DEI Ambassador Project: Stimulating Participation of Underrepresented Groups in INFORMS Editorial Boards

By Alice Smith

This project aims to increase the diversity of participants in journal editor activities, with an emphasis on INFORMS journals.  Journals, as the main outlet for scholarly publications, are hallmarks of careers in academia and research. Volunteers perform the roles of reviewer, associate editor, department or area editor, and editor-in-chief. Participation is crucial to the advancement and sharing of knowledge, as editors and reviewers provide the key input and decision making in the dissemination of research. 

Participation in these roles can also be incredibly valuable in one’s own career as it provides firsthand involvement with the peer review process. Moreover, editor roles are often important attributes when advancing through faculty tenure and promotion processes and can also assist the career progression of non-academic researchers.

Scholarly publication is an area that will benefit strongly from full participation of the diversity of researchers. This project, supported by the INFORMS DEI Ambassadors Program seeks to expand the number of people from underrepresented groups who are involved with journal reviewing and, more importantly, editing. The approach is holistic in that it considers a range of activities from the entry-level task of reviewing to progressing through the editorial ranks and culminating as an editor-in-chief. 

In support of these goals, I organized an INFORMS webinar panel in May of 2021 and am planning to host another panel at the upcoming 2021 INFORMS Annual Meeting in October. The panelists for the webinar were: 

Michael Johnson
Professor and Chair, Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
McCormack Graduate School
Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs
University of Massachusetts Boston

Steven Kou
Questrom Professor in Management
Professor, Finance
Questrom School of Business
Boston University

Maria E. Mayorga
Professor of Personalized Medicine
Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
North Carolina State University

Karen Smilowitz
James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences
Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences & Operations Department
Northwestern University

Here is the webinar, also hosted on the INFORMS YouTube Channel which was co-sponsored by WORMS and the Minority Issues Forum. Each webinar panelist gave a brief overview of their current and past editorial positions, and how and why they got involved as editors. They also described the editorial process of journals and the responsibilities of the different levels of editor – associate, area or department, and editor-in-chief. The panelists emphasized the value of diversity in the reviewing and editorial process and gave tips for newer academics to become engaged as reviewers and editors. The panelists also talked about the time involved for editing duties and the career benefits of taking editorial roles. A variety of important questions from the attendees were then responded to by the panelists.

94 people from 12 countries attended the webinar (not including INFORMS staff and the panel participants) (see below).  There were 161 registrants.























United Kingdom


United States




Alice E. Smith
2021 INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador
Editor in Chief, INFORMS Journal on Computing

Joe W. Forehand/Accenture Distinguished Professor
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and
Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering
Auburn University