Posted on June 8, 2021

Tackling Systemic Racism Requires the System of Science to Change

Nature, May 19, 2021


{snip}At Nature, we have made it an editorial priority to expose and tackle racism in science by publishing more research, commentary and journalism about racism and racial injustice. Next year, we will produce a special issue, under the guidance of a group of external editors, that examines systemic racism in research. We will be launching a news internship for Black journalists later this year. We are taking further steps to diversify our authors, reviewers and contributors. And we know that too few of our editorial staff are people of colour, so we are working to change this.


Ending systemic racism will therefore require those in the system, including Nature, to collectively acknowledge and study these facts, and to ask: how and why did this happen? We need to thoroughly understand the root causes, even as we seek energetically to remedy the ongoing damage. {snip}

Hundreds of individual organizations have pledged actions to combat racism. All of these are important, but on their own they will not bring about the systemic change that is required. One essential change all institutions can make today is to put the right incentives in place. They must ensure that anti-racism is embedded in their organization’s objectives and that such work wins recognition and promotion. Too often, conventional metrics — citations, publication, profits — reward those in positions of power, rather than helping to shift the balance of power.

A second change institutions should make is to come together to tackle racism, as some already are. At the very least, this means talking to and learning from a wide range of communities, and transcending conventional boundaries to team up. Funders, research institutions and publishers must work together to ensure that research from diverse scientists is funded and published. {snip}