarily to avoid conflicts of interest in reviews). Thus, we do not know how any of our reviewers self-identify, nor do we make any attempt to assign identification. We also do not ask authors to provide this information. A number of publishers in collaboration with electronic manuscript systems now include questions about gender, ethnicity, and race for authors to answer if they chose (Else & Perkel, 2022). For now, our editorial board has decided not to ask these questions. We could argue that this information may not always be pertinent. More importantly, we are unclear if there may be adverse outcomes for authors or reviewers if we do this; much remains unknown about the potential hazards of identification of this personal information (Massoud, 2022). We will continue to consider this matter. However, we do welcome authors to add, in the acknowledgment or within the body of their articles, statements that reflect their positionality in relationship to the work, if appropriate or desired. That is, if authors chose, they may add a statement about the social and/or political context that creates their identity and how that identity may influence and/or bias their work (Pollock, 2021). In this issue, the article by Hirschey et al. (2022) does just that, providing an excellent example for readers. It is possible we might invite authors of specific content to add a positionality statement to provide context for readers; doing so would be optional.


We also want to help those who submit articles to the journal to follow best practices for inclusivity in their writing. We were thus appreciative that those planning the upcoming Eastern Society of Nursing Research 35th Annual Scientific Session accepted our offer to conduct a session on addressing health determinants in scientific writing. In that session, we will provide a framework for inclusive writing and suggest strategies to aid writing for a diverse audience. After the March 2023 conference, we will place some of our session materials on the journal website for all authors to use. As part of this effort, we will be updating our Information for Authors following guidelines of the American Psychological Association (2021). We are particularly supportive of person-first identity-first language and the avoidance of culturally appropriative and pejorative language.


We are aware that the actions we propose are small steps toward achieving editorial equity. We are aware that much work remains to be done. At Nursing Research, we are committed to continuing this work. What is important is our primary mission and reason for existence: to disseminate scientific articles that improve care, alleviate suffering, and advance well-being. It is also, perhaps more significantly, important to our shared future as humans.




Rita H. Pickler




American Psychological Association. (2021). Inclusive language guidelines.[Context Link]


Else H., Perkel J. M. (2022). The giant plan to track diversity in research journals. Nature, 602, 566-570.[Context Link]


Fontanarosa P. B., Flanagin A., Ayanian J. Z., Bonow R. O., Bressler N. M., Christakis D., Disis M. L., Josephson S., Kibbe M. R., Ongur D., Piccirillo J. F., Redberg R. F., Rivara F. P., Shinkai K., Yancy C. W. (2021). Equity and the JAMA network. Journal of the American Medical Association, 326, 618-620.[Context Link]


Hirschey R., Getachew B., Coleman K., Lea D., Milner J., Bryant A., Carlisle V. (2022). Development of a community advisory board to guide research about cancer disparities in the Black and African American community. Nursing Research, 72,[Context Link]


Massoud M. F. (2022). The price of positionality: Assessing the benefits and burdens of self-identification in research methods. Journal of Law and Society, 49(Suppl.1), S64-S86.[Context Link]


Pickler R. H., Munro C. L., Likis F. E. (2020). Addressing racism in editorial practices. Nurse Author & Editor, 30, 38-40.[Context Link]


Pollock M. (2021 March 24). What is positionality? Engineer Inclusion.[Context Link]


Rodriguez A. J. (2016). For whom do we do equity and social justice work? Recasting the discourse about the other to effect transformative change. In Joseph N. M., Haynes C., Cobb F. (Eds.), Interrogating whiteness and relinquishing power: White faculty's commitment to racial consciousness in STEM classrooms ( ed., pp. 241-252). Peter Lang. [Context Link]