A Comparative Analysis of Editorial Leaders' Profiles of Major and Non-Western Library and Information Science Journals

  • Oh, Dong-Geun (Department of Library and Information Science, Keimyung University) ;
  • Kim, Eungi (Department of Library and Information Science, Keimyung University) ;
  • Yeo, Jisuk (Department of Library and Information Science, Keimyung University) ;
  • Yang, Kiduk (Department of Library and Information Science, Kyungpook National University) ;
  • Lee, Jongwook (Department of Library and Information Science, Kyungpook National University)
  • Received : 2019.11.08
  • Accepted : 2019.11.28
  • Published : 2019.12.30


Due to the competitive nature of journal publishing, editorial leadership has become an increasingly important issue on many editorial teams. This study aimed to compare the major and non-Western international journals in library and information science and reveal the differences between them. To conduct this study, journals indexed by Scopus and Web of Science were analyzed in terms of gender, professional position and rank, institutions, and the iSchool status of the editorial leaders' institutions. The most notable results were the following: a) As a whole, both types of journals lacked true internationalization. Editorial leaders of major journals tended to be from Western countries, whereas editorial leaders of non-Western journals tended to be from non-Western countries; b) Most non-Western journals tended to appoint editorial leaders from the same country as the publisher's country; and c) Almost all editorial leaders of non-Western journals were from various non-Western countries and tended to have lower h-index scores, and their institutions were not part of the iSchool. Future research should assess editorial leadership, compare the results of this study to other disciplines, and find effective ways to collect data on editorial leaders while minimizing ethical concerns in order to meet future research needs.



An academic journal’s staff typically consists of an editorial team that handles various tasks associated with journal publishing. A person in charge of leading the editorial team is typically given the title “editor-in-chief” (EIC). The EIC is also referred to as chief editor or executive editor in some journals. Hereinafter, this paper refers to EICs or other key representatives of journals as editorial leaders.

An editorial leader is important because managing and utilizing the editorial team members can become a critical success factor in the modern journal publishing environment. Publishing international journals is especially difficult for non- Western journals due to the common problems that these journals encounter. These include irregularity in publication, improper execution of the review process, non-disclosure of article processing charges, a lower percentage of foreign contributors, and low citation rates (Mukherjee, 2018). Many non-Western journals have attempted to internationalize their domestic journals to increase their visibility in recent years (Seo et al., 2017; Rhee, 2019). However, transforming an existing journal into an internationally recognized journal is not an easy task (Jue, 2018).

Another major problem with many non-Western journals is that many of them publish papers in non-English languages. Hence, journal editors in non-Western countries, who may have less familiarity with international norms and standards, often face difficulties. The wide range of dilemmas that journals face include journal pricing structures, subscription cancellations, bibliographic control, prestige surveys and citation rankings, pressures on authors to publish, peer review, and modes of dissemination (Gonzalez & Galloway, 2018). Thus, due to various reasons, there is a global dominance of Western countries in library and information science (LIS) journals. Previous studies, such as Erfanmanesh, Tahira, and Abrizah (2017) and Demeter (2019) have shown that non-Western journals have not been indexed in major indexes such as Scopus. Evidently, we can assume that the major journals are able to maintain prominent journal status.

Considering all the challenges that non-Western journals are facing nowadays, it is important to have the best qualified leader for the editorial team. Many journals seek EICs with exceptional qualifications, which are expected to be fairly high in comparison to other editorial board members. As an example from the medical field, Sleep journal sought an EIC with the following credentials: a) an excellent scientific track record in sleep research with a strong record of publication; b) experience in managing or conducting research of international quality; c) an international network amongst researchers; d) good written and verbal communication skills in English; and e) a record of contributing to the review and editing of published material in the field (Sleep Research Society, n.d.). In essence, the editorial leader has the final responsibility for all operations and policies and ultimately decides whether or not a submitted manuscript will be accepted or rejected (Resnik & Elmore, 2016). In general, an editorial leader is expected to be a research leader in the field with an established network (Binfield, Rolnik, Brown, & Cole, 2008) and is therefore likely to have high visibility. This is particularly relevant in today’s increasingly competitive journal publishing environment, where promotion and raising journals’ reputations have become important concerns (Bodaghi, Sanni, & Zainab, 2015). 

