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Edited by
Julia Deathridge

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The research community needs to do more to support scientists from underrepresented groups.
Julia Deathridge (CC BY 4.0)
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Inequalities and biases affect all aspects of the research system – from how funding is allocated to the peer-review process. This collection of articles highlights how systemic racism, gender bias and other forms of inequality have a negative impact on the research enterprise, and how institutions and individual scientists are working to make science more equitable, diverse and inclusive. You can read about the work eLife is doing to tackle inequalities in research and publishing in our lastest update here.


  1. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Unlocking the power of virtual networking for early-career researchers

    Cellas A Hayes, Jordan T Moore ... W Marcus Lambert
    'Cold emails' and social media platforms, notably Twitter/X and LinkedIn, can be used to build virtual networks for early career trainees.
    1. Medicine

    Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Demystifying the ‘hidden curriculum’ for minoritized graduate students

    Michael J Hopkins, Brittni N Moore ... Andrea S Young
    Exposing new PhD students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to the 'hidden curriculum' in graduate school will help prepare them for a career in research.
    1. Genetics and Genomics

    Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Targeted action to increase inclusion at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

    Saher Ahmed, David J Adams ... Maria Augusta Arruda
    The Sanger Excellence Fellowship has been established to increase the representation of researchers with Black-heritage backgrounds at a leading research centre in the UK.
    1. Neuroscience

    Being Neurodivergent in Academia: Marginalising dyslexic researchers is bad for science

    Helen Taylor, Arash Zaghi, Sara Rankin
    Specific learning differences like dyslexia may play an essential role in advancing human knowledge and enriching the academic environment.
  2. A black and white line-drawing of a gloved hand holds a spark over a yellowy-orange background

    Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Why I cannot return home yet

    Mariano A Molina
    Studying abroad helped a Panamanian student to accept who he is, but it meant him letting go of his dream.
  3. Meta-Research: Systemic racial disparities in funding rates at the National Science Foundation

    Christine Yifeng Chen, Sara S Kahanamoku ... Justin Hosbey
    White principal investigators applying to the National Science Foundation are consistently funded at higher rates than most non-white PIs.
  4. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: A guide for writing anti-racist tenure and promotion letters

    The A4BL Anti-racist Tenure Letter Working Group
    Acknowledging the often underappreciated contributions Black and other marginalized scholars make to academia can help us build a more inclusive culture.
  5. Talking Points: Angeline Dukes on racism in science

    All members of the scientific community – from publishers to faculty – must work together to make academia more equitable, diverse and inclusive.
  6. A photograph of Rosanna Alegado in her lab. Image credit: Elyse Butler

    Talking Points: Rosanna Alegado on scientists and Indigenous communities

    Developing strong relationships between scientists and Indigenous communities is essential to promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and improving science.
  7. Jess Wade smiling and winking at the camera, making the peace sign with her left hand.

    Talking Points: Jess Wade on gender bias in science

    Tackling gender inequalities in science needs to start in school.
  8. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Mental health in medical and biomedical doctoral students during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and racial protests

    Allison Schad, Rebekah L Layton ... Jeanette Gowen Cook
    Biomedical doctoral students and those from historically excluded groups exhibit higher rates of mental distress, which worsened in 2020 for some populations.
    1. Epidemiology and Global Health

    Science Forum: Adding a One Health approach to a research framework for minority health and health disparities

    Brittany L Morgan, Mariana C Stern ... Laura Fejerman
    Adding a One Health approach to a research framework for minority health and health disparities encourages the exploration of new avenues of inquiry, multidisciplinary collaboration, and the consideration of new determinants of health.
    1. Medicine

    Point of View: Why both sides of the gender equation matter

    Lindy E Barrett
    It is important that any strategy that seeks to move towards gender parity in science and medicine includes actions to address male advantage and overrepresentation as well as female disadvantage and underrepresentation.
  9. Point of View: Lessons from an initiative to address gender bias

    Kate E Hoy, Bernadette M Fitzgibbon, Anna-Katharine Brem
    How a letter addressing the lack of women invited to speak at a conference in brain stimulation encouraged researchers to take action.
  10. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Alternative strategies for closing the award gap between white and minority ethnic students

    Louise Cramer
    An analysis of the grades awarded to cell biology students at University College London suggests that exams may contribute more to the award gap than coursework in this subject.
    1. Medicine

    Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Introducing the MAVEN Leadership Training Initiative to diversify the scientific workforce

    Y Claire Wang, Elizabeth Brondolo ... The MAVEN Leadership Team
    The MAVEN Initiative has been designed to encourage mid-career women scientists, particularly women of color, to move into leadership positions in science.
  11. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: A call to eradicate non-inclusive terms from the life sciences

