Why DEI?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in publishing represents both a set of guidelines for ethical publishing practices as well as a growing body of research that demonstrates the potential for innovation and collaboration when drawing on a range of perspectives and lived experiences. 

Why foreground diversity, equity, and inclusion within the work of scholarly publishing? For journals that employ open calls for papers and consistent modes of anonymous peer review, it may be tempting to consider our processes fair and inclusive. When we note disparities—e.g., we receive manuscripts from mostly white authors—we may attribute these to broader inequities, “pipeline” problems, or lack of representation in our disciplines rather than our own publishing practice.

This guide asserts that journal editors, authors, and publishers play a major role in reinforcing or subverting these biases across academia. As the Antiracism Toolkit for Allies (released by the Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications) suggests, “To ensure that scholarly publications reach their widest possible audience and provide scholars a transparent and equitable path to publication, unimpeded by bias, it is essential that our industry address the systemic role that racism plays” (2021). By accepting this as a responsibility all of us share, we can work together to undertake concrete, feasible actions. Rather than undertaking the work of DEI separately from other aspects of publishing, we seek to highlight how our policies, workflows, communications, and scholarship may contribute to a stronger, more just research ecosystem.

Defining our terms

Diversity, equity, and inclusion—along with other terms such as justice and antiracism—are often used interchangeably or grouped to represent a complex set of values and practices. This guide refers frequently to “DEI”; we define these as distinct terms that should build upon one another to lead to long-term change:

  • Diversity: Representation of individuals or organizations with varied perspectives and lived experiences based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, neurodiversity, socioeconomic status, nationality, language, or other factors. Diversity may speak to who is at the table (e.g., the makeup of an editorial board) but does not necessarily address the systems or dynamics that reinforce bias.
  • Equity: Recognition of the explicit policies and implicit practices that may prevent individuals and groups from accessing or sharing knowledge or from receiving acknowledgment for their intellectual labor. Equitable publications also consider disparities in wealth and technology when developing plans for financial sustainability and access.
  • Inclusion: Sustained action and long-term stewardship of policies and practices informed by a diverse set of perspectives. Inclusive journals consider diversity and equity consistently throughout the publishing process, intentionally provide a platform for voices and perspectives that are too often silenced, and make changes based on the needs and experiences of stakeholders.

What can journals committed to DEI achieve?

Research in neuroscience and psychology has delved into the potential to identify and undermine our individual and implicit biases over time, leveraging the brain’s “neuroplasticity” (Agarwal, 2020). But such biases remain unchallenged unless we intentionally seek out and value the perspectives of those with different professional and lived experiences rooted in a range of identities. Across disciplines, the evidence is overwhelming that while researchers and students are often underrepresented and under-acknowledged for their work based on a range of biases, bringing together a diversity of perspectives is crucial to high-quality scholarship (Hofstra et al., 2020). Prioritizing DEI is key to accomplishing transparency, transnationality, and innovation. Most importantly, these principles are crucial to academia’s stated values of ethical research.

Diverse teams—especially those that prioritize and amplify the perspectives of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)—work to:

  • Capitalize on innovative ideas and broader perspectives.
  • Outperform homogenous teams. 
  • Improve recruitment and retention of authors, stakeholders, readers.
  • Promote ethical practice and enhance cultural responsiveness.
  • Promote more effective dissemination of knowledge.

Our commitment to DEI

The LibraryPress@UF adheres to the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications Joint Statement of Principles. We are committed to:

  1. Eliminating barriers to participation, extending equitable opportunities across all stakeholders, and ensuring that our practices and policies promote equitable treatment and do not allow, condone, or result in discrimination;
  2. Creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences;
  3. Promoting diversity in all staff, volunteers, and audiences, including full participation in programs, policy formulation, and decision-making;
  4. Raising awareness about career opportunities in our industries to groups who are currently underrepresented in the workforce;
  5. Supporting our members in achieving diversity and inclusion within their organizations.

References and resources

Agarwal, P. (2020, April 12). What neuroimaging can tell us about our unconscious biases. Scientific American Blog Network. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/what-neuroimaging-can-tell-us-about-our-unconscious-biases/

Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications. (n.d.). The antiracism toolkit for allies. Retrieved June 17, 2021 from https://c4disc.files.wordpress.com/2020/08/toolkits-for-equity_antiracism_allies.pdf

Hofstra, B., Kulkarni, V. V., Muñoz-Najar Galvez, S., He, B., Jurafsky, D., & McFarland, D. A. (2020). The diversity–innovation paradox in science.