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10 Sep | Diversity & Inclusion

Peer Review Week 2018: Diversity and Inclusion 10-15 September

Peer Review Week is a global event celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. The event brings together individuals, institutions, and organizations committed to sharing the central message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications.

The lack of diversity and inclusion in scholarly communications is increasingly well-documented. As the recent Workplace Equity Project survey shows, we are an overwhelmingly white and cis-female industry, with a leadership that is disproportionately white male dominated. And this isn’t just the case in scholarly publishing. There’s a “diversity crisis in academia” according to Times Higher Education; “a feedback loop in scholarship that privileges and publishes the majority voice, which is often white and male,” per College and Research Libraries News; or, as Safiya Noble put it, writing on the Scholarly Kitchen, “the whole system reproduces and consolidates power among a relatively small group of people.” What’s more, as Sara Rouhi pointed out in her 2017 Scholarly Kitchen guest post:

"These folks created the paradigm, its rules of engagement (Study with this professor! Postdoc at that institution! Publish or perish!), its costs for entry (JIF! Citations!), and its prizes (Tenure! Grant money! Status!). Everyone else – the global south and non-white, non-western countries – starts at a disadvantage by not belonging to the dominant group and constantly confronting the structural inequities of that exclusion".

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, it’s becoming more and more apparent that peer review is likewise less diverse and more biased than it could or should be, which is hindering our efforts to ensure an inclusive, ethical, trustworthy scholarly communications ecosystem.

by Alice Meadows

Scholarly Kitchen, 13 September 2018