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International registry of scientific journal editorial boards to be created

Crossref, an organization founded by academic publishers two decades ago to generate digital object identifiers (DOIs) for scientific articles and documents, has proposed the creation of an international registry of journal editorial board members. The idea is to establish a list of the names and roles of scientists who help manage scientific periodicals, to make these editorial boards more transparent and to prevent misconduct in the peer-review process. There have been instances of low-reputation journals naming scientists on their editorial boards without permission, as well as reports of nepotism, favoritism, and conflicts of interest between board members (see Pesquisa FAPESP nº 311).

Under the proposal, journals would provide complete, standardized information about the members of their editorial boards, which would be linked to their professional records on the ORCID platform. It would thus be possible to track changes in board membership and monitor board diversity—complaints about a lack of female representation and the high number of researchers from the same group or region are frequent. The registry could also help scientists publicize their work on journal editorial boards. Crossref asked for feedback and suggestions from its members until the end of March and will provide more details on how the platform would work shortly after.