Emerald’s Inclusivity Report Adds Indigenous Research

In News by Porter Anderson

The United Kingdom’s Emerald Publishing this year surveyed 1,199 researchers and added Indigenous research to the project.

Tribal art of the Indigenous tribe Asurini do Xingu, lower Amazon, Brazil. Image – J Brarymi

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Almost a Third Say They Experience Discrimination
Having initiated its inquiry into inclusivity in the academic sector in 2020, the United Kingdom’s Emerald Publishing is back this week with results from a second such study, one to which 1,199 “authors and researchers and social-media respondents” replied, a gain on the 1,055 respondents in 2020.

This project has its roots in the United Nations’ 2030 program for its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which embrace social, economic, and political inclusivity as essential targets. In commissioning a second report, the company this time added Indigenous research, “to amplify voices from diverse and historically marginalized backgrounds.” Emerald, in fact, is a founding signatory of the SDG Publishers Compact led by the UN and the International Publishers Association (IPA).

The survey was run between June16  and July 8, and was sent to 161,867 contacts, with responses from the UK represented as part of North and West Europe. All regions had a minimum of 100 response each except for Latin America with 45 and Australasia with 76—Emerald advises caution in those areas. Where possible, contrasts with 2020 data are presented.

Sally Wilson

In media messaging about the research, Sally Wilson, head of publishing with Emerald, is quoted, saying, “The findings underline the need for change in the global research ecosystem. Our sector must become more diverse and inclusive to improve the lives of researchers, advance research, and create a fairer and more equitable world. However, change will only happen if we each take responsibility and play our part.

“As a global publisher, it’s vital that we support the researchers, topics and groups that have been under-represented for far too long. So we’re facing the challenges head on by raising awareness, campaigning for change, and creating new opportunities that allow us to break down barriers and advance diversity and inclusion within the sector.”

In the responses Emerald has worked with, almost a third of academics say they experience discrimination and other anti-inclusive behaviors in the workplace. Experiences include verbal “micro-aggressions” (32 percent), behavioral micro-aggressions (29 percent), and psychological harassment (28 percent), followed by gender discrimination and age discrimination (27 percent). Women academics appear more adversely affected than men academics:

  • 46 percent of women versus 15 percent of men say they have experienced gender discrimination
  • 38 percent of women versus 29 percent of men say they have experienced verbal micro-aggressions, and
  • 34 percent of women versus 25 percent of men for behavioral micro-aggressions

Men are more likely to say they have not had any experience of bullying or discrimination—31 percent compared to 19 percent of women. Nearly double the proportion of men say that inclusivity does not provide any noticeable benefits—22 percent versus 12 percent of women.

“Despite the concerning statistics around anti-inclusive behavior, there are positive signs that institutions are acting, with 60 percent of responding academics saying their institution has taken initiatives to promote a more inclusive work environment. However, there is no one size fits all solution.”

In a couple more general responses of from the responding personnel:

Inclusion in the academic workplace is said to be marginally less important to academics responding in 2022 (84 percent), than it was in 2020 (89 percent).

And inclusivity in academia is most important to the respondents from three low- and middle-income regions—Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and Africa—who gave the highest scores for at least two of the three options (between 88 percent and 92 percent). By contrast, North American respondents scored the lowest across all three options—70 percent for “in research methodology and practices” and “in publishing practices,” and 76 percent for “inclusion in the academic workplace,” down 17 percent from that response in 2020.

Top-Line Findings

Our look at some of the aggregate responses is selective, and we’ll include a link to each portion for more detail.

The Importance of Inclusion in Academia

Image: Emerald Publishing

  • Almost 78 percent of academics surveyed say that inclusion is important to them personally, but believe it’s less important to their institutions (65 percent) and other stakeholders, with publishers and funders seen as least committed to inclusion.
  • One in five academics says that she or he thinks inclusivity doesn’t provide any noticeable benefits.
  • Inclusion in academia is especially important to women, early career researchers, students, and low- and middle-income countries
  • More than 80 percent of academics say that inclusion is important in the academic workplace, in research methodology and practices, and in publishing practices
  • Most academics believe that inclusion can improve academia, with 90 percent saying that it promotes different ways of thinking, 88 percent that it creates an open learning culture and 87 percent that it has a positive effect on creative thinking

More on this part of the survey is here.

Discrimination in Academia

  • Academics say they experience a wide range of discrimination and other anti-inclusive behaviors.
  • Almost a third of academics surveyed say they experience verbal “micro-aggressions” in the workplace.
  • Almost twice as many Indigenous researchers as non-Indigenous researchers say they experience racial discrimination (29 percent versus 15 percent).


Inclusion in Academia

Image: Emerald Publishing

  • Sixty percent of academics say their institute is taking initiatives to drive inclusion in the workplace.
  • Biases in recruitment and promotion are the main challenge to inclusion in the workplace, respondents say, followed by management attitudes and too much pressure on career progression.
  • Recruitment biases and limited funding are top barriers to creating an inclusive environment in academia, per the responses.
  • Not enough knowledge exchange between academia and industry is the main barrier to academics playing a role in creating an inclusive society, respondents say.

More along these lines is here and here.

Inclusion in Publishing and Research

Image: Emerald Publishing

  • Most academics surveyed say they think publishers could help researchers create a more inclusive society.
  • More than 70 percent say they want publishers to remove paywalls, make research more discoverable, increase open access, reduce article processing charges (APCs), support broader research metrics, promote the real world benefits of research, and make editorial boards more diverse.
  • More than a third of academics surveyed say that diversity and inclusion is of high importance in research design, although it’s rated of low importance to one in five respondents.

More along these lines on publishing is here and on research is here.

Inclusion in Indigenous Research

Image: Emerald Publishing

    • Almost a third of academics surveyed say they conduct and/or have conducted research involving Indigenous peoples or communities.
    • That rises to 57 percent for Indigenous researchers responding.
    • More than half of those responding say there are challenges and/or very significant challenges when conducting Indigenous research.
    • Indigenous researchers responding say they face challenges at every stage of the research process.
    • Academics responding say they think publishers and academia should do more to support Indigenous research.

More on this topic here. More of the entire report’s presentation is here. And here we embed a video the company has created on its interests and stances around Indigenous publishing and research.

More from Publishing Perspectives in issues of inclusivity and diversity is here, and more on academic publishing is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s global media partner.

More from us on the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.