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Academic publishers announce key action on diversity data collection -

An international group aiming to eliminate bias and discrimination in academic publishing has published guidance for the collection of author data that can work between different publishers – an issue that has long been a challenge for the global scientific community.

The Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity in Publishing is led by the Royal Society of Chemistry and brings together 52 publishers representing more than half of the world’s peer-reviewed academic journals on a mission to reduce bias.

This crucial action from the Joint Commitment was spearheaded by leading publisher Elsevier and tested via a survey of more than 1,000 researchers. This approach represents a truly global framework that can be used to collect self-reported data on gender identity, ethnic origins, and race.

The Joint Commitment group was formed in 2020 after the RSC’s report “Is publishing in the chemical sciences gender-biased?” That research found women face barriers to progression at every stage of the publishing process. A new RSC report on racial inequalities, entitled “Missing Elements" has also highlighted the significant structural inequalities that Black and minoritized ethnicity scientists face.

If widely adopted, this standardized collection of data on demographic diversity will prove invaluable in allowing the industry to identify where more action is needed to reduce bias, so that tangible steps can be taken to create a more inclusive and diverse scholarly publishing environment. In particular, by having separate questions for both an author’s race and ethnic origin the data can be more easily compared on a global basis.

Inclusion and diversity in research ensure entry of new researchers and opportunities for researchers of all backgrounds to advance and excel throughout their careers; a wider range of topics and research questions are pursued; rigorous, reproducible, and higher-quality research studies; and equitable and widespread impact of research outcomes to benefit all of society.

This move to standardize the collection of diversity data is a key step toward fulfilling one of the four objectives of the group. A further objective was progressed last year when signatories of the Joint Commitment released six minimum standards to help cultivate an inclusive environment for all.

Click here to read the original press release.

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