The Coalition for Diversity & Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC) is launching a new initiative, the C4DISC Community of Practice (COP), to provide a virtual space for peer-to-peer learning regarding diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in scholarly communications. For those with a dedicated role or a personal interest in spreading DEIA values, and whether they are acting in a paid role or as a volunteer, the COP venue offers a space for discussion of issues related to DEIA in your organizations. The purpose is to share knowledge and provide ideas and potential solutions to take back to the organizations that each of us represents or influences. C4DISC envisions the COP as a venue for building trusted connections and providing knowledge-sharing opportunities for organizations about their DEIA work.
An initial pilot session with more than 30 participants was held in January of this year and was open to anyone interested in peer discussions related to DEIA. Participants joined a Zoom call in which everyone was encouraged to discuss challenges in their organizations. Feedback followed, indicating enthusiasm to continue the initiative.
Although the pilot COP discussions centered around how DEIA work is organized or staffed in participants’ organizations/communities and the DEIA initiatives that they worked on throughout the past year, thoughtful suggestions for future meetings included choosing specific topics and the types of support that participants need. Potential topics included spreading awareness of DEIA issues, making content more inclusive, creating DEIA committees, and getting buy-in from other staff in participants’ organizations, along with general discussions regarding best practices, policies, and examples.
After the feedback from the pilot call, C4DISC decided to hold virtual discussions every two months that will combine time for open discussion with topical breakouts based on suggestions from participants ahead of the calls. Those interested can join discussions regularly or whenever topics on the agenda appeal to them. Discussions will not be recorded and minutes will not be taken. Conversations remain confidential among participants to foster open sharing of information. A working group of volunteers has been recruited to coordinate the activities of the COP.
C4DISC has also set up a COP listserv as an asynchronous space for ongoing discussion and networking. It will also house a crowdsourced resources document where those joining calls or communicating on the listserv may choose to share resources.
C4DISC hopes the COP will be an opportunity to learn about DEIA work already happening within our organizations, to share strategies, coordinate efforts, and to surface topics that warrant more in-depth discussion. You may register your interest in joining the COP calls online1 as well as submit topic discussion ideas. Please share with any peers (at your organization or others) who may be interested.
C4DISC is a volunteer-driven organization with a mission to work with organizations and individuals to build equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility in scholarly communications. The vision of C4DISC is a socially just community that welcomes, values, and celebrates all who seek to contribute to scholarly communications. Learn more at https://c4disc.org/.
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Patricia K Baskin, MS, is Executive Editor, Neurology® Journals. Patricia wrote this piece on behalf of the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications.