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Academic publishers collaborating in fight against bias announce key action on diversity data collection

  • Date 19 Apr 2022

An international group aiming to eliminate bias and discrimination in academic publishing has today 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.

Dr Nicola Nugent, publishing manager, quality and ethics at the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “Without robust diversity data we cannot begin to define where problems such as bias lie in scholarly publishing – let alone put in place meaningful actions, set goals and measure progress. Agreeing a standardised set of questions to collect data puts us in the best position to create comparable, aggregated and anonymised datasets between journals and publishers

“I’m proud that the RSC will soon be implementing these actions ourselves, and our Joint Commitment gives us a foundation to bring together publishers globally to find answers to questions that have been overlooked for decades”

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.

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