What are the benefits of using standardised questions to collect diversity data?
Inclusion and diversity in research ensures:
entry of new researchers and opportunities for researchers of all backgrounds to advance and excel throughout their careers.
a wider range of topics and research questions will be pursued.
rigorous, reproducible and higher-quality research studies; and
equitable and widespread impact of research outcomes to benefit all of society. Societal challenges of our time make it necessary for us to harness the inclusive contribution of diverse researchers to deliver equitable impact.
Diversity data enables us to define where problems such as bias lie in scholarly publishing, put in place actions, set goals and measure progress. Using 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, set subject-specific baselines, and identify where action is most needed.
The joint commitment group’s intention is not to devise a single, objective or prescriptive “truth” about researchers’ gender identity nor race and ethnicity, rather develop a set of options that resonate with stakeholders that we serve from around the globe such that they are willing to self-report data. By employing these constructs, we aim for a data-driven approach to inform our goals around diversity, inclusion and equity in scholarly communications and research more broadly. The level of aggregation and number of options these question sets offer to researchers is intended to parallel the scale of diversity publishers can practically accommodate, e.g., diversity on editorial boards, as reviewers, or as invited speakers for conferences. The questions will be periodically reviewed and updated as necessary.