    Aziz Khan
    The number of articles containing non-inclusive terms such as "blacklist" and "whitelist" are increasing in the life sciences literature.
  12. Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: Racial inequity in grant funding from the US National Institutes of Health

    Michael A Taffe, Nicholas W Gilpin
    Grant applications submitted to the NIH by African-American/Black PIs are less likely to be funded than applications from white PIs, and the NIH must find a solution that eliminates this racial disparity.
  13. Research Communication: Ways to increase equity, diversity and inclusion

    Devang Mehta, Yaw Bediako ... Tracey Weissgerber
    ​​ The eLife Early-Career Advisory Group calls for radical changes at eLife and other journals to make science more diverse and inclusive.
    Formats available:
    • HTML
    • PDF
  14. Science Forum: Sex differences and sex bias in human circadian and sleep physiology research

    Manuel Spitschan, Nayantara Santhi ... Rhiannon White
    Research on human sleep and circadian physiology exhibits a bias towards male subjects, creating a sex data gap which holds potential real-world impact and requires concerted effort to close.
    1. Medicine

    Meta-Research: COVID-19 medical papers have fewer women first authors than expected

    Jens Peter Andersen, Mathias Wullum Nielsen ... Reshma Jagsi
    Lockdowns in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic appear related to a decrease in the number of women publishing research papers, especially as first authors.
  15. Racism in Science: We need to act now

    Michael B Eisen
    eLife, like the rest of science, must tackle the many inequalities experienced by Black scientists.
    Formats available:
    • HTML
    • PDF
  16. Black Lives Matter: A commitment from eLife

    The communities of eLife are committed to using our voices, actions and resources to confront anti-Black racism and racial inequality in science, medicine and beyond.
  17. Research Culture: Career choices of underrepresented and female postdocs in the biomedical sciences

    W Marcus Lambert, Martin T Wells ... Linnie M Golightly
    Mentorship, financial security and a positive sense of self-worth increase the likelihood that underrepresented minority and female postdocs will pursue a career in academia.
  18. Meta-Research: Gender variations in citation distributions in medicine are very small and due to self-citation and journal prestige

    Jens Peter Andersen, Jesper Wiborg Schneider ... Mathias Wullum Nielsen
    In studies of gender disparities in academia, increased focus is required on within-group variability and between-group overlap of distributions when interpreting and reporting results.
  19. Research Assessment: Reducing bias in the evaluation of researchers

    A workshop run by DORA identified a number of ways to reduce bias in hiring and funding decisions.
  20. Workforce Diversity: Let’s talk about race

    A workshop convened by the Medical Research Council gave PhD students the opportunity to discuss how research careers could be made more inclusive for black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals.
    1. Microbiology and Infectious Disease

    Meta-Research: Gender inequalities among authors who contributed equally

    Nichole A Broderick, Arturo Casadevall
    An analysis of papers in which two or more authors shared first-author position found that male authors were more likely than female authors to appear first in the author list.
  21. Gender Equity: Addressing recruitment at the departmental level

    We suggest five ways in which biology departments can improve their hiring processes in order to achieve gender equity in their workforce.
  22. Workforce diversity: Strategies for cultivating inclusion in research

    The organizers of a recent symposium on diversity challenges in science, technology, engineering and math outline approaches to improve diversity and inclusion across all career stages.
    1. Medicine

    Research: Adequate statistical power in clinical trials is associated with the combination of a male first author and a female last author

    Willem M Otte, Joeri K Tijdink ... Christiaan H Vinkers
    An analysis of 31,873 clinical trials shows that adequate statistical power was most often present in trials with a male first author and a female last author.
  23. Research: Gender bias in scholarly peer review

    Markus Helmer, Manuel Schottdorf ... Demian Battaglia
    Gender-bias in peer reviewing might persist even when gender-equity is reached because both male and female editors operate with a same-gender preference whose characteristics differ by editor-gender.
  24. Research: Decoupling of the minority PhD talent pool and assistant professor hiring in medical school basic science departments in the US

    Kenneth D Gibbs Jr, Jacob Basson ... David A Broniatowski
    A systems-level analysis of the biomedical workforce in the US shows that current strategies to enhance faculty diversity are unlikely to have a significant impact, and that there is a need to increase the number of PhDs from underrepresented minority backgrounds who move on to postdoctoral positions.
  25. Point of View: What does it take to recruit and retain senior women faculty?

    Fiona M Watt
    eLife deputy editor Fiona M Watt recounts some of her personal experiences as a senior female academic in a male-dominated environment.