SCOOP: Open Access Week 2021 – Building Structural Equity/
October 04, 2021
Earlier this year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a draft document for comment on the topic of open science. Within this document, the drafters articulate several core values and guiding principles of open science/open access. Notably, there is an emphasis on equity and fairness and on diversity and inclusivity. In furtherance of UNESCO’s recommendations, the organizers of Open Access Week declared the 2021 theme “It Matters How We Open Knowledge: Building Structural Equity.”
To commemorate Open Access Week 2021 and the theme of structural equity, the SCOOP will look at two recent resources aimed at helping organizations generally and library publishers specifically to construct a framework that will aid in ensuring equity and diversity and combat racism and oppression.
Antiracism Toolkit for Organizations
The Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC) has endeavored to prepare and publish three toolkits to promote equity within actors in the scholarly communication space. Last year, C4DISC released the first of these toolkits aimed toward allies. This summer, they published the second toolkit, the Antiracism Toolkit for Organizations. This new toolkit is for organizations that are engaged in scholarly publishing. It provides guidelines and resources to aid the leaders and managers, including those working in human resources, in creating structures, policies, and procedures to address systemic inequities.
This toolkit is focused on helping organizations transform their workplaces through antiracism. While this transformation will have ripple effects on how we do the work of publishing, we believe that the practical steps needed to transform our publishing practices and address the many inequities created by systemic racism and bias for our readers and researchers necessitate their own resources. In short, this guide will be useful for publishers implementing (or preparing to implement) organizational change, but it is only a small contribution to the groundwork that is needed to more fully transform the scholarly communications ecosystem.
The toolkit includes an extensive section on how an organization can work to become antiracist through recruitment and hiring, employee evaluation and retention, addressing microaggressions in the workplace, and, as has become increasingly important in the last eighteen months, fostering antiracism in a distributed workforce. Additionally, the toolkit provides guidance on how organizations can assess and measure their work in this area and the appropriate applications and usage of data collected through this assessment exercise. The toolkit offers an extensive resources section, as well, to which organizations can refer as they engage in this work.
Library Publishing Coalition Roadmap for Anti-Racist Practice
As a membership organization supporting library publishers and engaging with other entities in the scholarly communication space, the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) is committed to investigating its own practices and behaviors. The LPC conducted a community call last fall wherein library publishing workers from member institutions engaged in discussion and provided feedback on whether LPC has perpetuated inequality and marginalization of BIPOC. Through its Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the LPC prepared a Roadmap for Anti-Racist Practice, which outlines various assessments and activities to be undertaken by LPC’s staff, Board, and committees to address anti-racism and anti-oppression within the structure and practices of LPC. The intent is that this roadmap will, in turn, inform libraries and library publishers in conducting their own reviews of their programs.
- Charlotte Roh, Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of San Francisco and a guest speaker at the 2020 Atla Open Press Advisory Council strategic meeting, has actively engaged in educating the library and publishing professions on diversity issues. This is a great time to revisit her 2016 editorial on library publishing and diversity values.
- Reflecting upon Roh’s work in this field, the Scholarly Kitchen blog published a post earlier this year on “Reckoning with Whiteness in Scholarly Publishing.”
- Gender disparity problems plague scholarly publishing. Read this 2021 Nature Index piece on how the APC model of open access contributes to this problem.
- Equity and inclusion has been the theme of the last three years of Open Access Week, and the SCOOP has addressed that topic in turn. Give our 2018, 2019, and 2020 posts a re-read for more on diversity, equity, and inclusion in open access publishing.
The SCOOP, Scholarly COmmunication and Open Publishing, is a monthly column published to inform Atla members of recent developments, new resources, or interesting stories from the realm of scholarly communication and open access publishing.
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