Most academics agree that inclusivity is important, reveals Emerald’s survey of 1,199 academics from across the world. In particular, more than 80% say inclusion is important in the academic workplace, in research methodology and practices, and in publishing practices.
When asked about the advantages of inclusivity in academia, 90% agreed it promotes diversity of thought, 88% thought it creates a more open learning culture and 87% believe it has a positive effect on creative thinking. However, 1 in 5 also chose the option, ‘Inclusivity does not provide any noticeable benefits’, up significantly from 2020 (13%).
Almost a third of academics experience discrimination and other anti-inclusive behaviours in the workplace. Experiences include verbal microaggressions (32%), behavioural microaggressions (29%) and psychological harassment (28%), followed by gender discrimination and age discrimination (27%). Women academics appear more adversely affected than men academics: 46% of women versus 15% of men have experienced gender discrimination; 38% of women versus 29% of men have experienced verbal microaggressions, and 34% of women versus 25% of men for behavioural microaggressions; men are more likely to say they have not had any experience of bullying or discrimination – 31% compared to 19% of women; and nearly double the proportion of men say that inclusivity does not provide any noticeable benefits – 22% versus 12% of women.
Despite the concerning statistics around anti-inclusive behaviour, there are positive signs that institutions are acting, with 60% of academics saying their institution has taken initiatives to promote a more inclusive work environment. However, there is no one size fits all solution.
Challenges remain around recruitment and promotional bias (57%), the impact of limited funding and budget squeezes (50%), lack of awareness of the issues (48%) and a fear of rocking the boat (43%). What comes out strongly is a divided research community. While there is strong support for equality, diversity and inclusion among academics, there are concerns that initiatives are tokenistic or not inclusive of all. Then there are others who see the inclusivity agenda as a threat to progress and meritocracy. Interestingly, fear of rocking the boat is highest in the UK (64%) and mainly among women academics (51% versus 38% of men).
On a more positive note, when it comes to designing and planning their research, 54% of researchers say diversity and inclusion is their main goal or place high importance to it. Conversely, 20% say it is of low importance, indicating more work is needed to change mindsets around inclusive research practices.
Most academics agree that publishers have a role to play, with 70% saying publishers could help researchers create a more inclusive society by removing paywalls (74.5%), making research more discoverable (74.4%) and offering more routes to open access (71.6%).
The 2022 Global Inclusivity report forms part of Emerald’s Power of Diverse Voices campaign, which launched in 2020 and aims to amplify underrepresented voices to create a more equitable research environment. Emerald this year also relaunched its Impact Manifesto, pledging six commitments for change that will advance ongoing debates around academic culture, incentives and research evaluation, including a commitment to develop more equitable and accessible ways to publish research.
In support of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its vision of a world where no one is left behind, Emerald aspires to publish research that gives all voices an opportunity to be heard and understood. It is a signatory to the Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity in Publishing and currently publishes research from diverse communities across more than 130 countries.
Emerald is also a founding signatory of the UN SDG Publishers Compact and is championing the SDGs through its content and wider initiatives. Its content focuses on mission-led research that aligns to multiple SDGs under the goals of Fairer Society, Healthier Lives, Responsible Management and Quality Education for All.
The principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are important in the workplace too. In 2021, Emerald built on the strong foundation of employee engagement by combining the existing diversity and inclusion networks within each of its businesses. Sponsored by the executive steering committee, and with colleague representation from many demographics and intersections, the group-wide network has the autonomy, authority, and resource to actively shape Emerald’s diversity, inclusion, and accessibility programme.Click here to read the original press release.