Editorial board interlocking across the social sciences: Modelling the geographic, gender, and institutional representation within and between six academic fields Articles uri icon

publication date

  • September 2022

start page

  • e0273552


  • 9


  • 17

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1932-6203


  • Editorial boards play a key role in the production, dissemination, and promotion of scientific knowledge. The cross-presence of scholars in different journals, known as editorial board interlocking, maps the connections between such bodies of governance. Former research on this topic is typically restricted to individual disciplines and has failed to consider the relevance of potential interlocking between related, but different academic fields. Further, although existing studies note a significant lack of diversity in editorial board representation, they mainly focus on a single dimension, such as gender or geography. This study addressed these knowledge gaps by offering a complex cross-disciplinary approach to the geographical, gender, and institutional compositions of editorial boards, with a specific emphasis on within- and between-fields editorial board interlocking. We used graph and social network analysis to examine editorial board connections between 281 top journals (13,084 members and 17,092 connections) of six disciplines: communication, psychology, political science, sociology, economics, and management. We found substantial differences in terms of field connections, ranging from sociology with 42% interlocking with other fields, to management with only 11%. Psychology is significantly less connected to the other five disciplines. The results also show a clear overrepresentation of American institutions and native English-speaking countries in all fields, with Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and New York University forming a well-connected central cluster. Although female scholars are underrepresented, there are no significant differences in terms of positioning in the network. Female scholars are even employed in more central positions than male scholars in psychology, sociology, and management. Our findings extend the literature on editorial board diversity by evidencing a significant imbalance in their gender, geographical, institutional representation, and interlocking editorship both within and between fields.


  • Information Science
  • Sociology