Research Press Release

Policy: An actionable anti-racism plan for geoscience organizations

Nature Communications

June 23, 2021

A 20-point anti-racism plan that geoscience organizations can implement to become more inclusive and accessible is presented in a Perspective published in Nature Communications. The plan could help combat racism, discrimination and harassment of members of the geoscience community and could be applicable to other scientific fields.

Geoscience organizations play a central role in shaping the discipline by influencing attitudes, setting standards and providing benefits to their members. While many organizations within the geoscience community have released statements calling out societal racism and discrimination, geoscience remains one of the least diverse fields among science and engineering.

Hendratta Ali and colleagues propose a 20-point action plan that can be implemented by individuals, communities and institutes to become anti-racist. They identify six fundamental constructs for anti-racism — identity, values, access, inclusion, equity, and justice — which they base their plan around. These constructs encourage individuals, communities and institutes to acknowledge racism and intersectionality, be transparent and accountable, remove barriers to opportunities, embrace and accommodate all members, address racist and discriminatory history, and tackle colonial and parachute science (research typically conducted in low-income countries by international scientists and published without including local researchers). They then identify 20 actions that can be taken within these areas to combat racism and discrimination. Specific actions in the plan include adopting inclusive ethics and conduct codes, addressing barriers for the retention of minoritized individuals, and equal compensation for all paid work.

The authors suggest that to implement their plan, organizations will need to engage with all historically underrepresented and marginalized communities (Black, Indigenous and other people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, foreign nationals and women) within the geoscience discipline. They argue that this plan may also be applicable to other disciplines to help fight racism and discrimination.

This press release refers to a Nature Communications Perspective piece, not a Nature Communications research article. Perspectives are intended to provide a forum for authors to discuss models and ideas from a personal viewpoint. They are peer reviewed.


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