The Australian Publishing industry is being challenged, along with many others, to reflect on the progress we have made in embracing diversity and inclusion. While much of the focus has been on trade publishing, academic and scholarly publishing is also working towards addressing these challenges and finding opportunities for improvement.
CSIRO Publishing publishes academic journals alongside books and magazines, and have a unique opportunity to promote values of diversity and inclusion in scientific scholarly communication.
We caught up with Andrew Stammer, Director of CSIRO Publishing, to learn about some of the ways they’re moving towards inclusivity, and he noted the questions that publishers are asking themselves: “are we representing diverse voices and topics in our content, in our advisors and committees, and in our teams? And are we ensuring our diverse partners are made to feel they are welcome and belong?”
This year CSIRO have made a variety of changes to address some of these questions, starting by developing inclusive publishing policies that align with international protocols and standards. They are also working towards targets of gender balance on Editorial Boards, and have revised copyeditor guidelines for the use of inclusive and respectful language.
Other practical steps taken this year include encouraging reviewers to recommend early career researchers who would benefit from experience as peer reviewers, a way of broadening and diversifying this talent pool.
As part of their commitment to providing a safe and inclusive place for all authors, CSIRO have developed a policy to enable authors to change their names post-publication for personal reasons, such as religious conversion and gender identity. They’ve also embraced gender-neutral title options (Ind, Mx) in their online submission system, for authors who do not identify as a particular gender or do not want to be identified by gender.
To support the integration of diverse histories, knowledge and perspectives in publications, as well as representing traditional practices and voices of First Nations peoples, CSIRO have put in place new guidelines for using inclusive language and sensitivities statements.
These steps are only the beginning, with Andrew explaining: “These are not end points but represent steady progress and a commitment to do better to embrace difference. We hope all publishers look to their plans for 2022 to increase their awareness and implement action plans for diversity, inclusion and belonging.”