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Data show how far diversity in science still has to go

Image: designer491, via Shutterstock

Authorship records bring sobering evidence to debate over goals and approaches, says Gali Halevi

Efforts to increase diversity in research still meet resistance. Some academics argue that considering factors such as ethnicity and gender in hiring and promotion decisions, making efforts to attract under-represented groups to educational programmes, and implementing mandatory diversity statements and policies all introduce politics into decisions that should be solely based on intellectual excellence. 

In 2020, an essay published in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie argued that, since the introduction of diversity training, a “candidate’s inclusion in one of the preferred social groups may override his or her qualifications”. It caused an outcry, and has been deleted. Those who support such initiatives believe that politics is already present, that it is essential to redress past inequalities, and that making research more diverse and inclusive will improve its performance.

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