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Scholarly Communication

This guide provides resources to help the University of Calgary research community navigate the scholarly communication ecosystem including information on open access publishing, author rights, predatory publishers, and more.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Scholarly Communication

What is this guide about?
The aim of this guide is to highlight some of the issues within typical scholarly communication practices that impact issues relating to equity, diversity, and inclusion. The guide focuses on what is variously called inclusive citation or citational justice. This page is not exhaustive and does not attempt to fully describe the entire scope of power dynamics implicit in scholarly publishing. It aims to provide authors, peer reviewers, and editors with suggestions and resources for making their practices more equitable and inclusive.

What is the purpose of citation?
Citing (by quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing) is a practice used in the academic community to indicate where theories, quotes, data, ideas or other evidence can be found and verified. Citing also serves to provide attribution to the originators of evidence, avoid plagiarism, and acknowledge the work of others in the academic community. Because they acknowledge people's ideas, and directly impact research metrics, they may impact people's career opportunities and progression. Citations have power.

How do citation practices intersect with issues relating to EDI?
A significant body of research evidence highlights citational inequities in many research fields. For example:

  • women, people of colour, and other equity seeking groups are systematically under cited (see, for example, Caplar et al., 2017; Fulvio et al., 2021).
  • men are significantly more likely to cite themselves than women (Chawla, 2016).
  • less "prestigious" journals tend to publish more diverse research (Mason et al., 2021).
  • scholars must publish in English to receive credit for their work and spread their ideas, even to scholars of their own language group (The Dominant Language of Science | CAUT, 2018).
  • established academic citation styles may diminish the intellectual contributions of formats such as oral teachings (MacLeod, 2021).

Of course, inferring identity from names associated with academic work may be difficult and possibly problematic, unless authors make it explicit. 

Resources for authors

As an author of academic works, here are some actions that you can consider to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in the outputs of your scholarship:

  • Cite "non-traditional" research outputs. This could include sources such as podcasts, films, zines, interviews, social media posts, public appearances, oral histories, and poetry (Ketchum, 2022).
  • Change how you search for literature to cite. Consider the databases, geographic regions, communities, and voices that should be included in your research. 
  • Audit your citations to ensure representation. Some authors use a spreadsheet or a software tool to assist with this process.
  • When considering what research(ers) to read, follow, cite, or suggest as experts, prioritize marginal voices (Bali, 2020).
  • Consider adding a citation diversity statement to your works (Zurn et al., 2020; Ray et al., 2022).

Resources for editors & peer reviewers

As a member of an editorial board, you may be able to modify or adjust existing systems or processes to advance equity. Consider these actions:

  • Learn about unconsious/implicit bias and consider how it may influence you as an editor or peer reviewer.
  • Use an anti-racist heuristic for peer review.
  • Work to diversify the make up of your editorial board and your pool of peer reviewers. A lack of diversity among peer reviewers has been shown to result in a similarly homogenous group of authors (Murray et al., 2019). Likewise, research has shown that editors are likely to select reviewers that match their own gender, whether male or female (Helmer et al., 2017). The Committee on Publication Ethics' resource on Diversifying Editorial Boards may be helpful.
  • Endeavour to use double anonymous peer review (where the identity of the author and the reviewer are unknown to each other). Research suggests that reviewers are biased against women authors (Budden et al., 2008)
  • Gather demographic data on editors, reviewers, and authors while recognizing the challenges of this project. In 2022, over 50 publishers representing over 15,000 journals committed to this action, and has developed a standard list of questions

Works cited on this page

Bali, M. (2020, May 8). Inclusive Citation: How Diverse Are Your References? Reflecting Allowed.

Budden, A. E., Tregenza, T., Aarssen, L. W., Koricheva, J., Leimu, R., & Lortie, C. J. (2008). Double-blind review favours increased representation of female authors. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23(1), 4–6.

Caplar, N., Tacchella, S., & Birrer, S. (2017). Quantitative evaluation of gender bias in astronomical publications from citation counts. Nature Astronomy, 1(6), Article 6.

Chawla, D. S. (2016). Men cite themselves more than women do. Nature.

Fulvio, J. M., Akinnola, I., & Postle, B. R. (2021). Gender (Im)balance in Citation Practices in Cognitive Neuroscience. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33(1), 3–7.

Helmer, M., Schottdorf, M., Neef, A., & Battaglia, D. (2017). Gender bias in scholarly peer review. ELife, 6, e21718.

Ketchum, A. (2022). Engage in Public Scholarship! Concordia University Press.

MacLeod, L. (2021). More Than Personal Communication: Templates For Citing Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 5(1), Article 1.

Mason, S., Merga, M. K., González Canché, M. S., & Mat Roni, S. (2021). The internationality of published higher education scholarship: How do the ‘top’ journals compare? Journal of Informetrics, 15(2), 101155.

Murray, D., Siler, K., Larivière, V., Chan, W. M., Collings, A. M., Raymond, J., & Sugimoto, C. R. (2019). Author-Reviewer Homophily in Peer Review (p. 400515). bioRxiv.

The dominant language of science | CAUT. (2018). Retrieved July 7, 2023, from

Ray, K. S., Zurn, P., Dworkin, J. D., Bassett, D. S., & Resnik, D. B. (2022). Citation bias, diversity, and ethics. Accountability in Research, 0(0), 1–15.

Zurn, P., Bassett, D. S., & Rust, N. C. (2020). The Citation Diversity Statement: A Practice of Transparency, A Way of Life. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24(9), 669–672.