Scholarly Communication is a global and complex industry with the potential to involve individuals from different background, with differing abilities, with a multitude of circumstances. How can we move from thinking about diversity and inclusivity to developing a truly diverse culture? How can we combat our biases and preconceived notions based on where people and publications come from, what they look like, and their individual circumstances. This session will discuss the geo-spatial bias that affects the reception of publications from the Global South. It will detail misconceptions about working with people of different abilities and different life circumstances such as pregnancy and parenting.

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Parallel 2b – Kate Smith
Parallel 2b – Sioux Cumming
Parallel 2b – Simon Holt


Mrs. Sara Rouhi
Director, Strategic Partnerships, PLOS
Sara Rouhi is the Director of Strategic Partnerships at PLOS. She previously managed business development at Digital Science for both Altmetric and Dimensions as well as author and library outreach at ACS Publications. She is a member of SSP’s Education Committee and ALPSP’s North American Steering Committee, and she co-founded the International Society of Medical Publications Planning’s (ISMPP) Altmetrics working group. She was the recipient of the SSP’s Emerging Leader award in 2015 and writes and speaks frequently on metrics, open access, and diversity in scholarly communications. She performs comedy frequently in the DC area with her improv troupe, Sistine Robot, and rants occasionally on Twitter @RouhiRoo.


Ms. Sioux Cumming
Programme Specialist, INASP
Sioux has worked on and managed INASP’s Journals Online project since 2003. During this time she has helped establish and maintain eight JOLs platforms.. She has also been instrumental in bringing international standards and initiatives such as DOIs, eISSNs, Crossref Similarity Check and article-level metrics to the journals. In collaboration with African Journals Online, she helped to develop and is implementing the Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) framework to help journals improve their publishing quality. Prior to joining INASP, Sioux was a lecturer in Geography at the University of Zimbabwe for 23 years where she was also the editor and manager of a journal for many years.

Simon Holt
Senior Commissioning Editor and Chair of Elsevier Enabled, Elsevier
Simon Holt is Senior Acquisitions Editor for Micro- and Nanotechnology books at Elsevier. Chair of Elsevier Enabled, an international group of employees representing people with disabilities, and also sits on Elsevier’s Diversity & Inclusion Working Group. His mission is to project a positive image of people with disabilities throughout the publishing industry.

Kate Smith
Marketing Director, Wiley
Kate Smith has been with Wiley for 16 years, she actively mentors and coaches both within the company and outside the industry, and led the Wiley GPG External Engagement Workstream following the first GPG report. She set up the Lean In initiative in the Oxford office, and through this facilitates workshops and a mentoring scheme. Kate has recently undertaken a MA in Coaching and Mentoring at Oxford Brookes with a focus on coaching return-to-work parents and is setting up ap pilot return-to-work coaching programme at Wiley.

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[00:00:00.00] [MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:15.65] SARA ROUHI: Good morning. My name is Sara Rouhi. I am director of strategic partnerships at PLOS. Heather Staines very generously let me chair this session today. It was of particular interest to me, given some the discussions we’ve all had yesterday and some of the broader discussions in our current political moments on various sides of the pond. These conversations, I think, are more important than ever. So thank you, Heather, for the opportunity.
[00:00:40.95] I’m really excited to be sharing the stage with our three panelists. We’ve got Simon Holt from Elsevier, he’ll be speaking first; Katie Smith from Wiley; and Sioux Cummings from INASP. And I think what we’re trying to do with the session today, and perhaps riffing on my comment yesterday, was not thinking about diversity in terms of filling a certain number of seats with a certain kind of person– although, there is a place for that– but really thinking of diversity as, what traits and skills and qualities do we need to make our teams more successful? And what are our blind spots in identifying the people who can bring those?
[00:01:17.72] So we want to throw the net really wide in terms of thinking of who those individuals are that we may not be aware of, because they work remote, so we never see them, because they’re specially abled, so maybe they don’t attend to everything that we do, because they have kids so they leave work a little early and don’t make it to happy hour, right? These are the threads we want to tease out today.
[00:01:39.60] So with that, I think each of you are doing five to seven minutes on slides, and then we’d like to just dive into a conversation with both you and with the panel. So with that, I’ll let you take it away, Simon.
