As part of a ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’ (DEI) initiative, some of the major academic publishers and journals are asking authors, editors and peer reviewers to provide information on their personal characteristics, including race and ethnicity.
Elsevier (a publisher of more than 2,600 journals) states the following in the final stage of the manuscript submission process:
Diversity & Inclusion
Help us establish evidence-based action plans and measure progress on diversity & inclusion goals towards greater equity in publishing and research. This data will directly inform our efforts across editorial processes but is otherwise analysed and reported in aggregate. For more information, see our FAQs.
While these questions cannot be skipped, you may opt to answer I prefer not to disclose. Individual responses will not be visible or used when evaluating journal submissions.
And the below information is provided in FAQs:
Why is Elsevier asking these questions?
By inviting Editorial Manager users to self-report their gender identity, ethnic origins and race (diversity data), Elsevier facilitates an evidence-based approach to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in research. By analysing diversity data, Elsevier aims to increase diversity and inclusion in Elsevier’s journal editorial processes, remediate unfair bias and drive greater equity in publishing and research more broadly.
I’ve expressed some of my own concerns about this to Elsevier. I’m sharing the main text of my letter below. I hope other researchers and academics, especially those on editorial boards, will raise concerns too if you feel able to do so. Please feel free to share and use this letter as you wish.
Re: Inviting Editorial Manager users to self-report their gender identity, ethnic origins, and race (diversity data)
I am writing to express some of my concerns about the above DEI initiative. I became aware of this when I recently submitted a paper to one of your journals and was asked to provide information about my personal characteristics.
I am very concerned about being asked to provide this information, even though it is an invitation and is not mandatory.
It undermines my trust and confidence in the editorial process and in academic publishing because it raises the possibility that my personal characteristics could be considered during the editorial process, or that I could be subjected to some form of differential treatment by this journal or publisher on the basis of my personal characteristics.
Read More: Why Are Academic Publishers Asking Authors Their Race?