Diversity is good for science (communication)


“Is there, in fact, a gender-diversity dividend in science?” This is the question that a group of ten researchers, including Mathias Wullum Nielsena, Sharla Alegriab, Love Börjesonc and others, tried to answer in their paper titled “Opinion: Gender diversity leads to better science”, recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Although the paper focuses mainly on gender diversity, the authors affirm that “Under the right conditions, teams may benefit from various types of diversity, including scientific discipline, work experience, gender, ethnicity, and nationality.” By reviewing literature on the topic, the paper elaborates on the growing number of studies and initiatives (such as the aimed at developing ad-hoc methods to overcome gender biases in scientific research) which have shown the importance of gender diversity both for better and more productive team mechanisms, as well as how “methods of sex- and gender-based analysis into research design enhances the quality of scholarship and may save lives and money”.

Not only gender but social inclusion in general has been the focus of many contributions published on JCOM. The comment “Socially inclusive science communication” offers a collection of five contributions by multiple authors focusing on how “social inclusion is not only an issue of access to knowledge, but also of governance and co-production”. The review “Communicating Science for social inclusion and political engagement: reflections on the PCST Conference, Brazil 2014” by Astrid Treffry-Goatley summarizes the productive and challenging interactions which took place during the PCST Conference in 2014 in Brazil, which had social inclusion as its main focus.