[00:01:50.98] SIMON HOLT: OK. All right, so my name’s Simon Holt. I’m a senior editor at Elsevier. And this talk is all about disability inclusion in the publishing industry, the problem solvers you don’t know about yet. So I’m going to start off with some statistics. As you can see from the slide here, the definition– the UK government definition anyway of who has a disability is quite a broad one. And it talks about a substantial impact on daily life. So that could mean, obviously, a whole host of things and takes into account mental health and neurological diversity, as well as, obviously, physical disabilities.
[00:02:37.45] We can see here also that people with disabilities make up 15% of the population. But also, if you have a disability in the US and the UK, you’re 30% less likely to have a job than the rest of the population. Looking on the UN website the other day, I realized the situation is even worse in other countries. As you can also see from here, the Publishers’ Association does a survey every two years, I think it is, where they ask people to a survey of different demographics and only 5.4% of people who replied last time identified as having a disability.
[00:03:15.61] Now, obviously, that’s not everybody in publishing, but it does show it was quite a sizable gap between the general population and the publishing industry. So we clearly have a little bit of work to do. So why is this important? Beyond doing the right thing, this isn’t a charity act. This isn’t about doing the right thing. This is about making sensible business choices and business decisions that will help your business perform better.
[00:03:47.22] What do I mean by that? Well, more generally, why is diversity important? Well, diversity is important because it means that we have different perspectives. And if we have different perspectives, we’re more likely to make better decisions. Here, obviously, we talk quite a lot about science and data in particular. The data suggests diverse teams perform better.
[00:04:09.39] When I see somebody with a disability, I see somebody who is resilient. I see somebody who’s resourceful. I see somebody who’s good at problem solving. I see somebody who is good at building relationships. And I see somebody who will probably invest in your company for quite a long time. Those are all skills that I think you want at your company.
[00:04:31.78] So next time somebody with a disability comes for an interview, that’s what you need to think about. Instead of all the limiting stuff, it’s actually about empowering thinking. Well, what do they bring to the table? What does their life experience and their life challenge mean that they have that can help you? More importantly or equally as importantly, it’s about reflecting our customers and reflecting our authors as well, because, actually, some of them might have disabilities, too. And as publishers, we’re gatekeepers. If we’re not diverse, how are we going to publish diverse content? How are we going to reflect what’s out there in the real world? That’s why we should be thinking about this.
[00:05:13.33] As I mentioned before, this is an untapped resource of the candidate pool. Why would you not want to be a part of that? So obviously [INAUDIBLE] I’m from Elsevier. So I thought I’d better say what is Elsevier doing. I’ve worked at Elsevier for six years now. And I would say that in the past two years or past 18 months in particular there’s been quite a radical cultural shift within the company that’s been really great to see.
[00:05:39.66] So we’re now doing quite a lot in terms of accessibility of our products, so on things like Science Direct for our customers. Obviously, all the information is up there. We appointed a full time head of diversity inclusion in January. Last year, we made all the managers in the whole company do compulsory unconscious bias training, in-person courses. And we also now have several groups aimed at diversity and inclusion, so Women’s Network Pride, African Ancestry Network, Generations Elsevier, et cetera representing different demographics. And the idea is these are all meant to showcase different perspectives, make people feel empowered, make sure people have a voice.
[00:06:30.27] That’s all great, but what about your actual employees? So last year, we had a chat like a lot of companies do about diversity inclusion in light of the gender pay gap. And HR talked a lot about what we were doing in different areas. Disability wasn’t mentioned. I thought, well, got two choices here. I can either feel annoyed about it and complain, or I can do something about it. So I decided to do something about it. No one asked me to, but I did anyway.
[00:07:06.69] So I founded Elsevier Enabled. And the point of Elsevier Enabled is that it’s designed to move the needle in terms of disability inclusion. It’s designed to change how Elsevier thinks about disability, to present a more empowering image of disability and to partner with a company in order to become leaders in the space. It’s open to everybody, whether you have a disability or not, global, so home-based people can be included as well. Obviously, here are the aims. We’ve achieved quite a lot so far in terms of getting buy-in from everybody up to the CEO, had some quite important policy changes in terms of compliance, and recruited over 50 members now, which is quite exciting.
[00:07:54.37] And then we’re working on some quite big things in the future. So next summer, it looks like we’re going to be launching a disability internship. We’re going to be getting UK disability confident accreditation. And we’re going to be working with the business disability forum, which is a global group for companies who are interested in learning more about this and who provide an advice service, because actually part of the issue that a lot of companies face is– and Elsevier is one of them– they really want to improve in this way, but they don’t have the expertise. So actually, sometimes, you’ve got to go and work with the experts, which is what we’re going to do.