Thus, the capacity of a potential editorial leader for promoting the journal needs to be taken into account in the selection of editorial leaders. It is therefore useful to examine attributes associated with editorial leaders in both major and non-Western journals. While not all attributes of editorial leaders are measurable and obtainable, one useful source for obtaining information on editorial leaders is through social media profiles. In recent years, social media has transformed the way that researchers disseminate their work and communicate with other researchers (Carrigan, 2019). Popular social media sites for researchers include ResearchGate, Google Scholar, and LinkedIn. With this in mind, this study examined editorial profiles while focusing on several related factors: professional position and rank, institutions, and universities’ iSchool status. By comparing major journals with non-Western journals, this study aimed to identify the attributes of notable editorial leaders associated with highly-regarded international journals.


Several studies have been conducted on subjects closely related to editorial leadership. First, there have been a few studies that examined the characteristics of editorial board members. These are worth mentioning since an editorial leader is a part of an editorial team. More specifically, the countries of editorial board members have also been investigated in the past. Murphy and Zhu (2012) found that editors from non-Western countries were severely under-represented in international journals published in Western countries. Oh, Kim, Yeo, Yang, and Lee (2019) reported that non-Western scholars are needed in Western published journals in order to avoid Western domination and, at the same time, Western scholars are needed in non-Western journals, as they can play important roles in non-Western journals. It has also been noted that there has been a pattern of editorial appointments held by nationals of the countries where the journals were published (Brinn & Jones, 2008). Other studies focused on editorial board members and examined the following elements: a) research records of editorial leaders in LIS (Walters, 2016); b) the composition of editorial boards related to international scientific visibility (García-Carpintero, Granadino, & Plaza, 2010); c) the editorial role in bringing a level of transparency to the journal publication process (Alzahrani, 2010); d) gender representation (Cho et al, 2014; Ioannidou & Rosania, 2015; Harris et al., 2019); and e) publication records of editorial board members (Rösing, Junges, & Haas, 2014).

Secondly, there have been empirical studies that examined the varying roles of editorial leaders. Quencer, Bruns, Perrin, and Thompson (1998) showed that 80% of editorial board members in surgical journals were selected by an editorial leader. Matarese (2008) examined a possible relationship between editorial leadership and journal quality in the biomedical field, and their research showed a positive correlation between the two.

Lastly, there have been numerous studies that investigated the benefits, characteristics, and limitations of popular social media platforms for academics. These platforms include ResearchGate (, Google Scholar (scholar., and LinkedIn ( ResearchGate provides the means to disseminate researchers’ academic works and receive feedback. Elsayed (2016) found that three quarters of respondents used social network media to share publications, and ResearchGate was the one most frequently used by Arab researchers in pure and applied sciences. Meishar-Tal and Pieterse (2017) report that 65% of Israeli academics that they investigated had a ResearchGate account. Ali, Wolski, and Richardson (2017) suggested that institutions should look into using ResearchGate since they found that university ranking tended to correlate with the researchers’ ResearchGate scores.

Google Scholar profiles can also provide effective means for disseminating scholarly works of researchers and exposing their works to others (Carrigan, 2019). Google Scholar also provides h-index scores (Hirsch, 2005) of researchers based on the Google Scholar database. Google Scholar’s h-index measures papers receiving at least h citations since the author’s paper has been indexed by Google Scholar. Zientek, Werner, Campuzano, and Nimon (2018) pointed out that Google Scholar can be used to market research works.

LinkedIn is a social media platform that can be used for professional networking and career development. Citrome (2015) described how LinkedIn can be used effectively by academics with the example of utilizing the platform to send out the latest issue of a journal. Baruffaldi, Di Maio, and Landoni (2017) found that researchers with a Ph.D. degree are more likely to use LinkedIn if they have co-authors abroad.

In general, previous related studies covered various aspects of the profiles and social media platforms that academics use. Although editorial leaders typically undertake the most important role in many journals, there is a lack of studies that focus on them specifically. In an effort to better understand the characteristics of editorial leaders, this study compares the social media profiles of editorial leaders of major LIS journals with those of editorial leaders of non-Western LIS journals.


