New Resource to Combat Racial Bias Now Available for Scholarly Publishing Professionals: The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies

Toolkits for Equity

August 6, 2020 – A new diversity, equity and inclusion resource for scholarly publishing professionals, the Antiracism Toolkit for Allies was published today by Toolkits for Equity in Scholarly Publishing project volunteers. A cross-organizational effort, the toolkit is the first in a series of three, designed to provide antiracism resources for allies; for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; and for organizations within the scholarly publishing community

The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies provides analyses of white advantage and information about how to disrupt racism and create work communities where everyone thrives. Because white supremacy grants unearned advantages to whites, the work of recognizing these advantages and actively resisting racism is the most crucial work that white people can embrace in order to create meaningful change.

“By presenting distilled key equity insights, best practices, and actionable recommendations, we intend to shift the focus from diversity to inclusion to accelerate progress. The process must involve all and happen on an individual, interpersonal, and community level—“top down” or “bottom up” alone won’t work,” said project co-leader, Jocelyn Dawson.

Modeled after the American Alliance of Museums’ guides for transgender inclusion, the toolkit provides a common framework for analysis, a shared vocabulary and history, and best practices to address racial disparities specific to the scholarly publishing community. While a growing awareness of racial disparities has resulted in a groundswell of support for inclusivity in scholarly publishing, there is a lack of industry-specific training materials to help transform our workplaces and organizational cultures. In an effort to create these much-needed resources, the Toolkits for Equity project leaders submitted a proposal to the 2019 Triangle Scholarly Communications Institute (TSCI) to create three toolkits to provide resources for allies; for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; and for organizations.

While many types of inequity exist in scholarly communications, the project leaders recognized a need to prioritize their efforts on antiracism.  “With a global workforce that is more than 80% white, we have chosen to focus our initial efforts on combating racial bias—largely unconscious and institutionalized—that perpetuates the status quo,” said project co-leader, Niccole Leilanionapae‘aina Coggins.

Project leaders Niccole Coggins (University of Virginia Press), Jocelyn Dawson (Duke University Press), Gisela Fosado (Duke University Press), and Melanie Dolechek (Society for Scholarly Publishing) kicked off the project at TSCI in October of 2019 and recruited more than 50 volunteers to assist with the project in various ways to see it through to completion of the first toolkit.

“We want to thank the many people that helped with this project as advisors, authors, reviewers, editors, communications specialists, designers, and ambassadors. The toolkits were created by our community for our community and this project demonstrates the amazing work that can be done when people with a common goal and a passion for improving our workplaces come together,” said Dolechek.

The project leaders acknowledge that the toolkits are just a resource for information and education and the hard work must be done by those who wish to see change—in themselves and in their community. “Equity work cannot be accomplished if approached as a box to be checked, a quick update to be made to a mission statement, or as a challenge that a short-term task force can address. It is hard, personal work that is essential to creating a thriving scholarly ecosystem that serves everyone,” added Fosado.

Published under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, the toolkit is intended to be used freely by individuals and organizations in the community for their own personal development or more structured organization-wide training programs. It is hosted by the Coalition for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (C4DISC) and can be downloaded from its website. Users are encouraged to redistribute, customize and build upon the toolkits for their own use.

The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies will be the subject of several upcoming industry articles, webinars and virtual events. Opportunities to learn more about the toolkits and hear from the project leaders include presentations at the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors Virtual Conference (August 4-7) and the Council of Science Editors fall symposium webinar (October 20). The project will also be highlighted in an upcoming article in Serials Review

“After the very personal testimonials from BIPOC within scholarly publishing in Scholarly Kitchen, it became all too apparent that ‘progressive spaces’ are not havens from racism and other isms. The truth is, however, that even progressive white spaces perpetuate white supremacy culture in ways that are hard to identify without intentionality and hard work. We hope that the Toolkits for Equity will provide resources for needed change and will create an antiracist workplace culture that is healthier and more affirming for everyone,” said Coggins.


For more information, contact:
Toolkits for Equity in Scholarly Publishing