Scientists who publish in Cell Press research journals (e.g., Cell, Joule, Current Biology, etc.) will now have the option to include a short statement that highlights elements of the study design and/or author characteristics that are relevant to inclusion and diversity. The statement is generated based on information provided on a dedicated inclusion and diversity form that study authors complete as part of the acceptance process. This pilot initiative will also allow Cell Press to better collect, analyze, and share back data about research teams' general inclusion and diversity efforts.
"In an ideal world, science would cover and be conducted by as broad a range of individuals as exist in global society, with everyone who wants to participate both being and feeling welcomed as part of the overall scientific community. Currently, however, the scientific enterprise is a long way from such inclusion and diversity," says Anne Kitson, Managing Director, Cell Press and The Lancet. "We want to find ways to push for positive change through the platform of our journals. As part of that, we see an opportunity to give authors the ability to share efforts that that they are making too."
The concept underlying this initiative is similar to existing statements about declarations of interests, author contributions, and data and code availability but focuses on highlighting aspects of the paper that are relevant to inclusion and diversity. It is purposely multifunctional and designed to give authors a venue to express ways in which their work, their research group, or both are contributing to helping science become more inclusive and diverse. It also reflects the focus of Elsevier's Inclusion and Diversity Board and a broader commitment to promoting women in science as well as racial, ethnic and geographic diversity in editorial boards, peer review and scientific conferences while supporting publication and inclusive participation in research.
Researchers can include information about efforts to ensure diversity in cell lines or genomic datasets used for a study, efforts to ensure sex/gender balance in research subjects, efforts to ensure that any study questionnaires are prepared in an inclusive way, efforts to avoid "helicopter science," self-identification of authors as members minority groups, support that any authors have received from programs designed to support minority scientists, and efforts made to promote gender balance in citation lists.
For example, one paper's inclusion and diversity statement could read: "We worked to ensure sex balance in the selection of non-human subjects. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as living with a disability. One or more of the authors of this paper received support from a program designed to increase minority representation in science." Cell Press will run this program as a pilot during the course of 2021 and then decide whether to continue, adapt, or build on it towards the end of the year. The first iteration will focus on research articles only.
"Any research group that doesn't want to publish a statement will not be required, but Cell Press will keep the data submitted via the inclusion and diversity forms for aggregated reporting. "We need to have data to help us monitor progress. We hope to be able to use it to benchmark and set goals for the types of inclusion and diversity efforts that Cell Press and our authors are making," says John Pham, Editor-in-Chief of Cell. "For example, we would like to be able to report how many of our papers have at least one minority scientist among the author group or made efforts to consider diversity in the selection of experimental materials or samples. We can then develop ways to challenge ourselves and the community to increase diversity and monitor outcomes."
"We hope that this new inclusion and diversity initiative will give our authors a powerful opportunity to share their contributions in a visible way within the context of their article," says Deborah Sweet, Cell Press Vice President of Editorial. "We see it as a way to acknowledge current authors who have worked to improve inclusion and diversity in science and encourage others to do more going forward. We also hope it will be a source of inspiration and confidence within the scientific community and beyond."
Cell, Sweet, D.:" New at Cell Press: the inclusion and diversity statement" https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)31689-5
For a list of FAQs about the inclusion and diversity statement initiative, please visit: https:/
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