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Vol. 57. Issue 5.
Pages 374-375 (May 2021)
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Vol. 57. Issue 5.
Pages 374-375 (May 2021)
Scientific Letter
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Presence of SEPAR members on the editorial committees of journals indexed in the “Respiratory System” category of Journal Citation Reports
Presencia de miembros de SEPAR en los Comités Editoriales de revistas indexadas en la categoría «Respiratory System» de Journal Citation Reports
Cristina Candal-Pedreiraa, Alberto Fernández-Villarb, José Luis López-Camposc, Alberto Ruano-Ravinaa,d,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
a Departamento de Medicina Preventiva y Salud Pública, Universidadde Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
b Grupo NeumoVigo I+i, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Galicia Sur (IISGS), Servicio de Neumología, Hospital Álvaro Cunqueiro, Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain
c Unidad Médico-Quirúrgica de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Institutode Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío/Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Institutode Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain
d Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology & Public Health (CIBER en Epidemiología y Salud Pública/CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain
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Table 1. Profiles of SEPAR members on ECs of journals indexed in the “respiratory system” category of 2018 Journal Citation Reports.
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To the Editor:

Membership of the editorial committee (EC) of a scientific journal is generally regarded as a scientific or academic distinction and is often a recognition of the research career of the committee member. We can therefore make the indirect assumption that the proportion of members from a given scientific society on the ECs of impact factor journals might indicate the state of research in Spain — in pulmonology and thoracic surgery and related areas, in our specific case.

Currently, the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery (SEPAR) has 4846 members, mainly pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons, although we also have members from other specialist areas. Archivos de Bronconeumología is the official scientific journal of SEPAR, the Latin American Thorax Society (ALAT) and the Ibero-American Association of Thoracic Surgery (AICT).1

We carried out a descriptive study, primarily to quantify how many SEPAR members sit on the ECs of journals indexed in Journal Citation Reports, and secondly to describe those members according to their characteristics (work area, sex, and type of center to which they are affiliated).

The 63 journals listed in 2018 Journal Citation Reports under the subject category “respiratory system”2 were consulted manually. The characteristics of EC members of each journal, such as sex, country of origin, work area, and SEPAR membership (obtained from the website member directory) were collected in a data extraction table. Archivos de Bronconeumología was excluded from this analysis since it is the official journal of SEPAR. For individuals to be considered members of the EC, they had to make effective decisions on journal policy on an ongoing basis, so figures such as members of the Editorial Board or guest editors were included. Statistical editors, web content editors, etc., were excluded. The results were analyzed descriptively.

A total of 29 SEPAR members were identified as EC members of indexed journals in the category “respiratory system” of 2018 Journal Citation Reports, 6 of whom were women. Three-quarters (75.9%) of the editors sit on 1 EC, 10.3% on 2 ECs, and the rest on 3 or more. The areas most represented are COPD (6 members), followed by Thoracic Surgery (4 members). The most represented autonomous communities are Catalonia (12 members), followed by Madrid (5 members), and Galicia and Andalusia (3 members each). These characteristics are listed in Table 1.

Table 1.

Profiles of SEPAR members on ECs of journals indexed in the “respiratory system” category of 2018 Journal Citation Reports.

Variable  n (%) 
Women  6 (20.7) 
Men  23 (79.3) 
Work area
COPD  6 (20.7) 
Chest surgery  3 (10.3) 
Thoracic oncology  3 (10.3) 
Tuberculosis and respiratory infections  2 (6.9) 
Diffuse interstitial pulmonary disease  2 (6.9) 
Others  13 (44.9) 
Type of center of affiliation
Hospital  11 (37.9) 
Hospital and university  8 (27.6) 
University  4 (13.8) 
Others  6 (20.7) 
Autonomous community
Catalonia  12 (41.4) 
Madrid  5 (17.2) 
Andalusia  3 (10.3) 
Galicia  3 (10.3) 
Others  6 (20.8) 
Professional profile
Pulmonology specialist  17 (58.6) 
Thoracic surgeon  3 (10.3) 
Others  9 (31.1) 

Twenty-four of the journals indexed in 2018 Journal Citation Reports have at least 1 editor who is a member of SEPAR; 8 of the 15 top quartile journals in the respiratory system category (including Archivos de Bronconeumología) had SEPAR members on their EC. Based on the total number of members, 6 out of 1000 SEPAR members sits on the EC of a journal indexed in the respiratory system category.

The results of this study reveal the presence of SEPAR members on the ECs of journals indexed in the respiratory system category. While it is noted that there is some presence of members on these committees, their participation is modest, since very few have editorial responsibilities. Indeed, 62% of the journals do not have any SEPAR members on their committees. We should also point out that many of these EC positions, particularly among journals with the highest impact rate, are occupied by a small number of SEPAR members. Women are represented proportionally less than men, as more than half of SEPAR’s members are women, yet only 21% of those who sit on ECs are women. EC representation by areas is in line with the proportion of members, since it is the COPD area that has the largest number of members followed closely by the Asthma area.3

Some studies have analyzed the socio-economic characteristics of EC members of scientific journals from different specialist areas. These studies have noted an increasing trend in the number of women on ECs in recent decades, although the number of men is still much higher.4–10 There is also a lack of international representation on ECs. EC members from developed countries are highly represented compared to those from low-middle-income countries.11,12 Even so, studies on this subject are tremendously scarce.

The number of members on some of these ECs should also be taken into account. Some exclusively online magazines have ECs of between 200 and 300 people, which can give a misleading view of the presence of SEPAR people on these ECs.

This study has a number of important limitations. The first of these is that only respiratory journals were analyzed, so the picture is skewed, as many SEPAR members may sit on ECs of journals in other specialist areas, such as infectious diseases, pulmonary circulation, internal medicine, public health, or surgery and transplantation, and therefore were not taken into account in this study. The fact that membership of the EC of Archivos de Bronconeumología was excluded from the calculations may also be debatable. However, we believe that its inclusion would have “inflated” the results favorably.

It is worth considering whether these data are good or bad, or what the reasons for this modest presence may be. In a way, it is somewhat contradictory that the Spanish respiratory medicine has a top quartile journal, Archivos de Bronconeumología, which reflects the importance of the research done in our country, yet our presence on the ECs of respiratory system journals is so low. An alternative explanation for this limited presence may be the fact that in the vast majority of cases, EC membership is unpaid and has little weight when collecting curriculum points for public examinations. It is a time-consuming job, and many members could have declined a position on an EC for this reason, despite being invited for their scientific merits.

We are of the opinion that this study should be repeated after some time to determine if there is any change in the proportion of SEPAR members on these ECs. In addition to the academic and research acclaim that these ECs garner for their members, these positions are a general indication of the recognition and prestige given abroad to a medical discipline.

Archivos de Bronconeumología [Internet]. [Accessed 4 June 2020]. Available from:
Clarivate Analytics. Journal Citation Reports. [Internet] [Accessed 4 June 2020]. Available from:
Sociedad Española de Neumología y Cirugía torácica (SEPAR). SociosSEPAR en cifras. [Internet] [Accessed 4 August 2020]. Available from:
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Please cite this article as: Candal-Pedreira C, Fernández-Villar A, López-Campos JL, Ruano-Ravina A. Presencia de miembros de SEPAR en los Comités Editoriales de revistas indexadas en la categoría «Respiratory System» de Journal Citation Reports. Arch Bronconeumol. 2021;57:374–375.

Archivos de Bronconeumología
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