Editors as Gatekeepers: One Medical Education Journal's Efforts to Resist Racism in Scholarly Publishing

Tasha R. Wyatt*, Justin L. Bullock, Anabelle Andon, Erica J. Odukoya, Carlos G. Torres, Gareth Gingell, Heeyoung Han, Zareen Zaidi, Elza Mylona, Dario Torre, Anna T. Cianciolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose Journals have begun to expand the racial diversity of editors as a first step to countering institutional racism. Given the power editors hold as gatekeepers, a diverse team helps ensure that minoritized scholars have equal opportunity to contribute. In 2021, Teaching and Learning in Medicine (TLM) created an editorial internship for racially minoritized individuals. This study examines the first 6 months of this program to better understand its creation and initial successes. Method The authors employed critical collaborative autoethnography, a qualitative methodology, focusing on the underlying assumptions around power and hierarchy that are implicit in the design and implementation of the TLM internship. Participants included 13 TLM editorial board members (10 internship selection committee members, 3 mentors, 2 independent researchers), 3 external selection committee members, and 3 interns, with some holding multiple roles. Ten participants served as authors of this report. Data included archival emails, planning documents, and focus groups. The initial analysis explored what happened and how and was followed by a thematic analysis in which participants reflected on their responsibility for implementing an antiracist program. Results While the program developed interns' editorial skills, which they greatly valued, and diversified the TLM editorial board, it did not achieve the goal of fostering antiracism. Mentors focused on conducting joint peer reviews with interns, assuming that racial experiences can and should be separate from the editorial process, thus working within, rather than trying to change, the existing racist system. Conclusions Given these findings, greater structural change is needed to disrupt the existing racist system. These experiences underscore the importance of recognizing the harmful impact a race-neutral lens can have on antiracist efforts. Moving forward, TLM will implement lessons learned ahead of offering the internship again with the goal of creating the transformative change intended with the creation of the program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1412
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


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