Publishers of more than 7,000 of the world's best known research journals have committed to action on equality, by signing up to the Royal Society of Chemistry’s (RSC) joint commitment for action on inclusion and diversity in publishing.

The move follows previous research conducted by RSC, which found that the gender of a scientific author, peer-reviewer or editor can influence the likelihood of research being published.

All signatories of the commitment have agreed to pool resources and knowledge to agree four initial actions to set a new standard in scholarly publishing. These are to:

  1. Understand the research community – working together to enable diversity data to be self-reported by members of their communities, to move towards a collective and compliant system. Anonymised diversity data will be shared and analysed to shape further action.
  2. Reflect the diversity of the community – anonymised data will be used to uncover subject-specific diversity baselines, and set minimum targets to achieve appropriate and inclusive representation of authors, reviewers and editorial decision-makers.
  3. Share success to achieve impact – transparent sharing of policies, measurements, language and standards, to move inclusion and diversity in publishing forward.
  4. Set minimum standards on which to build – scrutinise publishing processes and take action to achieve a minimum standard for inclusion in publishing, based initially on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Framework for Action in Scientific Publishing.

“We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of our colleagues across research publishing to join us in our commitment to tackling bias and discrimination in research,” said Dr Emma Wilson, Director of Publishing at RSC.

“By sharing knowledge and working together to tackle the issue of bias at all stages of the publishing process, we not only improve our own publications’ equality, but we set a standard for others to follow.

“The main impact here though, is on people, and this commitment from these influential publishing houses will remove barriers to marginalised groups – and in turn lead to a significant improvement in research and research culture.”