Driving inclusivity:
responsibilities within academic research

In this report, we have largely focused on the changes that academia must make to create a more inclusive sector. Here, we broaden this out to look at how other groups might support change.

Our research points to the need for more funding into inclusivity research, with 79% of academics calling for more investment, as well as the role that publishers should play in furthering this work.

What role should publishers play?

When asked what academic publishers could do to help the drive to a more inclusive society, the top answers selected (both at 80%) were ‘Make related research more discoverable beyond academia’ and ‘Promote the benefits of related research and its impact in the real world’. 

The next important options selected were ‘support interdisciplinary research more e.g. grants, reduced APCs’ (77%) and ‘remove paywalls limiting the number of people who can access the research’ (76%).

At the other end of the scale (although all net scores were high), ‘align published content to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ (62%), ‘provide a range of publishing formats beyond traditional journal articles/books’ (67%) and ‘improve the transparency and ethics around peer review’ (68%).

Question: Regarding the role academic publishers play, to what extent do you believe these areas could help researchers in creating a more inclusive society?

% Role
80% Make related research more discoverable beyond academia
80% Promote the benefits of related research and its impact in the real world
77% Support interdisciplinary research more e.g. grants, reduced article publishing charges (APC)
77% Remove paywalls limiting the number of people who can access the research
74% Open up publishing opportunities through increased open access
74% Support broader research metrics beyond traditional metrics such as the Impact Factor
70% Reduce the cost of publishing research in subject areas directly relevant to SDGs
70% More diverse editorial and review boards
68% Improve the transparency and  ethics around peer review
66% Provide a range of publishing formats beyond traditional journal articles/books
62% Align published content to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

Funding


When asked, ‘What in your opinion is the biggest single thing that needs to change in order to achieve a globally inclusive society by 2030?’, one factor academics pointed to was funding:

'More funding for research focusing on ethnic minority issues in countries like Botswana to change policy making mind set.'

Female researcher, Botswana

'More funding to tackle issues aligned to SDGs is to be allocated to researchers in developing countries and avoid biases in peer review of grant proposals.'

Male head of department, Malaysia

The lowest factor chosen, ‘Align published content to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’ was also mentioned in the verbatim responses, casting doubt over the UN as a credible organisation, as well as its ability to drive the SDGs:

'The single biggest thing that needs to change is the UN and its allied agencies structure, such as IMF and World Bank, that have only promoted the agendas of the powerful by going against their self-created SDGs'

Female researcher, Australia

'UN bodies promoting the SDGs do not always practice inclusivity. Too much self-interest. PR and personal agendas e.g. UN Global Compact.'

Female, teaching faculty, UK

Other comments related to the role of publishers in promoting inclusivity included:

'Those who are in charge of reviewing and accepting papers need to represent more diverse knowledges and they need to redefine academic writing to incorporate different formats, languages, methods, and not be so rigid.'

Female, USA

'Publishers play an important role in education and in dissemination of information critical to having an inclusive society.'

Male researcher, USA

What's in the report?

The report contains an introduction and 9 sections; use the grid below to navigate, or click to go to the next section.
 

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Through the barricades: establishing barriers to inclusivity

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Breaking good: taking down the walls of academia

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Driving inclusivity: responsibilities within academic research

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