Why some companies are saying ‘diversity and belonging’ instead of ‘diversity and inclusion’

Read the full story from the New York Times.

The changing terminology reflects new thinking among some consultants, who say traditional D.E.I. strategies haven’t worked out as planned.

Leading American medical journal continues to omit Black research, reinforcing a legacy of racism in medical knowledge

Medical research is one of the keys in providing health care. SJ Objio for Unsplash, CC BY-SA

by Cherice Escobar Jones, Northeastern University; Gwendolynne Reid, Emory University, and Mya Poe, Northeastern University

The leading U.S. medical journal, read regularly by doctors of all specialties, systematically ignores an equally reputable and rigorous body of medical research that focuses on Black Americans’ health.

The American Medical Association created a segregated “whites only” environment more than 100 years ago to prohibit Black physicians from joining their ranks. This exclusionary and racist policy prompted the creation in 1895 of the National Medical Association, a professional membership group that supported African American physicians and the patients they served. Today, the NMA represents more than 30,000 medical professionals.

In 2008, the AMA publicly apologized and pledged to right the wrongs that were done through decades of racism within its organization. Yet our research shows that despite that public reckoning 15 years ago, the opinion column of the AMA’s leading medical journal does not reflect the research and editorial contributions by NMA members.

Invisibility in the opinion column of one of the most prominent medical journals in the U.S. is another form of subtle racism that continues to lessen the importance of equitable medical care and health issues for Black and underserved communities.

As rhetoricians and researchers who study scientific communication, we look at the ways scientific writing perpetuates or addresses racial inequity. Our recent study traced how research is referenced by medical professionals and colleagues, known as citations, of flagship journals of the NMA and AMA: the Journal of the National American Association and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Invisible research

Our research began with a question: Has the AMA’s 2008 apology had any effect on the frequency with which JAMA opinion writers draw on insights and research of JNMA scholars and authors?

We studied opinion columns, also referred to as editorials, precisely because they are useful indicators of current and future research as well as priorities and agendas. The purpose of editorials is to critically analyze and sift through various opinions and evidence. Effective editorials in scientific journals are especially rich forums for debate within the medical community.

Medical publications like JNMA and JAMA do not simply convey knowledge. They also establish professional community values through the topics that are studied and who is credited for ideas related to research. When writers choose to reference or cite another scholar, they are acknowledging and highlighting that expertise.

X-ray of a chest, several ribs, shoulder bone.
Influential medical journals serve to inform and shape health care. Harlie Raethel for Unsplash

As such, citations play an important role in the visibility of research. Articles and authors with more citations are more likely to have a greater effect on the scientific community and patient care. Opinion pieces can shape the broader conversation among medical professionals, and citations can widen that circle of communication.

Invisible racism

We traced how frequently JAMA and JNMA opinion writers referenced one another from 2008 to 2021 by reviewing the 117 opinion pieces published in JNMA and 1,425 published in JAMA during this 13-year period. We found that JAMA opinion columns have continued to, in effect, uphold racial bias and segregation by ignoring JNMA findings.

A Black medical professional adjusts gloves in front of a mirror.
The work of Black medical proessionals is being overlooked in national medical journals. Piron Guillaume for Unsplash, CC BY-ND

Even when focusing on race, racism and health disparities, topics that JNMA has explored in great detail, JAMA opinion columns did not reference JNMA colleagues or research. Only two JNMA articles were credited and referenced in the 1,425 JAMA opinion pieces that we reviewed.

Editors at JAMA did not respond to our requests for their comments on our analysis.

Racial equity in medicine

The story of the AMA and NMA is not only a reminder of the racist history of medicine. It demonstrates how the expertise of Black professionals and researchers continues to be ignored today. The lack of JNMA citations in JAMA research undercuts the AMA’s own work on racial equity and potentially compromises the quality of medical knowledge published in its journals.

For example, a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that scientists from underrepresented groups innovate, or contribute novel scientific findings, at a higher rate than those from majority groups.

An article published in the weekly medical journal of the Public Library of Science noted that diverse research teams are often more successful in developing new knowledge to help treat women and underrepresented patients with greater precision.

Dissolving systemic bias

One way to intentionally tackle racial bias and segregation in medical knowledge is by deliberately referencing Black researchers and their work. To change this dynamic of racial bias, medical journals must pay attention to how much and how often the Black medical establishment is referenced. Health issues in underserved communities would likely become more visible and achieve greater quality of care in keeping with the AMA’s commitment to social justice.

