Publishers responsible for tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journals and books have signed an agreement to take a proactive stance against bias, as they commit to working together to better reflect the diversity of their communities and to remove barriers for under-represented groups.
The joint statement will impact scholarly publishing on a global scale, having been initiated by the Royal Society of Chemistry and signed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), BMJ, Cambridge University Press, the Company of Biologists, Emerald Publishing, Elsevier, Hindawi, IOP Publishing, Oxford University Press and Royal Society Publishing. The 11 publishers have portfolios ranging across disciplines including STEM and medicine to the humanities and social sciences.
Agreement on the joint declaration was reached in a workshop organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), after it shared its pioneering Framework for Action in Scientific Publishing – an action-focussed ‘roadmap’ to minimise exclusion and bias in its publications, also released publicly this week.
Previous research conducted by the RSC has shown that the gender of a scientific author, peer-reviewer or editor can influence the likelihood of a scientist’s research being published.
All signatories of the commitment agreed to pool their resources and knowledge to agree four initial actions to set a new standard in scholarly publishing, including collaborating on self-reported diversity data collection and uncovering subject-specific baselines so targets can be set to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of authors, reviewers and editorial decision-makers.
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