[00:08:33.71] So finally, it’s all right for you. You’re a big company. What about everybody else? Making meaningful change for everybody– I feel that diversity and inclusion in general– disability, obviously specifically– is not a competitive sport. It’s about working together across the industry. So I’ve been working with colleagues or other publishers– so Springer and Wiley and Digital Science– to create a disability working group for the publishing industry. It’s open to everybody, all companies, big and small. The idea– if you’d like to find out more, please send me an email. Come and find me at the conference, or you can find us on LinkedIn.
[00:09:22.11] The idea here is just to share knowledge. The idea is to say, well, this is what’s worked for us. This is what the challenges are. Other people can come to us and say, well, we’re working on this. We can all learn from each other. And we can solve problems and face challenges together. Disability can be a bit lonely, especially if you’re at a company where you feel you might be the only person with a disability. So it’s important that we tackle this not just from a one company point of view. Great, I can try and make things better at Elsevier, but what if we all work together to empower lots of other people at lots of companies to each make small changes?
[00:09:58.31] As it says at the end here if we all make small changes, we can achieve something big. So I’d like to just finish with a few things I’ve got up here there are three things that you can do at your company to make it more disability-friendly, more disability-confident, and lead in this area little bit more. I think it’s really important to say conversations are free. It’s not about having loads of money. And actually, all the things I’ve listed here are free as well, so everything from the Coalition for Diversity Inclusion and Scholarly Communication, which I’ve mentioned at the bottom here to free online unconscious bias courses, to charities that you can contact, to thinking about the language of your adverts, where you advertise, but also how you ask the questions.
[00:10:49.67] A big problem I find– so when I first started my career 12 years or so ago– yeah, that’s fine. Thank you. When I first started my career 12 years ago, people would ask also all sorts of quite bad questions in interviews. I’m visually impaired. And I genuinely had questions like, so can you read? And I don’t have those questions. But instead, people don’t ask the questions, because they’re worried about saying the wrong thing, but just make the assumption that I can’t do it any way. So a nice way to go about this is just to say, the job involves x. How would you approach that? You can ask that to anybody, whether they have a disability or not, because, actually, if somebody has a disability, they’ve probably already thought about it, because we’re problem solvers. That’s what we do. Thank you very much.
[00:11:39.60] [APPLAUSE] [00:11:42.05] SARA ROUHI: Thanks, Simon. That was great. Take it away.
[00:11:49.91] KATE SMITH: So my first challenge was going to be use the clicker, but somebody’s very kindly clicked on for me and got my slides up. So hello, everybody. My name is Kate Smith I’m from Wiley. I was asked to say a little bit about myself. So I’ve been in marketing for about 20 years, 16 of those have been at Wiley. So I feel like a long-time employee now, but there’s people have been there for many, many more years than I have. So I actually am a relative spring chicken at Wiley.
[00:12:14.08] I’m a lifelong learner. I can’t seem to stop myself from enrolling into the next course, the next course, the next course. So that’s part of my DNA, if you like, and continually challenging myself to learn. I’m a mother, and that’s important for the context of what I’m going to talk about. And I’m also a coach and a mentor to a number of people at Wiley and outside. And that’s something I’m very passionate about and I’ve felt over the last few years I need to do more of. And I enrolled, because I’m the lifelong learner, into a master’s in coaching and mentoring, which I’m due to finish in two weeks, so no pressure.
[00:12:47.38] But it’s important that you know those things, because that’s my experience and where I’m coming from. And to me, that context of understanding where other people are coming from, the experiences they’ve had enriches the conversation and you get a better understanding about how you can have a diverse conversation, how you can include people.
[00:13:06.05] The other thing I’ve got in there is that Wiley have Lean In networks across the world. And I’m the co-chair of the Lean In chapter at Oxford. So we have them in Titchester and Hoboken and all of our other offices as well. Other publishers do the same thing. They might call in women’s networks and so forth. We’re essentially empowering diversity from a gender perspective.