To conduct this study, two distinct journal datasets were first created: a) 29 major LIS journals from Walters and Wilder (2015) and b) 23 non-Western LIS journals. Walter and Wilder (2015) defined 31 major LIS journals. Two journals no longer indexed by Scopus or Web of Science were excluded. These are: 1) Annual Review of Information Science & Technology and 2) Libraries & the Cultural Record. The criteria used for the journal selection was that they had to be either indexed in Scopus or Web of Science (i.e., SCI, SSCI, or E-SCI) in 2018. Non-Western journals were drawn from the LIS subject category from Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR, for Scopus) and the subject category available in the Web of Science database. These journals were published in countries from Asia, Africa, Oceania, and South America. Unlike the Oh et al. (2019) study, Australia and New Zealand were considered as Western countries due to their Western cultural heritage.

For the editorial information of each journal, we collected pertinent data related to various attributes: countries of affiliation, professional positions including academic rank (e.g., assistant, associate, etc.), numbers of publications, and h-indexes of editorial board members. In contrast to the data used by Oh et al. (2019), which was based on journals indexed in 2016, we used the 2018 Scopus journal index and the 2018 Web of Science index. The data for this study were collected from September to October 2019. Various details concerning editorial leaders were collected by visiting the journals’ homepages, the homepages of editorial leaders’ institutions, social media profiles (Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn), and by searching through the Google search engine. The iSchool information was searched by the Members Directory at the iSchools Organization (


4.1. Journal h-Index and Indexed Database

Before examining the editorial leaders of major LIS journals and non-Western journals, we describe in detail the sample journals used in this study. All journals used in this study are represented in Table 1. As shown, there was a total of 52 journals used in this study (29 major and 23 non-Western). All major LIS journals were indexed by both Scopus and Web of Science databases. On the other hand, in non-Western journal collections, five (21.7%) were indexed by both Scopus and Web of Science databases, while 17 journals (73.9%) were indexed by Scopus only. The only journal that was indexed by Web of Science but not by Scopus was Informacao & Sociedade-Estudos (4.3%).

Table 1. Two library and information science journal datasets used in this study

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H, h-index; W, Web of Science; S, Scopus; DESIDOC, Defence Scientific Information & Documentation Centre.

a)The H score of this journal is not shown since this journal is indexed by W only.

The journal h-index scores in this table were obtained from the SJR database (, which contains the Scopus indexed journals. In Table 1, the average h-index of the major and non-Western journals are shown. The h-index of the journal indicates the value of the journal’s papers receiving at least h citations since the journal has been indexed by the respective database. The major LIS journals received an average h-index score of 47.2, whereas the average h-index score of non-Western journals was 9.6.

4.2. Composition of Editorial Leaders

The detailed composition of editorial leaders is shown in Table 2. There were a total of 38 editorial leaders for the 29 major journals, and a total of 26 editorial leaders for the 23 non-Western journals. Thus, some journals had more than one editorial leader to represent and lead the journal. This table shows the countries and the titles of editorial leaders. For brevity, the country name shown in this table uses an alphabetical two letter code (“Country codes list, ” n.d.). There were structural differences among journals of both categories, which may have been reflected in the precise titles assigned to the editorial leaders. The common names referring to editorial leaders may differ slightly depending on the country and journal (Hill, 2006), and these variations may have resulted from journal publication practices related to particular countries.

Table 2. Countries of publishers and editorial leaders

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Cells are shaded for the countries in which publishers’ and editorial leaders’ countries are the same.

UK, United Kingdom; US, United States; EIC, editor-in-chief; TW, Taiwan; NL, Netherlands; BE, Belgium; CN, China; QA, Qatar; MY, Malaysia; IR, Iran; PL, Poland; IN, India; BR, Brazil; SG, Singapore; NG, Nigeria; BW, Botswana; CU, Cuba; DE, Germany; MX, Mexico; CL, Chile; JP, Japan; SE, Sweden; PK, Pakistan; AR, Argentina; TR, Turkey; KR, South Korea; ZA, South Africa; NZ, New Zealand; CA, Canada.

