Practicing Diversity and Inclusivity: An Editor’s Role

June 5, 2019 Natalia Ortuzar, PhD

In March 2019, Wiley welcomed a group of around 50 Editors-in-Chief for the most recent event in the Editor Symposia Series; the second such event to be hosted in North America. These symposia seek to bring together Editors from across our extensive portfolio to discuss key themes relevant to their work on our journals and ensure they are aware of best practices and emerging trends in scholarly publishing.

Natalia Ortuzar

The group was as diverse as one might imagine a cross-sample of Editors from our 1,600+ portfolio might be—with fields ranging from neuroscience to engineering, economics to philosophy, and experience as an editor from days to decades, their journals use everything from triple-blind to transparent peer review, and there was representation from traditional subscription access to fully open access journals. Despite these differences, the symposium focused on a theme important to all editors attending—diversity and inclusivity.

In my welcoming remarks as the Program Chair, I spoke of the need to critically review a journal’s editorial policies and practices to ensure the complete global community has a voice and is visible within the journal and the scholarly literature more broadly. Specifically, there were calls to consider gender balance in the Editorial Board and to insist that it be representative of the field, to engage with and support Early Career Researchers in their quest to become authors and reviewers of the scholarly literature, and to more fully involve researchers from emerging regions, such as Asia and South America, who represent an increasingly large proportion of the global researcher workforce and author base but tend to be poorly represented on journal boards and in reviewer pools. From the nods in the room, it was clear the data presented sent an irrefutable message.

Jay Flynn delivering a keynote

A keynote from Jay Flynn, Wiley’s Chief Product Officer and SVP of Wiley Research Product, the division responsible for the management of all of Wiley’s research products, including journals, set the tone for the symposium. Jay outlined the importance of the topic and how those efforts to drive diversity and inclusivity fit with the strategic vision of Wiley and the central importance of a portfolio that serves the global community now and in the future.

It is hard to consider inclusivity without broaching the subject of Open Research and similarly to discuss emerging regions without looking to China as an example of unprecedented growth and opportunity. It will come as no surprise that the two external speakers invited to give keynotes covered these two topics.

Dr. Jingfeng Xia

Dr. Jingfeng Xia, Dean of the Library at East Stroudsburg University and author of several articles and books on the topic of scholarly publishing in China, gave an informative talk that sought to dispel myths often held about the Chinese market by Editors and Publishers alike. China as a market can appear opaque to those unfamiliar with the university structure and academic reward programs; Jingfeng was able to educate the Editors in several enlightening ways.

Dr. David Mellor, Director of Policy Initiatives at the Center for Open Science, gave the second keynote and discussed the importance of transparent research practices to build communities. This keynote led to many topics of conversation discussed in greater detail in a workshop led by David together with Wiley’s own Elizabeth Moylan from the Research Integrity & Publishing Ethics team. David and Elizabeth held a brainstorming session with Editors on how to implement open research policies that support their authors and the research community their journal serves.

The Open Research workshop was one of several such sessions we hosted for the Editors. Led by Wiley colleagues, the topics covered included the importance of proactive scope development through commissioning efforts to ensure the journal adapts and evolves with the field it serves; a deep-dive into research integrity and publishing ethics; how to build and maintain an effective Editorial Board and to ensure members are advocates for the journal in their community; best practices in peer review; and engaging Early Career Researchers as both the voice of the future and the authors of today.

Natalia Ortuzar, David Mellor, Danielle Reisch, and Deirdre Silver

The Early Career Researcher workshop was made all the more powerful by the previous evening’s social event—a roundtable discussion with PhD students and post-docs from the NJ/NY area followed by an informal reception at which Editors and Early Career Researchers could freely exchange experiences and ideas, and help drive understanding on both sides about the needs and frustrations of this typically unrepresented and under-voiced section of the research community.

The final session of the two-day event was a panel discussion on the future of scholarly publishing. We are in a highly disrupted market, with Europe increasingly favoring open access and “Publish & Read” deals becoming more common. Alongside these developments, artificial intelligence and other technologies are driving innovation in all aspects of scholarly communication but especially authorship and readership. So the panel discussion presented a critical opportunity for Editors to hear from and question the experts. This engaging and productive panel included Deirdre Silver, the Associate General Counsel for Wiley Research and an architect of the recently announced Projekt DEAL agreement with Wiley, Danielle Reisch, Director of Digital Experience for Wiley Research Product, and David Mellor.

Brian Napack

Brian Napack, Wiley’s President & CEO, joined for the closing remarks. Addressing the Editors, Brian spoke of Wiley’s commitment to the long-term success of the journals and to our authors. Candid remarks about the transition to open access and the evolving shape of the scholarly publishing landscape helped provide Editors with additional context around the theme of the symposium. With these sentiments ringing in their ears, all that was left was for me to thank all involved—from the facilities and organizing teams, to the colleagues that led the strategic discussions, to the external speakers and, of course, the attendant Editors.

Feedback, both informal through passing remarks and formal through a post-event survey, suggests that everyone left the symposium with plenty of food for thought and, more importantly, a strong sense of the needs and benefits of driving greater diversity and inclusivity on their journal and the support and expertise Wiley can offer them to do so.

About the Author

Director, Product Performance, Wiley

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