[00:13:30.32] I’m going to talk a little bit about that first, just because that just gives a little bit more information about the context that I’m coming from. So the Lean In community group that we’ve got in Oxford is a steering group led– it’s got 15 people, a steering group. It’s all people that have raised their hand and said, I want to be a part of this. And about four or five years ago, I set up with another colleague. And at the time, we had about five people who raised the hand of thought that might be quite interesting. We all very keenly read the Lean In book, put that to one side, because it didn’t quite match what resonated with us. It felt very US-centric. And some of the things that were put in that book didn’t quite chime with us. So we set up Lean In to be an inclusive peer-to-peer networks support group, essentially.
[00:14:17.94] So at the moment, we’ve got over 100 colleagues in about 15 circles, which is about a third of the office in Oxford that are involved. There are men involved, there are women involved. So there’s the diversity of people that have got a voice in that part of the community. And what we try and do is connect what we do at a community level to the other groups that are working at Wiley, so with the LGBTQ plus group or with the Generation Wiley, which is looking at the more early career challenges that we have in the company. So there’s different community groups that are looking at things from a different perspective. And actually when we bring those perspectives together, that creates a diversity and helps people feel more included, that they can see what’s happening within the company.
[00:15:05.53] As a group, we put on events, we have workshops, we have panels, we have mixers, we try and do something between four and six times a year. It’s not our day job, it’s all on top, it’s all people who are passionate about making some change that have gotten together and said, actually, we feel we should do this and we can do this. We’re lucky in that we’re given a small budget. If anyone’s listening, we’d like a little bit more, but we’re giving some money to help put on some of these events. And that’s enabled us to bring in external speakers, again to bring different perspectives in, to make us all just challenge our thinking and think differently.
[00:15:37.46] We try and give our circles some support where we can. And I think we can do a better job of that, but providing material, Ted Talks, questions, and helping. If the circles get a bit stuck, we allow people to move circles. It’s not a lifelong commitment we’re talking about. And we try and create diversity in the circles. And behind the scenes, when we look at how we create these peer-to-peer networks, we’re trying to make sure that the circles that are put together are not all from one particular team or part of the business or seniority level.
[00:16:09.43] So it can be quite complicated trying to look at it and go, OK, does that person report into that person? OK, no, that’s OK, but they do work with that person. We don’t want to have people come into these circles and just having the same ideas and thoughts reflected back at them. The whole point of it is to create safe spaces that you can share and understand and listen to other people that have got a different perspective, because that can help with problem solving. It can help change your perspective and understand things from a slightly different point of view.
[00:16:45.01] There’s a couple of initiatives, one of which I’m going to talk about in a minute. But we don’t just put on the big showy events that are in our big conference center and people rock up to. We’ve recently launched an initiative called Espresso Mentoring, which I will talk about. And we’re looking at things like the Red Box Initiative, which is providing sanitary protection in the toilets for women, which isn’t something that we have, and then at the same time doing drives to collect donations that we then support for a local school. So we’re part of those kinds of initiatives that are very female-oriented.
[00:17:17.48] So I’m going to step back a second and just look at it from a broader Wiley perspective. I’ve taken this from our GPG report that we published last year. And in reflection of coming here and looking at, OK, what am I going to talk about, how am I going to do this, I went back to this and thought, OK, this is what Wiley has said. Is that true? Is that what we are doing? And looking for the evidence of what we might be doing that would support this.
[00:17:44.15] And there are some things. So what we said we were going to do, and have done, is we’ve overhauled our parenthood policy, which is important to me. I care about the experience women have when they come back from work. For me, that’s very personal. We are overhauling our recruitment practices. We’ve got pilots that are in that in development at the moment for women in leadership programs. So there’s very real evidence that GPG has become a catalyst for some of these kinds of activities that, yes, all these companies probably should have been doing already, but it is now happening. So that is a good thing. And then looking a bit more close to home, we’re looking at the Lean In Espresso Mentoring pilot, and then my personal soapbox, which is the return to work maternity coaching.
[00:18:30.90] I was inspired yesterday when we heard about the glass ceiling presentation. And the presenters there were exploring and sharing some experiences they’ve had. And it took me back to when I came back to work after my first baby. And I’ve had I have had two, so there was a two year gap in between. And then that gap, my boss at the time said, well, we won’t put you on that project. And you don’t need to worry about that, because you’ll be going off and having another baby soon, won’t you?