Appointing an editorial leader from the same country as the publisher was more commonly practiced in the non-Western journals. In Table 2, the cells are shaded for the countries in which the publishers’ and editorial leaders’ countries are the same. Counting these countries, we found that 11 out of 29 (37.9%) publishers of major journals and 21 out of 23 (91.3%) publishers of non-Western journals appointed editorial leaders who were from the same country as the publisher.

4.2.1. Country Representation in Major and Non-Western Journals

To examine how countries are represented in LIS journals, it is useful to observe the frequency counts of publishers’ and editorial leaders’ countries. Fig. 1 shows the distribution of the countries of publishers and editorial leaders. Overall, there is a wider distribution of countries in non-Western journals than in major journals.

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Fig. 1. Countries of publishers and editorial leaders. (a) Major journals and (b) non-Western journals. UK, United Kingdom; US, United States; DE, Germany; NL, Netherlands; CA, Canada; SE, Sweden; BE, Belgium; NZ, New Zealand; PL, Poland; QA, Qatar; TW, Taiwan; ZA, South Africa; BR, Brazil; IN, India; IR, Iran; TW, Taiwan; AR, Argentina; CL, Chile; CN, China; CU, Cuba; JP, Japan; KR, South Korea; MX, Mexico; NG, Nigeria; PK, Pakistan; SG, Singapore; TR, Turkey; BW, Botswana.

In the major journals, the U.S. ranked first in terms of editorial leaders, while the U.K. ranked first in terms of publishers. Compared to other countries, both countries are dominant in terms of publishing journals and appointing editorial leaders. As shown in Fig. 1, all major LIS journals are published in Western countries, and most of their editorial leaders are from Western countries as well. In the major journals, 36 editorial leaders (94.7%) of major journals are from Western countries, and only two are from non-Western countries (5.3%)—Taiwan and Qatar.

Non-Western journals are published in various non-Western countries, among which Brazil ranked first both in publishing and appointing editorial leaders. In contrast to the major journals, a wider range of countries of publishers and editorial leaders can be found in non-Western journals. Non-Western countries mostly appointed editorial leaders from non-Western countries. There are only two editorial leaders from Western countries (the U.K. and the U.S.) in the non-Western journals. Except for JISTaP (N22) and Journal of Digital Infomation Management (N5), the remaining 24 editorial leaders of non-Western journals (92.3%) are from non-Western countries.

4.2.2. Title Variation of Editorial Leaders

Table 3 shows the frequency count of titles used in referring to the editorial leader. The results revealed that a wider range of editorial titles was used in the non-Western LIS journals than the major LIS journals. The title ‘editor’ was more commonly used than ‘EIC’ in major LIS journals, with ‘editor’ being used 21 (55.3%) times and ‘EIC’ in 15 (39.5%) times. These titles were also the most frequently used in non-Western journals since ‘EIC’ was being used nine (34.6%) times and ‘editor’ was used eight (30.8) times. Two journals had two editorial leaders and referred to them as ‘co-EICs’: one (3.4%) journal in the major journal category and one (4.3%) among the non-Western journal collection. The title variations in the non-Western journals imply that the structure of the editorial board varies to a greater extent in non-Western journals.

Table 3. Professional positions of editorial leaders

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Values are presented as number (%).

EIC, editor-in-chief.

4.3. Gender

Table 4 shows the gender of editorial leaders of the major journals and non-Western journals. In the major journals, editorial leaders consisted of 17 males (44.7%) and 21 females (55.3%). In contrast, in the non-Western LIS journals, editorial leaders consisted of 14 males (53.8%) and 12 females (46.2%) editors. Thus, there were slightly more female editorial leaders than male leaders in major LIS journals and slightly more male editorial leaders than female leaders in non-Western LIS journals. Based on the categorical data, chi-square statistics can be applied to determine whether there was a statistically relevant difference between major journals and non-Western journals in terms of gender. We found the gender difference between the major and non-Western journals was not statistically significant, χ2 (1, N=64)=3.61, p=.05.

Table 4. Gender of editorial leaders

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Values are presented as number (%).

