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A Preliminary Analysis of Authorship in Archivaria (2011-2021)

26 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous member

Rodney Carter (RHSJ St. Joseph Region Archives, Kingston, ON) on behalf of the Archivaria Editorial Board 

In order to better understand who is being published in Archivaria, the Editorial Board began to compile statistics on the authors who appear in the journal. The aim of this work was to identify any trends in authorship and to attempt to discern areas of concern or groups that may be underrepresented. 

A preliminary analysis of 21 issues, from Archivaria72 (Fall 2011) to Archivaria92 (Fall 2021),was prepared and presented at the Editorial Board’s meeting held in February 2022. It was felt that this information may of be interest to the wider archival community so we are sharing some of our initial findings. 

Based on the information on authors available, we examined language of submission, gender of the authors, location of the authors, type of institutions authors are affiliated with, and began some analysis across categories. It is apparent that there are limitations in the available information as certain identity categories we might wish to examine - such as whether authors identify as Indigenous, Black and/or as a Person of Colour - are not captured in the current metadata. As a result, the Editorial Board is planning on expanding information collected at the time articles are submitted in order to be able to fill this gap in our knowledge going forward. 

Submissions and Authors 

In the 21 issues reviewed, there were a total of 265 submissions. This includes every item published in the journal, including articles, reviews, studies in documents, counterpoints, letters to the editor, obituaries, etc. There were 96 articles, nine studies in documents, six counterpoints, seven Dodds Prize-winning articles, 109 reviews, and 38 other submissions.  

Thirty-seven submissions were co-authored leading to a total of 325 authors for all submissions. While the majority of authors (202) were published once, several authors had published multiple works over the period - including one author who contributed a remarkable eight submissions - so there were 249 unique authors identified. Of these, seven authors wrote in French in six separate submissions.  

Number of Submissions per Unique Author 

Number of Authors 

1 

202 

2 

31 

3 

11 

4 

1 

5 

2 

6 

1 

8 

1 

Total Unique Authors 

249 

Gender & Institutional Affiliation 

In order to better understand the identities of Archivaria’s authors, we began our analysis by looking at gender and institutional affiliations of the authors of each submission. Of the 325 authors, the majority (203) identified as female with 115 male-identified authors, and seven authors who identified as nonbinary. 

This breakdown was generally reflected across submission types.  

      

When the gender was examined in relation to the institutional affiliation of the author, the female/male ratio seen overall was reflected in academic faculty. Gender parity was met or approached in authors working in governmental archives (national, provincial/state, and municipal), and a few other categories. Twice as many submissions were published by authors identifying as female in the university/college archives category and the difference was even greater in the PhD and Independent archivist/researcher categories. 

In examining types of institutional affiliations, the Editorial Board was interested in comparing the number of submissions of authors primarily identified as academics to the number of submissions by archival practitioners. For the purpose of this analysis, authors who identified as faculty at a college or university (regardless of department) and graduate students at the PhD and Master’s levels were considered “academics” and all others were classified as “practitioners”, although it is fully acknowledged that these professional identities are fluid and not necessarily exclusive, and that there is plenty of room for refinement in these categories. While lacking nuance, this comparison is offered to provide a broad-strokes glimpse at authorship categories.  

Across all submissions, a majority of items published were from academic authors. Given the richness of research coming out of archival studies programmes recently this is not a surprise but, still, nearly 40% of items were authored by practitioners. The same ratio is reflected if just the articles are examined.  

     

In an attempt to identify if there were any trends discernable over time, the number of submissions was looked at from 2011 to 2021. Depending on the issue, however, the number of submissions from academics vs practitioners varied and no specific trend can be identified, although, generally, there has been a decline in submissions in recent years which has impacted the last three issues (Archivaria 90-92). This may be related to the impact of COVID-19 on the ability to produce intellectual work and we believe we will see the number of submissions begin to rise again.When the analysis expands to include authors dating back to Archivaria 1 it is expected that the lines will reflect the impact of the development and expansion of university-based archival studies. 

Location 

Finally, we looked where the authors were publishing from across Canada and around the world. Given that Archivaria is the journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists, the majority (71%) of submissions were from authors based in Canada, as expected. The journal has become a desirable venue for international authors, however, with 18% of published submissions coming from the United States and significant numbers of articles from the UK and Australia, and Archivaria has also published submissions of authors from New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark. 

Of submissions from Canadian-based authors, the largest number came from the provinces with the greatest populations and the largest archival studies programmes: Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. During the period under review, submissions were received from every province and territory with the exceptions of Prince Edward Island and Nunavut.  

Next Steps 

This initial review was undertaken to see if we could identify some general characteristics about Archivaria authors given the available information. Using the past ten years as a starting point, we have been able to test some assumptions held about authorship and now have a clearer understanding of the authors published to date in the journal. Moving forward, we plan on compiling statistics back to the first issue in order to look at trends over the full scope of its publication.  

The Editorial Board will use the information gained from these statistics as part of a larger strategy to attempt to identify whose voices have been underrepresented or have not been included in the journal so that we can better solicit submissions to better reflect the wider community. 

The Editorial Board will be seeking more detailed information from those who submit writings to Archivaria so that, going forward, we are able to gain an increasingly accurate picture of journal contributors.


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