Journal editors could tell writers and editorial staff to prioritize citation practices. Individual authors might conduct research and evaluate their reading habits to intentionally include research from the Black medical community.

However, this work must go beyond individuals. Undoing decades of collective habits and embedded racism requires collaborations that work across systems, institutions and disciplines.

One hand holds a bottle of pills and the other hand holds three white pills.
Racial disparities in health care often result in lower-quality medical treatment and worse health care outcomes for Black Americans. Towfiqu Barbhuiya for Unsplash, CC BY-ND

For example, libraries, databases, and search engines that help researchers find and evaluate medical publications might review today’s research tools. It is hard to contribute to a research conversation if your work is invisible or can’t be found.

Many tools, like impact factors, rank research according to how influential it is. If research begins in a category of less importance, it can be harder for the technology to rank it equitably. JNMA’s work was already marginalized when the tools that rank research were developed.

Thus, search results can hinder efforts of individual authors to work toward equitable citation practices. Black researchers and their research of Black health were excluded from the beginning, and existing systems of sharing knowledge and drawing attention to important studies incorporate that structural racism.

The AMA apology in 2008 and its recent progress on addressing racism in its publication process are promising steps. Influential medical journals serve to inform and shape health care. Who is referenced in these journals matters to the medical establishment, research funders and, ultimately, to the patients that are served by innovations in medicine.

Attention to citation can help reduce systemic bias in medical knowledge to achieve greater fairness in health care and, in the long run, help increase attention and resources that will help solve health issues in underserved communities.

Cherice Escobar Jones, PhD Candidate, Northeastern University; Gwendolynne Reid, Assistant Professor of English, Emory University, and Mya Poe, Associate Professor of English, Northeastern University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Diversity–Innovation Paradox in Science

Hofstra, B., Kulkarni, V. V., Munoz-Najar Galvez, S., He, B., Jurafsky, D., & McFarland, D. A. (2020). The Diversity–Innovation Paradox in Science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(17), 9284–9291. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1915378117

Significance: By analyzing data from nearly all US PhD recipients and their dissertations across three decades, this paper finds demographically underrepresented students innovate at higher rates than majority students, but their novel contributions are discounted and less likely to earn them academic positions. The discounting of minorities’ innovations may partly explain their underrepresentation in influential positions of academia.

Abstract: Prior work finds a diversity paradox: Diversity breeds innovation, yet underrepresented groups that diversify organizations have less successful careers within them. Does the diversity paradox hold for scientists as well? We study this by utilizing a near-complete population of ∼1.2 million US doctoral recipients from 1977 to 2015 and following their careers into publishing and faculty positions. We use text analysis and machine learning to answer a series of questions: How do we detect scientific innovations? Are underrepresented groups more likely to generate scientific innovations? And are the innovations of underrepresented groups adopted and rewarded? Our analyses show that underrepresented groups produce higher rates of scientific novelty. However, their novel contributions are devalued and discounted: For example, novel contributions by gender and racial minorities are taken up by other scholars at lower rates than novel contributions by gender and racial majorities, and equally impactful contributions of gender and racial minorities are less likely to result in successful scientific careers than for majority groups. These results suggest there may be unwarranted reproduction of stratification in academic careers that discounts diversity’s role in innovation and partly explains the underrepresentation of some groups in academia.

Disparities, Concerns, and Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Data Collection within the Biological Sciences

Nathan B Alexander, Douglas Knutson, Leslie K Morrow, Isaac Klimasmith, Emmett M Smith, Madeleine Spellman, Michael Rivera, Maxine Scherz, Kae Fountain, Lucas T Allen-Custodio, Loren Lynch, Thea E Clarkberg, Jaime J Coon (2023). “Disparities, Concerns, and Recommendations for LGBTQ+ Data Collection within the Biological Sciences.” BioScience, biad011 https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biad011

Abstract: The omission of lesbian, gay,  bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, and expansive minoritized sexual and gender identities (hereafter, LGBTQ+) from demographic data collection in science is a critical issue. Ignoring these identities perpetuates practices that drive people out of science, erase experiences, and discount systemic barriers navigated by LGBTQ+ scientists (Freeman 2020). Adding gender diversity and sexual orientation to surveys is one step toward increasing inclusion of LGBTQ+ researchers. Recently, scientific societies have increased collecting demographic data; however, there is still a need for longitudinal studies (Rushworth et al. 2021). LGBTQ+ demographic data allow institutions, educators, and employers to identify systemic barriers, pinpoint key policy changes, and track efforts to improve equity (Freeman 2020, Rushworth et al. 2021, Guyan 2022). However, groups that collect demographic data, such as state and federal agencies, granting agencies (i.e., the National Science Foundation), and universities do not collect data on LGBTQ+ identities, prohibiting evidence-based efforts to increase inclusion and further limiting interpretation of professional society and small-scale surveys (Rushworth et al. 2021). Although there are inherent risks in collecting data on LGBTQ+ people, improvements in data collection are imperative if we are to understand and address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the sciences (Aramati Casper et al. 2022).