4.4. Professional Position or Rank

The editorial leaders’ professional positions, including academic rank, were compared between major and non-Western journals. As shown in Table 5, the top professional positions of the journals’ editorial leaders showed 17 professors (39.5%) in the major journals and 12 professors (46.2%) in non-Western journals. Several editorial leaders of major journals had non-academic professional positions, such as librarians (14.0%) or Chief Executive Officers (2.3%). There were also several editorial leaders of major journals who had both academic positions as well as non-academic ones. For example, one editorial leader had ‘associate professor’ as an academic position and ‘librarian’ as a non-academic position. For such editorial leaders who had dual professional positions, both positions were applied. As shown, the distributions of professional positions were slightly more varied among the editorial leaders of the major journals than for those of the non-Western journals.

Table 5. Professional position of editorial leaders

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Values are presented as number (%).

4.5. Social Media Profiles of Editorial Leaders

4.5.1. Presence of the Profiles of Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn

To determine the extent of social media use, we examined the presence of profiles in Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn. Table 6 shows the current uses of social media profiles of editorial leaders. The result showed that editorial leaders utilized all three social media platforms to a varying extent. Google Scholar was used by the editorial leaders of major journals the most (68.4%). Among 38 editorial leaders of major LIS journals, 12 editorial leaders (31.6%) either did not have any Google Scholar profile or their profiles did not appear on the first few pages in Google. On the other hand, among 26 editorial leaders of non-Western LIS journals, we found that 17 editorial leaders (65.4%) had Google Scholar profiles but could not locate nine editorial leaders (34.6%) on Google Scholar. Thus, the editorial leaders of major journals utilized Google Scholar profiles slightly more than editorial leaders of non-Western LIS journals.

Table 6. Presence of online academic and professional profiles

E1JSCH_2019_v7n4_20_t0006.png 이미지

Values are presented as number (%).

RS, ResearchGate; GS, Google Scholar; LN, LinkedIn.

ResearchGate profiles, on the other hand, were used slightly less by the editorial leaders of the major journals (21, 55.3%) than those of non-Western journals (15, 57.7%). There were 13 (34.2%) editorial leaders of major journals and six (23.1%) of non-Western journals who had social media profiles on all three platforms. At the same, there was a greater percentage of editorial leaders without any of the three types of profiles in major journals (6, 15.8%) than in non-Western journals (3, 11.5%). Overall, the result indicates that editorial leaders of major journals utilized online academic and professional profiles slightly more than the editorial leaders of non-Western journals.

The presence of these profiles makes it possible to search the work of particular editors. Additionally, professional online platforms, LinkedIn in particular, enable additional exposure to their journals. Possible reason for editors not having such social media profiles include: to avoid requests and contacts from the public, to reduce spam messages, and to avoid the responsibility of managing profile-related information. Despite this, both editorial leaders and journals benefit from having social media profiles with respectable records on academic and professional platforms due to the greatly improved visibility that these platforms can offer (Citrome, 2015).

4.5.2. The h-Index of Editorial Leaders

Since we used the h-index scores from Google Scholar, only the h-indexes of editorial leaders who had a Google Scholar profile were obtained. These h-indexes were then compared between the major LIS journals and non-Western LIS journals. The result showed that h-index scores of the editorial leaders of major LIS journals were higher, on average, than those of non-Western LIS journals. The mean h-index scores are 24.4 for the major journals, and 15.2 for the non-Western journals.

However, it should be noted that not all editorial leaders had Google Scholar profiles. As shown in Table 7, in the major LIS journals 12 out of 38 editorial leaders (31.6%) did not have Google Scholar profiles. Editorial leaders without Google Scholar profiles were assigned with ‘0’ for the h-index value. In the non-Western journals, 9 out of 26 editorial leaders did not have Google Scholar profiles (34.6%).

Table 7. Google Scholar and h-Index

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The h-index is based on the number of citations and the number of publications. Thus, publishing a great volume of papers would typically raise one’s h-index more than simply having a single paper with a high number of citations. As a whole, the result indicates that the editorial leaders of major LIS journals published papers that had a higher impact than those of editorial leaders of non-Western journals.