[00:18:58.00] And the assumption that, A, I was going to do that and it’s none of her business and the fact that I didn’t want to challenge myself or push myself when I came back from maternity leave, it saddened me and it made me very cross, frankly. And so I actually changed jobs in that time. I decided, well, no, I’m not. I am going to push myself. I am going to do some more learning. So I did and I changed jobs in that two years, because I felt empowered to do so. But I was just– that was my reaction to that situation.
[00:19:29.89] And I know now from coaching a number of women who have come back from work, some of the challenges that people faced– and everyone’s set of challenges is going to be different. People respond to that in a different way. But if we don’t create the environment where people can come back and feel like they can continue with their career, and it’s OK to, and it’s OK not to, that it’s employee-led, that you are leading that conversation, then that’s important. Those assumptions really shouldn’t exist. This was nine years ago, but I worry that some of them still do.
[00:20:01.07] So that was my part of my personal ugh around wanting to do more to help change that experience that mothers have when they come back to work. I’ve also recently been doing some research around the experience that fathers have. Now, fathers don’t take the same amount of time off in this country typically that women do, but they do still go through a transition of being a non-father to a father. And actually, that transition manifests itself in different ways as well.
[00:20:31.21] There’s different pressures. And if you look to the gender studies literature and so forth, you can explore what that transition is like for fathers in the workplace as well. And there’s no support for fathers in the workplace when they come back having had the two weeks off. But they’ve still got some sleepless nights to cope with for a number of months, maybe years. And they’ve still got the challenges of managing a new family as well as the pressure of work and so forth. So one minute? OK. So the pressure to support, the opportunity to support all parents when they come back into the workplace, I think, is important.
[00:21:05.92] I’ve got a couple of statistics just to share with you. There was a study a few years ago where they looked at a longitudinal study of women returning to work. And in this particular study, 75% of those women came back to work within the first year. 25% of those left the workplace completely. And then within the second year, a further 8% left the workplace completely. And that is a talent drain.
[00:21:31.03] And if you are not supporting these people coming back, then you’re going to lose out on a whole bunch of talented, interesting, thinking, problem solvers that are going to leave your workplace. And you’re going to be the poorer for them. Following coaching intervention with cohorts like that, those stats reduced from 25% to only 10% leaving. So there’s a real difference that can be made with programs to help encourage people to look at how they integrate the different aspects of their life.
[00:22:02.07] Very quickly in 30 seconds then, the Espresso Mentoring pilot is actually a completely stolen idea. It’s set up by Orion Books. They did it first. And I heard about it at the London Book Fair. I thought, that’s a really good idea. We should steal that one. And so they talked me through what they did. And then as Lean In, what we have done is set up the opportunity for colleagues to have a mentoring session with somebody. And it’s an Espresso Mentoring Session. So it’s just one session. You could have two, and that’d be a double espresso, right?
[00:22:31.53] So it’s about having a conversation and enabling that conversation. Many colleagues don’t know who to ask or are too scared to make that connection with someone more senior or someone who’s got a perceived level of experience. So what Lean In have done is set up this pilot whereby you can submit the fact that you would like to have a mentor experience, what kind of thing you might be interested in, and then we provide two or three matches of people that might be interested to do it
[00:22:57.09] The caveat is we haven’t actually asked those people. We think there’s an expectation that you should be able to give back. It’s one cup of coffee. It’s 45 to 60 minutes of your time. So we set these people up with other colleagues in the company to have that one conversation. Those conversations have led onto other opportunities for people or further conversations. And people have come back and said, oh, that was valuable, because now I’ve got a mentor. And I didn’t plan to have one, but we’re happy to continue the conversations.
[00:23:23.16] So with all of those things, what they have in common is creating a safe space for people to be able to have conversations that are going to be important, that allow people to reflect, or allow people to change their minds and to think about things from a slightly different perspective. And so from that grassroots perspective and that grassroots level, I think that we can all make those kinds of changes in our organizations.
[00:23:44.57] [APPLAUSE] [00:23:56.54] SIOUX CUMMING: Right. I feel a little bit of an outlier, because I should put it out there that I am not from a publishing company. I work for INASP, which is a development organization. We strongly believe that research and knowledge are vital for development in the world as a whole. And in order to do that, we work to support individuals and institutions to produce research. So the talk earlier this morning about early career researchers, we do a lot of work with early career researchers in institutions, mainly in the global south, who do not have some of the advantages that are available within institutions in the north.