Academic employers seek research experience and teaching skills

Read the full story in Nature.

Research experience is still the most sought-after attribute in senior academic scientists, a study finds. However, universities’ demand for teaching and student-supervision experience, digital-literacy skills and geographic mobility increases with time, and demand for research, teaching and supervision skills rises with seniority.

NSF Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Informational Webinar

Mar 20, 2023, 2 pm CDT
Register here.

Several solicitations from the Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geological Sciences (GEO) will soon require the submission of a Safe and Inclusive Work Environments Plan (list of those solicitations below) that will be considered as part of the Broader Impacts criteria during the review process.

An upcoming Virtual Office Hour will feature Program Officers from BIO and GEO, who will provide an overview of the new requirement and take your questions and comments.

This 2-page supplementary document must address the following four sections:

  1. a brief description of the field setting and unique challenges for the team;  
  2. the steps the proposing organization will take to nurture an inclusive off-campus or off-site working environment, including processes to establish shared team definitions of roles, responsibilities, and culture, e.g., codes of conduct, trainings, mentor/mentee mechanisms and field support that might include regular check-ins, and/or developmental events;   
  3. communication processes within the off-site team and to the organization(s) that minimize singular points within the communication pathway (e.g., there should not be a single person overseeing access to a single satellite phone); and   
  4. the organizational mechanisms that will be used for reporting, responding to, and resolving issues of harassment if they arise.   

If you are planning a submission that will involve off-campus or off-site research, defined as data/information/samples being collected off-campus or off-site including via fieldwork and research activities on vessels and aircraft, we encourage you to join this webinar. 

The solicitations that currently include this requirement are:

  • BIO Core Solicitations:
    • Division of Environmental Biology (NSF 23-549) 
    • Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (NSF 23-547) 
    • Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (NSF 23-548) 
  • Biodiversity on a Changing Planet (BoCP, NSF 23-542) 
  • Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP, NSF 23-559)
  • Pathways into the Geosciences (GEOPAths NSF 23-540) 

Public listening sessions to inform the 2023-2028 Federal STEM Strategic Plan

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) will host a series of virtual listening sessions to inform the development of the 2023- 2028 Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Strategic Plan. As part of a robust public engagement plan, OSTP encourages input from all interested parties, including students, teachers, administrators, parents, researchers, employers, and others to provide information and perspectives on the challenges faced by – and within – the STEM ecosystem in the United States and solutions that might be implemented by the U.S. Government.

Format: Each listening session will focus on one aspect of the STEM ecosystem. The last session aims to include speakers unable to attend any of the earlier sessions and as such, will cover each of the five areas covered in the previous sessions. Registration is required to attend sessions.

If you would like to provide information in addition to or in lieu of your participation in the listening session, you may send a brief message to this public email address, stemstrategy@ostp.eop.gov.

The IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute will be facilitating and moderating the meeting on OSTP’s behalf. The meeting will be recorded and participation implies consent for OSTP to capture your name, voice, and likeness, and anything you say may be recorded and transcribed for OSTP use.

The six upcoming listening sessions will be as follows:

National Audubon Society, pressured to remove slave-owning naturalist’s name, keeps it

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The National Audubon Society, one of the country’s best-known bird conservation organizations, decided in a closed-door vote this week to retain the name of John James Audubon, famed 19th-century naturalist and wildlife illustrator who was also an unabashed enslaver.

The move comes even as about half-a-dozen of the organization’s regional chapters have pledged to scrub his name from their titles, part of a broader reckoning over the U.S. environmental movement’s history of entrenched racism.

These tools help visually impaired scientists read data and journals

Read the full story in Nature.

Innovative software and modes of presentation are helping to broaden access to the literature.

Fed up and burnt out: ‘quiet quitting’ hits academia

Read the full story at Nature.

Many researchers dislike the term, but the practice of dialling back unrewarded duties is gaining traction.