At ASHA Journals, we believe in making the publication process more equitable and inclusive for all involved, and we are continually seeking ways to improve the author, editor, and reviewer experience. With recent updates to Editorial Manager, we’re now better able to support both those aims, but we’ll need your help to make that happen. Starting next week, we will be asking you to provide some demographic data and to review and update your areas of subject matter expertise.

Why We’re Collecting Demographic Data

ASHA has long demonstrated a commitment to historically underrepresented demographic groups. We believe that one key way to further our own commitment to include diverse voices is to collect data on the gender identity, race, and ethnicity of our contributors and editorial boards. This data collection is in line with well-established broader trends throughout the publishing industry.

Disclosing this information this can help us ensure our boards and authors reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; point out areas where additional focus is needed; and help us spot important trends. Please note that the data we collect will not be used to evaluate journal submissions, and instead will be aggregated and anonymized before being analyzed and used to improve our existing policies and processes.

To move forward in this regard, we ask that anyone with an Editorial Manager account through the ASHA Journals (AJA, AJSLP, JSLHR, LSHSS, or Perspectives) answer a short survey regarding gender, race, and ethnicity. These questions let us know how you identify. You’ll have the option to select multiple responses for race and ethnicity, and to identify as nonbinary or gender diverse. There is also an option in each category if you would prefer not to disclose.

Updated Classifications Connect Reviewers to Papers

Inclusionary data isn’t the only change coming to Editorial Manager. We’ve worked with our Journals Board as well as a team of audiologists and speech-language pathologists to expand our subject matter classification system.

When uploading a manuscript into Editorial Manager, authors select 3–10 classifications from a list of topics in the sciences. Peer reviewers who have indicated matching areas of expertise on their profiles are then able to be most efficiently and effectively matched up with submissions, making the editor’s job easier and the author’s (and the reviewer’s) experience better.

Our available subject classification terms have recently been increased almost fourfold to include approximately 480 terms. These terms encompass new and wider ranging terminology in the sciences and allow users to further specify the topic of the paper and their expertise as a reviewer. Moreover, although nearly 500 terms may seem like a lot, the selection system is easy to use, with collapsible and expandable groupings throughout.

Change is Good

Since our shift to Editorial Manager in 2019, thousands of researchers have created accounts to submit, review, and handle manuscripts. If you have an account, then you should be receiving an email shortly asking you update your profile. You will be prompted to provide inclusionary data the next time you log into the system, and you can update your subject classifications at any time.

We also understand that your identity and your experience can change throughout your life, so that’s why you can make changes to your data and classifications at any time, including opting to share your inclusionary data later. In addition, keeping your subject classifications up to date as your focus areas evolve will continuously bolster the efficiency of our peer review process, with better matching of manuscripts to reviewers benefitting both you and authors.

We’re excited about these enhancements to Editorial Manager, and hope you are as well. As we roll out these important updates in the system, we hope you take advantage of this opportunity to provide these forms of additional information. By updating your profile, you’re helping us further our commitment to making ASHA Journals better for authors, editorial boards, and readers!