In response to recent events related to racism and injustice, most recently in the United States, but still present everywhere in the world, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The ISB is a society devoted to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the scientific enterprise and in society as a whole. We unequivocally sustain and believe that Black Lives Matter.
Like all STEM organisations, we cannot ignore both the legacy of racism, especially in the life sciences, and the reality of discrimination in our institutions and workplaces. In the specific case of our membership, we are aware that discrimination is present in our field, and it is often reflected in a lack of recognition, defined career-tracks, or opportunties for advancement for people invested in biocuration.
What can we do? The ISB EDI committee was created in response to a necessary discussion about sexism, and we were aware from the start of the necessity of tackling other forms of discrimination and intersectionality. We must accelerate our current efforts, and go beyond them.
- Our code of ethics and professional conduct directly addresses our commitment to inclusion and recognition of all community members and the expected behavior of ISB members (https://www.biocuration.org/isb-code-of-ethics-and-professional-conduct/)
- We have included an optional question on ethnicity in our membership and conference registration forms so we can assess the diversity of our community, and inform plans for how to attract and retain members from underrepresented groups
- We make available several funding opportunities for our members, the awarding of which aims to be free of bias, including:
- The Biocuration Inclusivity Award provides individual ISB members with funding towards attending biocuration-relevant events (https://www.biocuration.org/the-biocuration-inclusivity-award/)
- Microgrants – we offer funding to support regional meetings, encouraging those that relate to diversity and inclusion (https://www.biocuration.org/community/microgrants/)
- Fellowships – the short-term fellowship fosters mutually beneficial collaborations across groups, encouraging participation from diverse geographical locations (https://www.biocuration.org/community/fellowships/)
- Scholarships are now available for the Postgraduate Certificate in Biocuration run by the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) at the University of Cambridge (https://www.biocuration.org/isb-scholarship-postgraduate-certificate-in-biocuration/).
- Travel fellowships are available to support travel to the annual Biocuration Conference
- We are currently working on inviting champions of equity, diversity, and inclusion from a variety of institutions to present webinars on the subject of EDI; to share with us more on how the subject is addressed at their institutions and to advise ISB members on what we can do to make a difference
- We will continue to review and revise, where necessary, our Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to ensure that we represent the values and beliefs of all of our community
We welcome you to get in touch with any questions, concerns or suggestions. All members of our community are welcome to participate in the EDI Committee. Please email us at: email@example.com.