[00:24:50.14] For example, mentors are very often not available, because a research publishing ethos is not the norm. We also help them to share the research that they produce. We’ve done this largely through a journals online publishing system, which I had talked to you a little bit about last year, which we’ve been working– we started working in Africa, that huge country where there are 524 journals on that site.
[00:25:29.79] And I feel I should mention that, because throughout this conference, Africa has not been mentioned a great deal. It’s as if there’s a big hole there. And whenever there’s talk about the amount of research being done, the amount of articles being published, the source of that data, that conversation, usually comes from lists that are in the north, and it excludes all those journals that are being published in the south. But because they’re not part of lists– I don’t want to name names– but where people go for bibliometric studies, many of those journals are not included there. And therefore, it’s considered that that research doesn’t exist.
[00:26:17.03] So we try to share that research as widely as we can. And also using research, we have a project which is working to get evidence into policy. And we’ve been working with a number of different parliaments, NGOs within countries to help them to get the research in. So there is this vital need to make sure that the countries in the south are part of this whole knowledge ecosystem.
[00:26:52.40] We are working towards equitable knowledge systems. So rather than talk about diversity, because diversity underlines a lot of what we do, but we feel that it’s a little bit of a box ticking exercise. And so equity is what we’re looking for, that we’re working with groups that don’t need equality so much as a little bit of help, because their disadvantages are so great. But we’re also talking about equity within the countries in which we work, because there are power relations.
[00:27:30.03] And I was asked the question recently about, how could the publishers in the north identify reviewers that could be used from the south? Now, I’m a little bit concerned about answering that question, because I feel that’s the journals in the north asking the people in the south to contribute to those journals, whereas the work that I have done has been very much in publicizing the journals of the south. But looking at that question of, how would you find reviewers that were suitable? And that goes back to the conversation we had this morning and yesterday about looking at the research itself, looking at the output itself.
[00:28:22.24] So don’t look for a list of institutions, because you will then end up with those big institutions that are in the central cities that get all the funding, that have all the influence within that country, and ignore those smaller institutions that are in the more peripheral locations, which have just as much right to be a part of this whole process, and who are putting out research outputs, but which don’t have the advantages. So to answer that question, it’s going to involve a little bit of work on your part. You can’t just look for an H index, because many of these researchers just don’t have them, because they’re starting from a position which is much further behind. And at the bottom of the slide, that’s me. And I don’t have an S on the end of my name. It’s Sioux Cumming.
[00:29:20.43] So this slide is basically the ethos of what we believe at INASP, that the researchers in the global south have a lot to contribute. They are the best place to understand the problems that they face, the major issues of our society, of our world that we face at the moment, global change, climatic change, rising sea levels, pollution, tropical diseases. They are the people who are living it. They are the people who should be doing that research. And that research should be published in the journals that are available in those countries.
[00:30:02.29] Why should that research be transferred to a northern environment? And something that I would like to suggest here is that, when there is collaborative research being done between, say, a northern researcher and the southern researcher, very often the pressure is to publish in a northern journal, because of the impact factors, because of the influence that that journal has. And many southern researchers want that as well, because they also work within the system of getting the kudos.
[00:30:41.14] But I would suggest that it would be much more equitable if some of those collaborative research projects were published in some of the better southern journals, because that then provides the co-researchers with a mentoring system. It provides credibility to the journals, because you get some big name publishers.
[00:31:06.02] And I have one example of that, just one for here. It’s a researcher who is at Bournemouth University, Edwin– excuse my pronouncing– van Teijlingen. He publishes a large number of papers in Nepalese journals, bit off the wall. But he works in epidemiology in medicine. He co-authors the papers so that he is mentoring those authors to be better. He’s helping those journals to achieve credibility, because when anyone sees that he’s published in them, that obviously raises their reputation.
[00:31:51.34] So I know that early career researchers and younger researchers need the kudos of publishing in the bigger journals, but perhaps older researchers, for whom it is not such a major problem, could think of doing that sort of thing. This means, because many southern journals face these credibility challenges– and I’ll use the term the illegitimate journals, because I don’t want to use the P word– many of these journals face problems of being accepted and that the research in them is considered to be substandard, which really is not the case.
