The decision to publish this report marks a milestone in our reinvigorated inclusion and diversity strategy, the foundations of which we laid in 2018 when our report Diversity landscape of the chemical sciences stated our ambition that “chemistry should be for everyone.”
We will use the findings to ensure we meet good practice, benchmark our current activities and reflect as to where we can and should improve our services and processes. The report also increases our openness and transparency, and exemplifies the need for self-reported diversity data to make chemistry more accessible and inclusive for all.
Our CEO Dr Helen Pain said: “In the past year alone, we have published findings of bias in scientific publishing, of exclusionary factors in schools, and of a worrying decline in career progression for women and ethnic minority academic chemists. For each of those issues and more, we have spearheaded action driven by the data.
“While publishing this report is an important step, we aim to report more and better quality data in the future. We will further develop trust with our community to encourage higher rates of self-reporting – as where self-reporting is low, we aren’t able to learn as much from our data, and cannot transform that into corrective action.”
Collecting data in a transparent and fair manner is challenging. Today we also announce that we have updated our journal submission and peer review system to enable diversity data collection relating to gender. This data will be self-reported and authors, reviewers and editors do not have to provide this information if they do not wish to.
We are one of the first publishers to take this step toward collecting self-reported diversity data to better understand our publishing community and eliminate biases from our activities. It will allow us to analyse gender on a journal-by-journal basis as well as on a publisher level, so we will be able to discuss any trends we find with our editorial boards and work on actions to address them. We will also continually review and improve our own processes to make sure we consider high quality data collection for every initiative and activity we run.
It marks the start of self-reporting diversity data within our processes. We are also currently working with 31 other publishers (number correct at the time of writing) internationally toward making collective improvements to data collection – this was central to the Joint agreement to inclusion and diversity in publishing we spearheaded this year to reduce bias in scholarly publishing.
Dr Pain added: “If we are to ensure talented people thrive and progress in chemistry, we need much greater transparency in reporting the data that gives us insight into the barriers people face – and the ways we can remove them.
“Having learned a great deal in the two years since publishing Diversity landscape of the chemical sciences, we have launched an ambitious new five-year strategy for inclusion and diversity. Fundamental to that strategy is reliable, high quality data collection and analysis: using reports like this one, bespoke research programmes on specific areas like ethnicity, disability and socio-economic factors, and the further cooperation of the wider chemistry community in reporting inclusion and diversity data.”
Our next diversity data report will be published in 2022, with this year’s report forming our benchmark for progress on inclusion and diversity.