We are all unique; connected we are better
From the beginning, ORCID’s vision was an inclusive one: a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation activities are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders, and time.
By virtue of the fact that we provide a name-independent person identifier for researchers, ORCID inherently encourages inclusivity and equitable treatment of those whose names are more likely to change over their careers, for example, transgendered people, and women in cultures where it is traditional for them to change names upon marriage.
ORCID’s DEI Statement, We are all unique; connected we are better, combines both aspects of our primary mission to both disambiguate researchers from one another by means of a unique identifier and to keep researchers connected to their research outputs throughout their careers.
ORCID’s DEI Principles
In summer of 2020, we issued a statement of solidarity for Black Lives Matter in the wake of the horrific events that rightfully inspired so many in scholarly communications to pause and reflect on our part of upholding and furthering equity and justice. As we mentioned in that post, we established a working group to ensure we are living up to our vision, and to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, in every way we can. It was composed of interested ORCID staff and met monthly to raise issues, discuss solutions, develop initiatives and ensure continual alignment to ORCID’s values and mission as a community-driven organization.
Empathy is an enormous concept and includes not only the ability to understand the world from another’s point of view, but the curiosity to learn and the willingness to validate that point of view, even if (especially if) it differs from our own.
Equity includes concepts of fairness and justice. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines equity as “the absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically or geographically.” Do the services ORCID offers take into account the differing environmental abilities and constraints of our community?
Are we being as clear and transparent as we can be about our motives and processes? Are we inviting feedback and criticism? Are we able to employ our empathy to consider what is being reflected back to us from our members and users?
Even if “appreciation” is not a common DEI principle, we at ORCID feel it is important principle to include. Appreciation is the willingness to look for and the ability to recognize and enjoy the positive qualities of other people or groups of people. How generous are we with our expression of appreciation for our staff, and of our community?
Diversity advocate Vernā Myers once said, “diversity is being invited to the party, but inclusion is being asked to dance.” Are we fostering a diverse field of inclusion and participation? Are we encouraging people to participate with us, and lowering the barriers to make that possible?
Humility is founded in the belief that we are not, and no one is ever, perfect — there is always room for improvement. Are we living up to our values as completely as we can? Does what we do contribute to a better world? Are we taking responsibility for where we are right now and forging a path to improvement wherever that is needed? Where can we go next?
DEI is an ORCID-wide initiative
In order to hold ourselves accountable, our original DEI group remains intact but has been expanded to include everyone throughout ORCID. We realized that if we want ORCID to excel at DEI, it should not be considered a separate “bolt-on” activity. Like privacy, it should be embedded into everything we do, and we should examine every activity and project with a DEI lens to ensure that it adheres to our values and founding principles. And though the ORCID Board and Executive Director are ultimately responsible to ensure we are living up to our values, we are all responsible for creating an environment conducive to a strong DEI culture.
After our DEI group accomplished the task of establishing our DEI principles, we transferred ownership of our DEI Initiatives and priorities to our senior leadership team, who in turn manages them through our existing operational processes. The DEI group shifted from being a working group to being a forum to assess how the Senior team is applying DEI to all of its initiatives, projects, and activities. At their November 2021 meeting, our Board reviewed our DEI principles and resolved to “commit to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do to create a more inclusive community for all.”
ORCID DEI in the community
As we strengthen our internal DEI practices to embed them into all aspects of operations, we are keeping an eye on external initiatives where our focus and capabilities could be particularly helpful. We have engaged in discussions with a number of members of the transgendered researcher community, NISO and COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics), and have established a new partnership with The Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC), an organization that was formed to discuss and address issues of diversity and inclusion within our industry and create shared best practice resources and toolkits. We have adopted their Joint Statement of Principles and encourage you to explore their excellent repository of resources, including their Toolkits for Equity: Transforming Scholarly Publishing Communities.