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How to use singular they — and other inclusivity tactics learned from being EiC of JGR Space

Presentation #127.03 in the session Driving Towards a More Diverse Space Physics Research Community – Perspectives, Initiatives, Strategies, and Actions — Poster Session.

Published onOct 20, 2022
How to use singular they — and other inclusivity tactics learned from being EiC of JGR Space

This presentation highlights some key insights regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion from my years as Editor in Chief (EiC) of the Journal of Geophysical Research — Space Physics. Sexism, racism, bigotry, and other forms of group exclusion exist in the space physics research community and we need to continue efforts to make community more inclusive and equitable. One of the biggest pieces of advice to share is that people should not assume others in the field are male, but rather make no assumption about gender. This is easily taken into account by adopting the use of “they.” It is still plural but used to refer to one person, just as the word “you” is regularly applied. Furthermore, if someone asks that you use “they,” then use it for them instead of he or she. This is one small way to avoid inclusivity-related microaggressions. Additional inclusivity tactics are to use a color-blind-friendly palette with graphics, crafting plain language summaries that would appeal to a broad audience, suggesting reviewers from historically marginalized groups, and specifically seeking out relevant papers to cite in your article that are first-authored by members of such groups. Beyond publishing, inclusivity tactics at a meeting like TESS include avoiding gender-associated compliments and jokes, ensuring everyone in a discussion gets a chance to speak, and monitoring your own speaking time. Diversity helps productivity, so expand your network of research colleagues by intentionally seeking out people beyond your own demographic. You can help to create diverse attendance at meetings by supporting travel grant programs. We should also work to change policy to enhance and ensure equity within our community. Fee waivers for authors in developing countries are vital to ensure dissemination of research findings that might otherwise receive limited attention. Land acknowledgments are a good reminder that the past shapes the present, but we need to focus efforts on future action. I grew as a DEI advocate during my time as EiC; I hope that some of those lessons I learned will help you become a stronger advocate, too.

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