New York University Study Finds Racial Gap in Publishing in Communication Studies

A new study by scholars at New York University finds that non-White scholars continue to be significantly underrepresented in publication rates, citation rates, and editorial positions in communications and media studies. The researchers analyzed the racial composition of primary authors of both articles and citations in research journals between 1990-2016. The study looks at publication and citation rates within 12 peer-reviewed communications journals.

The findings showed that non-White scholars are underrepresented among the published first authors in communication journals, authoring only 746 out of 5,262 (14 percent) articles published from 1990 to 2016. Also, articles authored by non-White scholars are cited significantly fewer times, on average, than White authors. In examining the racial composition of current editorial boards of the journals in study, the authors found that editorial boards remain majority White.

“If we truly value research produced by faculty of color, and are serious about promoting their scholarly and professional success and advancement, we must make a conscious effort to make sure our citation practices reflect this,” said Dr. Charlton McIlwain, a co-author of the study and associate professor of media, culture, and communication at New York University.

Dr. McIlwain joined the faculty at New York University in 2003. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and holds a master’s degree in human relations and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Oklahoma.

The full study, “#CommunicationSoWhite,” was published in the Journal of Communication. It may be accessed here.


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