4.6. iSchool Membership Status of the Institutions of Editorial Leaders

We also investigated whether the editorial leaders from this study are from iSchools member institutions. The iSchool movement has had a considerable impact on the field of LIS. The iSchools organization has played an important role in the field of information science and has been associated with intellectual coverage, interdisciplinarity, and research commitment (Dillon, 2012). Because iSchool was initiated in the Western world, North American regional iSchools became the leading representatives of the movement (Chakrabarti & Mandal, 2017). The faculties of the iSchool member institutions have shown notable productivity and have a high impact in the field of information (Budd, 2015). There is a prestigious element associated with being a member of iSchool since the iSchool movement isolated small-sized schools that lacked research funding (Shu & Mongeon, 2016). The rationale for examining the iSchool membership is the fact that iSchool is likely to have positive effects on journals’ visibility and status.

In recent years, iSchools has been offering various levels of memberships: iCaucus, Enabling, Sustaining, Support, Basic, and Associate categories. The iCaucus membership is the most prestigious, while the associate category is for new member schools or schools that have not met other membership criteria (“Apply to Join, ” n.d.).

Table 8 shows the frequency count of iSchool status of editorial leaders’ affiliated institutions, while further details on this are provided in Appendix. Institutions not having the membership were labeled with ‘N/A.’ As shown, a large percentage of institutions are not members of iSchools in both types of journal databases. That is, 19 (50.0%) institutions affiliated with editorial leaders of major journals are not associated with iSchools, while there are 23 (88.4%) such cases with editorial leaders of non-Western journals. Thus, the majority of institutions affiliated with editors of non-Western journals do not belong to iSchool, whereas half of the major journals’ editors are iSchool members. Among the non-Western journals, only three journals (11.5%) have editors affiliated with iSchool institutions. In the major journals, 13 institutions (34.2%) have the iCaucus status, which suggests that a considerable number of editorial leaders are from prestigious large institutions that focus on information-related research. In the non-Western journals, only one editorial leader’s institution (3.8%) has the iCaucus status. There is no institution with an ‘Enabling’ or ‘Support’ status.

Table 8. iSchool status of editorial leaders’ affiliated institutions

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Values are presented as number (%).


By comparing major LIS journals with non-Western LIS journals, this study aimed to identify notable patterns related to editorial leaders associated with highly-regarded international journals. The key findings of this study are summarized and discussed in terms of the following attributes: journal h-index, gender, professional position and rank, and institutions and their iSchool status.

Regarding the journal indexing database, countries of publication, and the journals’ h-index scores, we found a notable discrepancy between the two types of journals. The average h-index of major journals was 47.2, whereas the average h-index of non-Western journals was 9.6. Thus, the result indicated that papers of major journals received considerably more citations compared to those of non-Western journals. We found no correlation between the journal h-index and the indexing database. We also found that unlike the major journals, most non-Western journals tended to appoint editorial leaders from the same country as the journal’s country of publication.

As for the gender ratio of editorial leaders, female leaders were more present in the major journals, whereas male leaders were more present in the non-Western journals. The chi-square test showed that there is not a statistically significant difference between the major journals and non-Western journals in terms of gender. Since gender disparity may vary depending on the particular field, more research is needed in this regard.

Concerning the professional positions of editorial leaders, diverse professional positions were found in major LIS journals including some non-academic positions. Most editorial leaders were full professors, suggesting that the majority of editorial leaders are in the advanced stages of their careers. However, a small number of assistant and associate professors were editorial leaders in both type of journals. This indicates that editors may be appointed regardless of their rank as it is not a determining factor in the selection of editorial leaders.

Regarding the Google Scholar profiles, editorial leaders of major journals utilized them only slightly more than did editorial leaders of non-Western journals. Editorial leaders with a high number of publications compared to their peers are likely to have Google Scholar profiles, while there are also editorial leaders with reputable research records who do use Google Scholar profiles for various reasons. This may include the time it takes to maintain the record and the uneasiness of enabling the public to scrutinize the person’s research history.

With respect to the editorial leaders’ h-indexes, only taking into account those who had Google Scholar profiles, the h-indexes of editorial leaders of major LIS journals were considerably higher than in non-Western LIS journals (24.4 versus 15.2). This suggests that editorial leaders of major journals have more extensive research records than those of non-Western journals. The h-index scores further suggest that the editorial leaders of major journals are likely to be late-career faculty members. The h-index in this instances has the following notable limitations: a) not all editorial leaders had Google Scholar profiles; b) the h-index of Google Scholar lacks quality control and clear indexing guidelines (Halevi, Moed, & Bar-Ilan, 2017); and c) the h-index of Google Scholar may not accurately take non-English publications in non-Western journals into account.

