This COPE discussion document begins a process of addressing the wide range of themes, challenges and changes required to establish a more inclusive and diverse scholarly publishing community. COPE welcomes comments which add to the ongoing debate.
The introduction provides the context, scale and scope of the document in addressing the issues related to diversity, equity and inclusivity (DEI). Initial recommendations for the promotion of social justice and equality within scholarly publishing are around four major themes: identifying subjects of discrimination, representational issues in workforce discrimination and marginalisation, impact of discriminatory practices in peer review and editorial decision making, and the marginalisation of research topics through citation lexicons and algorithms.
- The scope of this topic is broad and complex, and invites various opinions about appropriate solutions and action. Consequently, this is a discussion document rather than prescriptive guidance with respect to addressing the issues.
- Establishing non-discriminatory practices in scholarly activity may require a rethink of notions of expertise and knowledge in a field to incorporate scientifically valid social positions.
- Discriminatory practices in the design or implementation of research may result in the unethical treatment of certain persons in human subject or participant research.
- Gender representation among employees across the workforce of academic publishing is not balanced, with gaps in equitable representation for persons of colour, those with disabilities, and those with different gender identities.
- Research on the composition of editorial boards suggests bias against women, and geographic factors that favours authors from North America and Europe.
- Bias and unjustified prejudice in peer review or editorial decision making does not represent rigorous best practice in the pursuit of knowledge.
- Shared characteristics between author and reviewer has an impact on peer review and publication outcomes.
- English language requirements of indexing databases may be catalysing and sustaining biased, discriminatory and disproportionate publication behaviours globally.
- Commitment to ethical principles of diversity, equity and inclusivity should include the development and implementation of DEI policy.
- It is the publisher’s responsibility to address the consequences of acts of discrimination within or impacting a particular journal.
COPE welcomes feedback from publishers, journal editors, reviewers, researchers, institutions, librarians, funders, and other stakeholders on this subject. Add your feedback below.
- Driving diversity, equity, and inclusion to shape the future of publication ethics, COPE Seminar 2021
- Diversifying editorial boards, article, 2021
- Author name changes working group, article, January 2021
- A vision for a more trans-inclusive publishing world, high level principles for name changes in publishing, guest article, January 2021
- Diversity, equity and inclusion in scholarly research and publishing, COPE webinar 2021
- Bias in peer review, COPE Forum discussion, October 2021
- What does peer review mean in the arts, humanities and social sciences?, COPE Forum discussion, June 2020