C4DISC Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month 2021: Four Spotlight Interviews

Mia Ricci, Publisher at Wiley and Co-Chair of C4DISC Communications & Outreach Committee | May 25, 2021

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the US, I had the pleasure of representing C4DISC in four sit-down interviews with API colleagues who are working towards greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in our shared industry of scholarly communications.

The Heritage Month feels different this year (as it did last year). The API community (US and global) has seen a drastic increase in hate crimes targeting us and our loved ones since the start of the pandemic. Our friends, families, and colleagues in India are fighting a devastating battle against a new coronavirus surge. It’s more important than ever that we show up and support each other. Later in this article you can find excellent suggestions from our interview guests of organizations you can help support.

I see an important part of this “showing-up” as creating space to listen, learn, and converse as a community. AAPI Heritage Month is intended to be a period to pay tribute and recognize contributions and achievements of AAPIs. It is also a time of celebration. This intent is also shared by C4DISC, with its Vision to celebrate those who seek to contribute to scholarly communications and within its Values: to welcome diverse perspectives and to make space for marginalized voices.

About a week ago I read about a survey commissioned by Leading Asian Americans to Unite for Change (LAAUNCH). One of the survey’s key findings show that 42% surveyed in the US can’t name a single prominent Asian American. It was upsetting to read, and it also reminded me of the underrepresentation of APIs in scholarly communications. Sitting down writing this article, I’m overjoyed to be sharing the stories of these API colleagues who are making an impact in our industry.

The five scholarly communications leaders I interviewed share a few commonalities: they are members of the API community, they’re passionate, active, committed in their DE&I efforts, and I found them all to be immensely inspiring. That, is something to celebrate.

We at the Coalition thank our interviewees Caeul Lim, Gita Manaktala, Charlotte Roh, Toni Chow, and Jinnie Kim for taking part in this Spotlight Interview series.

We hope that you’ll enjoy these interviews. C4DISC will continue to celebrate API colleagues and colleagues from all underrepresented groups as part of our commitment for diversity and inclusion. Contact us if you like to be involved!

With thanks to:

Megan Seyler, C4DISC Comms & Outreach Committee member and video editor and Ana Maria Jimenez-Moreno, C4DISC Community Administrator.

The Interviews

Caeul Lim, PhD

Scientific Editor and Inclusion & Diversity Officer, Cell Press

Caeul Lim is originally from South Korea, although she spent most of her formative years in Mauritania. She earned her PhD from Harvard University in 2016 in the department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. After her postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Health, she joined Cell Press in 2018 as a Scientific Editor at Cell Host & Microbe and the Trends Reviews portfolio. This year, she has taken the additional role of Cell Press’ Inclusion & Diversity officer, where she oversees initiatives to increase inclusion, equity and diversity in publishing and in the scientific community.

Resources:

  • Diversity & inclusion at CellPress
  • Minor Feelings, a book by Cathy Park Hong
  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation: Known for its school lunch program across India, Akshaya Patra has started a COVID-19 relief service. As of today, it has distributed 1,06,55,875 cooked meals & 4,12,231 grocery kits to people from low-income groups.
  • British Asian Trust: An international development organization delivering high-quality programs in South Asia, and with a specific Oxygen for India emergency appeal (organization recommended by our colleagues at TNQ)

Gita Manaktala

Editorial Director, MIT Press

Gita Manaktala is the Editorial Director of the MIT Press, a publisher of scholarship at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and technology. Known for intellectual daring and distinctive design, MIT Press books push the boundaries of knowledge in fields from contemporary art and architecture to the sciences, computing, design, economics, environmental studies, linguistics, media studies, and STS. Gita’s own acquisitions are in the areas of information science and communication. Until 2009, she served as the press’s marketing director with responsibility for worldwide promotion and sales. She has served on the board of directors of the Association of American University Presses and co-chaired its first diversity and inclusion task force, which led to a standing committee dedicated to Equity, Justice, and Inclusion. She is a regular speaker on topics in scholarly communication and publishing.

*Photo by Katherine Xue

Resources:

Charlotte Roh

Scholarly Communications Librarian and Faculty, University of San Francisco

Charlotte Roh is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of San Francisco and identifies as a straight cis-gender Korean American woman who works on Raymatush Ohlone land. Her most recent publication is the “Letter to Asian Diasporic Library Workers” in up//root, written in response to a racist incident in library publishing. 

Resources:

Toni Chow and Jinnie Kim

Toni Chow is the Global Employee Experience Lead and Co-Chair of Asian & Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group, Wiley

and

Jinnie Kim is a Publisher and Co-Chair of Asian & Pacific Islander Employee Resource Group, Wiley

Toni Chow is the Global Employee Experience Lead at Wiley, a new role created that is dedicated to culture and colleague engagement.  Prior to that she spent over twenty years supporting C Suite executives including the last 5 CEOs.  Her passion is giving voice to those who don’t usually get the platform and ensuring inclusion and belonging.  Her commitment to DE&I issues include raising awareness systematic inequities in hopes that it can be addressed so that the next generation will not go through the same challenges.  Based in New Jersey, she has raised two children in a diverse community and to never doubt their right to be their full authentic selves.

Jinnie Kim is currently a Publisher at Wiley with responsibility for a large society journals portfolio in the larger cell and molecular program within its Research division. Jinnie has held a variety of roles within scientific publishing for over 20 years and particularly enjoys working with and supporting the mission of large scholarly organizations across the life sciences. She is passionate about DE&I issues and is a proud AAPI who spends many weekends marching for justice between arranging playdates for her 7-year-old. She is based in Chicago.

Resources: