Sex and Gender Analysis Policies of Peer-Reviewed Journals

A growing number of peer-reviewed journals have editorial policies requiring sex- or gender- specific reporting of scientific research. For a discussion of issues involved in such journal policies, see IOM (Institute of Medicine), 2012. Sex-Specific Reporting of Scientific Research: A Workshop Summary. Washington, D.C. The National Academies Press. Journals with policies on sex-specific reporting include:

  • Journal



    Journal of the American College of Cardiology American College of Cardiology (ACC)  “Please provide sex-specific and/or racial/ethnic-specific data when appropriate, in describing outcomes of epidemiologic analyses or clinical trials; or specifically state that no sex-based or racial/ethnic-based differences were present” (JACC—Journal of the American College of Cardiology Instructions for Authors).
    American Journal of Physiology (AJP) - Cell Physiology

    AJP - Endocrinology and Metabolism

    AJP - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology

    AJP - Heart and Circulatory Physiology

    AJP - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology

    AJP - Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology

    AJP - Renal Physiology

    Journal of Applied Physiology

    Journal of Neurophysiology

    Physiological Genomics

    Physiological Reviews

    Advances in Physiology Education


    Comprehensive Physiology
    American Physiological Society
    Cell Lines and Reagents:  
    The source of cells utilized (species, sex, strain, race, age of donor, whether primary or established) should be clearly indicated.

    Materials and Methods:
    "Describe techniques, cell/animal models used (including species, strain, and sex)... For studies involving humans, the sex and/or gender of participants must be reported." (American Physiological Society—Preparing Your Manuscript). See Miller, In Pursuit of Scientific Excellence: Sex Matters.

    Canadian Medical Association Journal Canadian Medical Association (CMA)  “Selection and Description of Participants:
    • Because the relevance of such variables as age and sex to the object of research is not always clear, authors should explain their use when they are included in a study report; for example, authors should explain why only subjects of certain ages were included or why women were excluded. The guiding principle should be clarity about how and why a study was done in a particular way. When authors use variables such as race or ethnicity, they should define how they measured the variables and justify their relevance.
    • Where scientifically appropriate, analyses of the data by variables such as age and sex should be included” (CMAJ Editorial Policies).  
    Circulation American Heart Association (AHA) “Please provide sex-specific and/or racial/ethnic-specific data when appropriate, in describing the outcomes of epidemiologic analyses or clinical trials; or specifically state that no sex-based or racial/ethnic-based differences were present” (Circulation—Instructions for Authors).
    Clinical Orthopaedic and Related Research Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons Editors recommend (Editorial 2014):

    1. Design studies that are sufficiently powered to answer research questions both for males and females (or men and women) if the health condition being studied occurs in both sexes/genders.
    2. Provide sex- and/or gender-specific data where relevant in all clinical, basic science, and epidemiological studies.
    3. Analyze the influence (or association) of sex or gender on the results of the study, or indicate in the Patients and Methods section why such analyses were not performed, and consider this topic as a limitation to cover in the Discussion section. Readers need to know whether the results generalize to both sexes/genders.
    4. Indicate (if sex or gender analyses were performed post-hoc) that these analyses should be interpreted cautiously because they may be underpowered (leading to a false conclusion of no difference). If there are many such analyses, indicate that they may lead to spurious significance, and an erroneous conclusion of a sex- or gender-related difference.

    Endocrinology Endocrine Society
    "The strain (when appropriate) and sex of animals used must be indicated. If both males and females were used, the numbers of animals from each sex must be indicated, and it must be indicated whether sex of animal was considered a factor in the statistical analysis of the data. Likewise, the sex from which primary cell cultures or tissues were obtained must be indicated. The authors are also encouraged to include sex of cell lines. If cells or tissues from both sexes were used without regard to sex, this should be indicated" (Instructions to Authors for Endocrinology— Manuscript Preparation, Materials and Methods).
    Journal of the International AIDS Society International AIDS Society "If the research study was specific to one sex/gender, the reasons for this should be clearly stated [...] submitting authors are strongly encouraged to include data disaggregated by sex (and, whenever possible, by race) and provide a comprehensive analysis of gender and racial differences. The authors should include the number and percentage of men, women and, if appropriate, transgender persons who participated in the research study. Anatomical and physiological differences between men and women (height, weight, body fat-to-muscle ratios, cell counts, hormonal cycles, etc.), as well as social and cultural variables (socio-economic, education, access to care, etc.), should be taken into consideration in the presentation of data and/or analysis of the results (Journal of the International AIDS SocietyAuthor Guidelines).
    The Lancet Elsevier Limited "The Lancet encourages researchers to enroll more women into clinical trials of all phases, and to plan to analyse data by sex, not only when known to be scientifi cally appropriate, but also as a matter of routine" (Lancet—Taking Sex into Account in Medicine).
    Journal of the National Cancer Institute United States National Institutes of Health (NIH)
    "Where appropriate, clinical and epidemiologic studies should be analyzed to see if there is an effect of sex or any of the major ethnic groups. If there is no effect, it should be so stated in Results” (Journal of the National Cancer Institute—Manuscript Preparation).
    Nature Nature Publishing Group (MacMillan Publishers Ltd.) “For primary research manuscripts in the Nature journals […] Sex and other characteristics of animals that may influence results must be described. Details of housing and husbandry must be included where they are likely to influence experimental results” (Nature—Guide to Authors).

    European Journal of Neuroscience


    The Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS)

    "When experimental animals are used, specify species, strain, sex, age, supplier, and numbers of animals used in total and for individual experimental conditions. The species should be identified in the Title or Abstract" (original emphasis) (European Journal of Neuroscience—Author Guidelines)

    Experimental Physiology

    The Journal of Physiology


    The Physiological Society

    For human subjects:
    "Manuscripts should state the age, sex, health status and, where necessary, fitness of participants" (Physiological Society Journals—Human Experiments)

    For animal subjects:
    "Provide details of the animals used, including species, strain, sex, developmental stage (e.g. mean or median age plus age range) and weight (e.g. mean or median weight plus weight range)" (Animal Research—Reporting In Vivo Experiments: The ARRIVE Guidelines)

    PLoS Biology Public Library of Science (PLoS)  “Experimental animals:
    • provide details of the animals used, including species, strain, sex, developmental stage (e.g., mean or median age plus age range), and weight (e.g., mean or median weight plus weight range).
    • provide details of housing […] type of cage or housing; number of cage companions” (PLoS Biology: Publishing Science, Accelerating Research).
    PLoS Medicine Public Library of Science (PLoS)  “For studies involving humans categorized by race/ethnicity, age, disease/disabilities, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, or other socially constructed groupings, authors should, as much as possible:
    • make explicit their methods of categorizing human populations;
    • define categories in as much detail as the study protocol allows;
    • justify their choices of definitions and categories, including for example whether any rules of human categorization were required by their funding agency;
    • explain whether (and if so, how) they controlled for confounding variables such as socioeconomic status, nutrition, environmental exposures, etc.” (PLoS Medicine Editorial and Publishing Policies).
    American Journal of Preventative Medicine American College of Preventative Medicine (ACPM)  “[guidelines describe] the minimum information that all scientific publications reporting research using animals should include, such as the number and specific characteristics of animals used (including species, strain, sex, and genetic background); details of housing and husbandry; and the experimental, statistical, and analytical methods (including details of methods used to reduce bias such as randomisation and blinding). The ARRIVE guidelines can be applied to any area of bioscience research using laboratory animals, and the inherent principles apply not only to reporting comparative experiments but also to other study designs” (Animals in Research—Reporting In Vivo Experiments (ARRIVE) Guidelines).



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