Ways to Increase Diversity of Authors in Philosophy Journals

A recent series of articles on diversity and philosophy journals at the Blog of the American Philosophical Association (APA) culminates today with various suggestions for how editors can improve the diversity of authors they are publishing.

Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton), Eric Schwitzgebel (UC Riverside), and Sherri Lynn Conklin (UC Santa Barbara) first offer three general suggestions to editors:

  1. Set specific, achievable targets to make progress in increasing diversity in your journal.
  2. Implement promising practices to increase diversity in your journal and meet these targets.
  3. Collect data and evaluate progress at regular intervals and revise practices accordingly.

Their more specific suggestions of “editorial practices to consider” include:

  • Editorial Staffing:
    • Diversify representatives—editors, editorial board members, referees, trustees, staff, etc.—to include more people from under-represented groups and on important but neglected topics of interest to a diverse range of philosophers, utilizing a diverse range of methods.
    • However, also be cautious about creating disproportionate burdens on members of under-represented groups, especially if those burdens do not come with public recognition.
  • Publication Choices:
    • Solicit submissions of promising work by members of under-represented groups.
    • Reserve more space for articles by members of under-represented groups to help meet specific targets. 
    • Publish more papers of interest to under-represented groups in philosophy and on important but neglected topics of interest to a diverse range of philosophers.
  • Refereeing:
    • Encourage referees and authors to avoid using language that is insensitive to cultural differences or that inappropriately excludes or offends any group of people based on their ability/disability, age, ethnicity and race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, nationality, etc. 
    • Encourage referees and authors to check that papers cite and discuss a fair representation of relevant work by members of under-represented groups.
    • Encourage referees to not reject promising papers on grounds of writing quality, if the concerns are merely stylistic, can be repaired to an adequate level, and the philosophical content is good. This helps ensure fair consideration of work by philosophers who are not native speakers of English.
    • Encourage timely and developmental reviews, since members of vulnerable groups are especially disadvantaged by long delays before publication.
  • Accessibility of Content:
    • Utilize text-to-speech capability for print-impaired users in the absence of an audio book.
    • Include Alt-text descriptions to explain illustrations for readers with reduced access to graphic information.
    • Give readers control over the font (size, style, and color), background color, and line spacing for online publications, and/or make them available in html.
    • Consider trying to make your journal more accessible for those in developing countries by making your journal open access in those regions.
    • Employ W3C web accessibility standards where feasible, and check for web accessibility.
  • Publicizing These Efforts
    • Inform all representatives and bind future representatives to uphold these standards.
    • Publicly and explicitly adopt diversity-promoting practices, helping to create a culture of concern that enhances the journal’s reputation for welcoming diversity, attracting more diverse submissions.

The full post is here. Further suggestions welcome.

Alma Thomas, “Starry Night and the Astronauts” (detail)

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