Despite increasing recognition of the need for more diverse and equitable representation in the sciences, it is unclear whether measurable progress has been made. Here, we examine trends in authorship in coral reef science from 1,677 articles published over the past 16 years (2003–2018) and find that while representation of authors that are women (from 18 to 33%) and from non-OECD nations (from 4 to 13%) have increased over time, progress is slow in achieving more equitable representation. For example, at the current rate, it would take over two decades for female representation to reach 50%. Given that there are more coral reef non-OECD countries, at the current rate, truly equitable representation of non-OECD countries would take even longer. OECD nations also continue to dominate authorship contributions in coral reef science (89%), in research conducted in both OECD (63%) and non-OECD nations (68%). We identify systemic issues that remain prevalent in coral reef science (i.e., parachute science, gender bias) that likely contribute to observed trends. We provide recommendations to address systemic biases in research to foster a more inclusive global science community. Adoption of these recommendations will lead to more creative, innovative, and impactful scientific approaches urgently needed for coral reefs and contribute to environmental justice efforts.
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- coral reef science