[00:32:32.20] And as a result, a huge amount of research effort is wasted. That research is basically ignored. And I think that is a tragedy. And as a result– sorry, chucking stuff around. Last year, I presented at this conference. We were one of the finalists for the ALPS Award with the journal publishing practices and standards, which was a way of trying to highlight the quality of the publishing practices that the journals in the south are using. We don’t look at the content, because we’re not subject specialists, but we look at the practices of those journals to help them to improve, because we’re looking at equity.
[00:33:24.55] Now, with Age-All, for example, which I mentioned earlier, 524 journals, when INASP started that project back in the 1990s, we started it so that they were none of the politics and the problems of which country should host it, where should it be, big institutions not allowing smaller institutions to be involved. And as a result, we have a huge diversity of journals on those sites. And the same thing has happened with the other sites that we’ve developed in Bangladesh, in Nepal. There are 156 journals on the Nepalese Journals Online site, 156. Nepal’s a tiny little country. And they come from all over Nepal. It’s not just central institution, but all the institutions– private universities, private institutions.
[00:34:25.54] So we are promoting equity within the countries themselves. And it strengthens the credibility of the research that comes from those countries, because we’re trying to promote inclusion, but also to highlight excellence. So those are the grades that we use, there are six. And it means that we do allow the volume one number one journals to come on the site in the hope that they will become sustainable and will continue, but they’re classified as new. They don’t get any stars until they’ve been publishing for two years.
[00:35:06.45] Those that have not met the basic criteria just get are working towards, which is a euphemism for no stars. And there are a lot of journals on there that have folded, they are not active anymore. But that’s not to say that research in them isn’t still valuable. There’s no reason why that research should just disappear, but we need to highlight that they are not active anymore.
[00:35:31.49] So what we’ve been doing is quite different from talking about publishing companies. What we’re talking about here is equity at a global scale, that we need to include and consider the research that is coming from the south. We need to include those authors. We need to look at those reviewers, volunteer as researchers– sorry, as reviewers on southern journals. I’ve just been running an online course where the biggest complaint was, how do we get reviewers? And how do we get to do it on time? Well, perennial problem, but It would be so useful if those with experience, those who’ve been doing this a long time for some of the best journals could contribute some of their skills to improve the quality of those journals. I’ll leave it there. Thank you.
[00:36:27.99] [APPLAUSE] [00:36:34.76] SARA ROUHI: I don’t know where to start. And I think we have like eight minutes. So if you want to stick into the coffee break, I’m sure that’s the conversation that’s going to go on and on, but I’ll try to dive into a couple of things that you all highlighted. I really appreciate the very disparate areas that we brought into here. One of the things I sort of like to ask the audience and the panelists is, to what extent do your organizations have a conversation or understand the differences between equity versus equality?
[00:37:04.46] Is that a no? It’s fine. If you want to raise your hand, would you say organizations don’t get that? Hands raised? No one’s looking at you. So you can raise them. Are there folks here who feel like they are organizations having that kind of conversation? OK, so some hand raises. That is great. In terms of your experience, is that– does it matter? Sioux, I think you highlighted in a really important way, but I’d be curious to know if, within the internal efforts of organizations, that’s recognized.
[00:37:41.11] SIMON HOLT: Where I’d put Elsevier at the moment and where I’d put the publishing industry in general, to be honest, is super well-meaning, super naive.
[00:37:51.94] SARA ROUHI: And what do you mean by naive?
[00:37:53.17] SIMON HOLT: Really want to do the right thing. And as soon as you mention stuff, they’re like, oh yeah, we definitely need to get it sorted, but it wouldn’t occur to a lot of people. And that isn’t an insight on Elsevier. It’s something I think that we have to deal with as an industry, full stop, this is a problem. And actually, I’d say that it’s an issue about diversity within our industry as a whole. So whether we’re talking about demographics or we’re talking about class or we’re talking about educational background, that kind of thing, if you get the same sorts of people having the same conversation with the same sorts of people, you’re going to get the same kinds of conclusions. So I think the willingness is there, but we’re just at the very beginning of the journey.
[00:38:37.66] SARA ROUHI: Yeah, I was commenting, maybe it was to Letti last night. I was like, in terms of relative wokeness, UK feels a little behind on the US. I don’t know if that’s fair. We can talk about it offline. But plus 100 to that for sure, my observation. Kate, did you want to jump in on that?
