Diversity and Inclusion at JEI

March 7, 2021

We at JEI stand in solidarity with the continued efforts of social justice movements including Black Lives Matter, #ShutDownSTEM and others that support the fight against systemic racism. In August of 2020, JEI began work to ensure diversity and inclusion in JEI through the founding of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. As part of a journal-wide push for increased transparency, we would like to share what the DEI Committee has accomplished since August.

Our initial goals for the committee included:

  1. Performing a critical assessment of the composition of our student authors and staff.
  2. At minimum, doubling the proportion of our volunteer staff and leadership who are BIPOC in the next two years.
  3. Creating a lasting infrastructure that will advise or train JEI staff and leadership on the challenges facing and necessity of not only recruiting, but supporting BIPOC student authors and staff.
  4. Rewriting our mission statement and staff training materials to reaffirm and prioritize our commitment to creating opportunities and mentorship for BIPOC JEI authors.
  5. Promoting and highlighting the stories, publications, and successes of BIPOC voices at JEI through our social media platforms, website, and internal communications.

To begin our work, we needed to establish a baseline dataset for diversity at JEI. We have developed two separate surveys: the first is a simple demographic information survey given to all student authors and staff when they register on the JEI platform; the second is an in-depth survey for authors to understand how they navigate the publication process and what obstacles different students face during their studies.

JEI is pleased to have attracted a diverse array of authors and staff, and we recognize we can do better. Moving forward, we are focusing on recruiting and supporting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous authors and staff, as well as improving accessibility for authors and readers with disabilities. To this end, we will be recruiting staff at HBCUs and Latinx-serving institutions with the aim of fostering student research and scientific mentorship in their communities. We are building relationships with community organizations like Mothers for Justice and Equality to encourage students of color to pursue research through JEI or our partnered programs. Through these efforts, we hope to further diversify our cohort of volunteers and authors.

JEI will directly support underrepresented young scientists through a free virtual iteration of our JEI Mini-PhD Summer Program. In this camp, we teach students about the basics of experimental design and writing and providing guidance and materials for them to pursue a research project. By the end of the camp, these students will have completed their first manuscript, developed their own ideas for further research, and made lasting connections with mentors and peers. Through this camp, we hope to reach marginalized young scientists and foster their innate curiosity, welcoming them into the scientific community.

Finally, the DEI Committee has rewritten JEI's mission statement to underscore our organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion on all levels. We will shortly review the guidelines given to reviewers and editors to ensure that JEI staff approach student writing with an awareness of the range of resources and experiences that our authors bring into their work.

As always, if you have ideas or suggestions, we welcome all input and dialogue. Please reach out to us at questions@emerginginvestigators.org if you would like to start a conversation.

Thank you all,

The Journal of Emerging Investigators Board and Executive Leadership team

August 4, 2020

We at JEI stand in solidarity with recent social justice movements including Black Lives Matter, #ShutDownSTEM and others that support the fight against systemic racism. We recognize our responsibility as scientists and community members to educate ourselves about systemic racism and combat socio-economic and racial injustices that plague our scientific community. We must take specific anti-racist actions to address the pervasive racial inequality that has led to horrific occurrences of police brutality, disparities in public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and stark underrepresentation and underappreciation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) scientists.

We have always tried to engage young students to bring diverse voices into the next generation of scientists. Given the role that our work may play in perpetuating inequality, we must do more to reach, support, and encourage budding scientists from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science. Our newly created Diversity and Inclusion Committee, composed of both JEI volunteer staff and members of the JEI Board of Directors, is tasked with implementing organization-wide actions to address this.

JEI is in a unique position to empower diverse leadership in our graduate student-based volunteer staff in addition to creating opportunity, support, and mentorship for students who may be discovering scientific inquiry for the first time. To this end, we plan to:

  1. Perform a critical assessment of the composition of our student authors and staff.
  2. At minimum, double the proportion of our volunteer staff and leadership who are BIPOC in the next two years.
  3. Create a lasting infrastructure that will advise or train JEI staff and leadership on the challenges facing and necessity of not only recruiting, but supporting BIPOC student authors and staff.
  4. Rewrite our mission statement and staff training materials to reaffirm and prioritize our commitment to creating opportunities and mentorship for BIPOC JEI authors.
  5. Promote and highlight the stories, publications, and successes of BIPOC voices at JEI through our social media platforms, website, and internal communications.

If you have ideas or suggestions, we welcome all input and dialogue. Please reach out to us at questions@emerginginvestigators.org if you would like to start a conversation.

Sincerely,

The Journal of Emerging Investigators Board and Executive Leadership team