Research suggests that having employees with diverse voices, perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds in the work environment can increase success and productivity. According to the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC), multiple surveys have highlighted issues of gender equality and lack of ethnic diversity in the scholarly communications workforce. Awareness of these issues has only increased in light of social justice movements that have continued to gain momentum since 2013.
“After centuries of systemic racism against Black, indigenous, and people of color, the Black Lives Matter movement is finally being taken more seriously. But while there is cause for cautious hope that change may be on the way, it is not here yet,” wrote Alice Meadows, the National Information Standards Organization’s Director of Community Engagement, in a blog post announcing the launch of C4DISC. “Launching an organization that will enable us to meaningfully engage in the diversity, equity, and inclusion work that the scholarly publishing/communications ecosystem needs more than ever, is a necessity, not a nice-to-have.”
Representatives from 10 organization first met at the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting in 2017 to discuss their shared interest in addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges. Areas of focus that came from the meeting included developing a joint statement of principles; conducting market research; providing training resources, best practices, toolkits, and documentation for collective memberships; and establishing outreach programs, curricula, events, and publications.
The Association of University Presses and the SSP serve as joint host organizations, and coalition representatives meet monthly to work on these initiatives and welcome other organizations to join them as partners. Formal membership is reserved to consortial groups with a mission and membership related to scholarly communications, but other individuals and organizations can get involved by volunteering for working groups, making a donation to the coalition, or joining the more than 60 organizations that have adopted the C4DISC Joint Statement of Principles.
The Ochsner Journal Editorial Board recognizes the need to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scholarly communications industry and feels that efforts such as C4DISC are a step in the right direction.