[00:38:56.32] KATE SMITH: Yeah, sure. So if I think about it through a gender lens, then it’s probably easier to see whether somebody visibly identifies as female or male. I think that’s important as well. It’s another dimension that we often don’t talk about there. But there’s the invisibility of equity that I don’t think we see. So there were lots of things that we don’t know about people and don’t include in our thinking. And the situations that people have are not always taken into consideration as to whether there is an equitability of opportunity for everyone.
[00:39:34.20] If you’re sat in home office or one of the bigger offices, you’re going to have very different opportunities than someone sat in a remote office or sat working from home or someone who has to work part time for very particular reasons. And I think it’s the decision making and the assumptions that people are making that you can make a nod to, yeah, I’m being fair I’m, being equal, but there’s so many hidden things that you don’t see that you can’t take into– you can take into your decision making, but often is not encouraged in an open way, because we don’t think about it.
[00:40:09.97] SARA ROUHI: Please, yeah.
[00:40:11.74] AUDIENCE: I found the platform for the journalist from the south really interesting. But I would kind of want to ask you, are these journals in English? All of them, yeah?
[00:40:22.11] SIOUX CUMMING: Yeah, they are for the main, except the ones in Central America, which are all in Spanish.
[00:40:27.19] AUDIENCE: OK, Yeah. OK, but that’s all right, because, of course, I just want to raise the question of the diversity of language. Also, my name is Martina Reuter, I’m a senior lecturer in gender studies at Association for Gender Studies in Finland and editing the Finnish Journal of Gender Studies in Finland. And of course, in the whole discussion here of diversity, we are all speaking English now. And of course, we are assuming that.
[00:40:53.02] But we just need to cross the channel in order to have a lot of scholarly journals in other languages, which are a bit bigger than Finnish. So I just want to raise the question of how to bring in the diversity of language in combination with one academic publishing culture, which still, of course, we all want to publish in English, because we want to be read by everybody.
[00:41:15.04] SARA ROUHI: Yeah, I think that’s– I’m so glad you raised that. Before you jump in just to tie it up, there’s a conference that I’d love to flag for folks here if you’re less aware, because it’s only in its second year. It’s called Lat Metrics, L-A-T Metrics. It’s a first Latin American Conference. It’s in its second year this year really focusing on what does the global south and Latin America need to do to build its own publishing ecosystem that doesn’t rely on the global north.
[00:41:42.60] It’s become quite– I don’t want to say militant, but they’ve become quite thoughtful about why we have to do this. And at the first conference last year, leading into your question, one of the very interesting talks was on why do we have to keep publishing in English. Are you telling me that with all the resources and expertise in this room, we cannot find a way to come up with AI and NPL that eventually, over time, could effectively take an article on x subject in x language and convert it so that it’s at least discoverable to an English speaker? So with all that background, if you’d jump in on that, Sioux.
[00:42:16.66] SIOUX CUMMING: Well, with Central American journals online, which we call CAMJOL, it’s Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. And when we first started working with them, their content was entirely in Spanish and not even the titles were translated and I ended up using Google Scholar– not Google Scholar, Google Translate, which in those days was really ropey.
[00:42:39.04] SARA ROUHI: They’ve come a long way, yeah.
[00:42:40.65] SIOUX CUMMING: Very strange translations. But nowadays, it’s absolutely amazing. But the change that we’ve had on those journals in about seven years, six or seven years, is that they now do have a bilingual site. And the titles, the abstracts, and the keywords are all in English, which aids in discovery so that researchers can then decide whether they want to go further and get that article translated. And I mean, Google Translate will do it. It’s really, really good. But we also have a site in Mongolia and a large proportion of the content there is in Mongolian. So that’s really niche and much more difficult to access, because Google does not deal with that.
[00:43:30.03] SARA ROUHI: And I think the challenge with the word niche, right? It becomes code for small, not relevant to us, right? But for that community, that may be the only thing they need to look at, because that’s directly impacting choices that they’re making everyday whether it’s farming or schoolwork.
[00:43:45.66] SIOUX CUMMING: Well, what they do is, if it’s like the journal of chemistry is in English, but they also have some more social sciences journals and those are in Mongolian, because it’s about their own culture.
[00:43:58.52] SARA ROUHI: And their own immediate needs.
[00:44:00.18] SIOUX CUMMING: Exactly, right.
[00:44:02.48] SARA ROUHI: We only have– I’m faking. We don’t have a minute, but I’m going to give us a minute. Does anyone want to ask one last question before we head into the lunch break? Well, please join me in thanking our panelist.
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