The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) is one of the first publishers to collect and communicate data on diversity across the organization, launching its first biennial diversity report December 16. These new figures for 2020 reveal the representation of women, racial or ethnic minorities, and sexual minorities among its leadership, award and grant winners, and its publication pipeline.
“In the past year alone, we have published results of bias in scientific publishing, of exclusion factors in schools, and a worrying decline in the career development of women and academic chemists from ethnic minorities, said the acting director general of the RSC, Helen Pain. “For each of these issues and more, we have taken data-driven action. “
The RSC said the results will be used to ensure it adheres to best practices, compare its current activities and reflect where the organization can and should improve its services or processes. The RSC suggests that the report illustrates the need for self-reported diversity data to make chemistry more accessible and inclusive.
As for the members of the board of directors that governs the RSC and appoints the members of its boards and committees, there was an equal distribution between men and women. Of those who serve on the organization’s governing bodies and divisional boards, 65% were men and 35% were women, and 92% of them were white and 5% Asian. 6% were disabled and only 4% were not heterosexual.
The new report also analyzes the 63 RSC awards awarded in 2020. A breakdown of judges revealed that 69% were men and 31% were women. The same ratio was reflected in this year’s winners. An examination of the ethnicity of the judges showed that 97% were white, as were 87% of the winners. 3% of the judges and none of the winners were disabled, and only 2% of the judges were not heterosexual.
An analysis of grants awarded by the RSC in 2020 found that men received 60%. And in the mentoring program, 60% of the mentors were men. Overall, 91% of these mentors were white, while 15% were disabled and 91% were heterosexual.
The RSC also looked at the composition of the editorial boards of its 46 journals. Of those who served on boards of directors in 2020, 57% were men and 43% were women. The ethnic breakdown revealed that 71% were white and 28% were Asian, while 2% had a disability and all were heterosexual – although the response rate for this question was only 2%, well below the average of 28%.
As part of a joint agreement which RSC launched in 2020 to reduce bias in scholarly publishing, the company is currently working with more than 30 other publishers internationally to collectively improve data collection on diversity. RSC’s next diversity analysis is scheduled for 2022.
“If we are to ensure that talented people thrive and advance in chemistry, we need more transparency in reporting the data that gives us insight into the barriers people face – and ways to remove them. “said Pain.