Toward decolonizing knowledge production in global public health: results of a multi-level intervention to improve equity of authorship at a global health journal


  • Jim Ricca
  • Sonia Abraham
  • Peter Waiswa
  • Natalie Culbertson
  • Steve Hodgins


global health, authorship, peer-reviewed journal, decolonization, decolonization of knowledge, academic journals, equity


Over a six-month period in 2020-2021, the Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP) journal implemented a multi-level strategy to increase meaningful equity and inclusion of authors from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in knowledge production. This strategy consisted of changing its editorial policy and making its editorial staff and board more inclusive and diverse. GHSP staff carried out an evaluation of this effort to assess whether three authorship metrics that it prospectively tracks had improved in terms of inclusion of authors from LMICs. A before-after analysis of all articles submitted to the journal at baseline (2019–2020) and after the journal changed its authorship policy guidelines (2021–2022) showed that the percentage of all authors from LMICs increased from 38% to 52%; the proportion of first authors from LMICs increased from 14% to 32%; and the proportion of articles with any LMIC author increased from 66% to 81%. A gap in acceptance rate persisted between articles with an LMIC first author and an HIC first author. Further strategies to improve the acceptance rate by authors in LMICs are under consideration.

Author Biographies

Jim Ricca

Jim Ricca (MD, MPH) is a family doctor and public health specialist. He works at Jhpiego, a global health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, where he is Director of Adaptive Management, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning for MOMENTUM Country and Global Leadership program, a USAID-funded reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health program with activities in 18 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He is an associate editor for Global Health: Science and Practice journal. He has worked on projects in over 40 countries and lived in Honduras and Mozambique. He started his career practicing and teaching family medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, USA.

Sonia Abraham

Sonia Abraham (MA) is the scientific editor of Global Health: Science and Practice journal. She has been writing and editing on medicine and global health since 1997. 

Peter Waiswa

Peter Waiswa (MD, PhD) is Associate Professor, Makerere University, Uganda, and Karolinska Institute and member of editorial advisory board of Global Health: Science and Practice. Dr. Waiswa’s work has spanned the global-local and northern-southern divide. He has worked in the government health services in Uganda and now leads the Maternal and Newborn Centre of Excellence, Makerere School of Public Health. He also leads the multi-country, multi-institution, INDEPTH Network for Maternal and Newborn Health Research.

Natalie Culbertson

Natalie Culbertson is the founding and current managing editor of Global Health: Science and Practice journal. She has worked in program management, training, capacity building, and publishing at Johns Hopkins University, USA, since 1993. 

Steve Hodgins

Steve Hodgins (MD, MSc, DrPH) has served as Editor-in-Chief of Global Health: Science and Practice since 2017 and as an Associate Editor since 2014. He has been involved with the journal since its launch in 2013 as an author and reviewer. He is on the faculty of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He previously was a technical expert for Save the Children. Throughout his career, Dr. Hodgins has been preoccupied by the nexus of evidence and sound public health practice. His particular interests lie in the program implementation process, community health services, nutrition, and reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health. 


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