As for the editorial leaders’ countries of affiliation, most editorial leaders are from the U.S. and U.K. Non-Western countries appointed most editorial leaders from non-Western countries, with Brazil being the most frequent country affiliation. In both types of journals, there were tendencies to appoint an editorial leader from the same country as the publisher’s country. This suggests that global recruitment of editorial leaders should be considered for increasing the visibility of journals and reducing the imbalance between editorial leaders’ countries. In the major journals, a greater representation of editorial leaders from non-Western countries is needed. At the same time, potential editorial leaders from Western countries, particularly ones with strong research records, can aid non-Western journals by becoming their editorial leaders.

With regard to iSchool membership, the institutions affiliated with editorial leaders of major journals are associated with iSchools more often compared to those of editors of non-Western journals. Editorial leaders of the major LIS journals are often from large institutions that focus on information-related research and have either iCaucus or associate membership. The result suggests that both editorial leaders’ institutions and the editorial leaders benefit from association with iSchools. When it comes to non-Western countries, the result confirmed that iSchool has neither been popularized in their institutions nor among their editorial leaders.

In sum, the most notable difference between the editorial leaders from major and non-Western LIS journals were as follows. As a whole, both types of journals lacked true internationalization. Editorial leaders of major journals tended to be from Western countries, whereas editorial leaders of non-Western countries tended to be from non-Western countries. Most non-Western journals tended to appoint editorial leaders from the same country as the publisher’s country. Almost all editorial leaders of non-Western journals, on the other hand, were from various non-Western countries and tended to have lower h-index scores, and their institutions were not part of the iSchool. In the major journals, a greater representation of editorial leaders from non-Western countries is warranted, while non-Western journals could benefit from qualified editorial leaders from Western countries.

In addition to the previously mentioned study limitations, there are some additional notable limitations that deserve more discussion, and each of them calls for further research. Firstly, successful journals require strong leaders, and while having editorial leaders who are prominent in the academic community is surely advantageous to journals, the journal publications nevertheless require many dedicated workers who cooperate with the editorial leader. Effective editorial leaders therefore need to work as captains of the team who know how to utilize the editorial teams’ abilities. It is difficult to evaluate the quality of editorial leadership based on a journal’s successful outcome (e.g., high h-index scores) because of the variety of factors that contribute to such success.

Secondly, this study is limited to available online information, and it is important to recognize the evolving nature of data associated with editorial leaders. This study used various social media profiles and homepages to collect data on editorial leaders. Data from these sources are often incomplete or contain errors and are likely to change over time (Diaz, Gamon, Hofman, Kiciman, & Rothschild, 2016). For instance, the editorial leader’s rank and h-index are expected to change over time as they publish more papers and receive citations. As a result, longitudinal analyses are desirable in order to record and analyze these changes repeatedly over longer periods. An obstacle to this lies in the fact that historical information of editorial leaders is not archived, and their social media-related information is not gathered collectively due to privacy and ethical concerns.

Lastly, because this study used a limited number of editorial leaders, the results are generalizable only to the LIS field. Thus, considerable variations could exist among editorial leaders’ profiles in other disciplines. Depending on the particular discipline that the research is associated with, a wide range of usage patterns of ResearchGate, Google Scholar profiles, and LinkedIn could be detected. Ortega (2015) pointed out that there may be distinctive disciplinary differences in how researchers use social media profiles. Previous studies suggest that there can be significant gender differences in certain disciplines (Gollins, Shipman, & Murrell, 2017; Litvack, Wick, & Whipple, 2019). There could also be discipline-specific differences in terms of countries of publication and the editors’ countries of affiliation. Since we only focused on the LIS field, additional research involving other disciplines should be conducted. Such additional studies should aid in reducing the imbalance between the Western world and the non-Western world in publishing academic journals.


This work was supported, both by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A5A2A03068036), and by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) (K-19-L01-02).


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