The pandemic is sabotaging the careers of researchers from under-represented groups, but institutions can help to staunch the outflow.
Achieving diversity in Research
Research has a diversity problem. Many groups are underrepresented in research including women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and socially disadvantaged populations. Attention to the issue is growing, and some institutions and scientific communities are actively seeking to increase diversity. But far more needs to be done.
This collection of articles, a collaboration between Nature Research and Scientific American, focuses on the barriers faced by women and how they might be overcome, but also includes articles about the challenges encountered by other underrepresented groups in science. The collection highlights our long-standing commitment to covering gender-related issues and other aspects of diversity. We hope that this collection will stimulate discussion and build support for greater diversity in research and beyond.
Some funders and journals are trying to support female researchers and others whose publications and positions are at risk.
A standardized exam is under fire amid claims that it perpetuates bias and exclusion.
The pressure on researchers from ethnic minority groups to participate in campus diversity issues comes at a cost.
Frustrated and exhausted by systemic racism in the science community, Black researchers outline steps for action.
Diversity initiatives applaud role models but academics who are carers can have trouble relinquishing family privacy to share their experiences, says Sascha K. Hooker
Cheryl Watkins-Moore moved from medicine to business before she launched an initiative to help women, minority ethnic groups and immigrants to enter the STEM start-up community.
Female scientists continue to be under-represented across academia.
More Indigenous and Latin American students are joining US graduate programmes — but overall diversity remains low
Proportions of female students and those from under-represented ethnic groups are rising, yet parity is a way off.
Nature’s survey of more than 6,000 graduate students reveals the turbulent nature of doctoral research.
Phill Cassey outlines one proactive step to support diversity in his workplace.
After the First World War, female scientists gained footholds in academia as well as industrial and government research, despite facing prejudice and many other barriers.
Women’s contributions to science were played down for decades after Nature’s 1869 launch, by both the journal and wider society.
Nature spoke to three US researchers who have built academic careers after they were released.
Aref Kyyaly fled the Syrian civil war to the United Kingdom with his family in 2014. Since leaving the country, Kyyaly has joined the University of Southampton, where he now researches the early detection of allergies. Nature speaks to him about his experiences.
Nature Research and The Estée Lauder Companies honour two initiatives to encourage girls and young women in the United States, Ghana, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Nomawethu Hlazo, a PhD student in archaeology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, speaks to Nature about her experiences.
A consortium of US universities aims to examine how best to help a vulnerable population that is affected by anxiety and depression.
Julie Gould hears how a technical university in the Netherlands took radical measures to boost the number of female academics.
Thinking about the needs of all participants is key to a successful event.
Riley Black, who came out as transgender and non-binary this year, describes the challenges of cultivating diversity in a discipline with an ‘Indiana Jones’ image.
When ecologist Rachel Katz was offered a government job in a region with few academic options for her partner, herpetologist Sean Sterrett, a decision-analysis tool helped to solve their ‘two-body problem’.
Medical physicist Iyobosa Uwadiae ignored sceptics who questioned her plan to pursue a doctoral programme in the African nation. Here is her advice.
A planetary-science PhD student created a much-needed collection and began tweeting about it.
Female applicants will receive priority consideration for faculty positions at Eindhoven University of Technology for at least 18 months.
Researcher-parents must balance their children’s needs with work priorities while in the field.
Moving abroad for a career opportunity can be stressful and difficult. But there are ways to navigate the minefields.
Seven researchers discuss the challenges posed by science’s embrace of one global language.
Drive for accessibility sees research relayed in regional tongues instead of English.
Nature meets five scientists working in non-Western nations.
Developers of ‘Request a Woman Scientist’ hope that its 10,000 participants can help to boost gender diversity in scientific talks and in the media.
American Institute of Physics study finds women gaining higher proportions of PhDs and faculty positions, but identifies a leak in the pipeline at undergraduate level.
Some universities offer dedicated lactation space, but there’s still plenty of room for improvements.
Without a national paid family-leave policy, some researchers are struggling at crucial career phases.
Short online sessions that aim to change biased workplace behaviour have a limited effect, find US researchers.
Neil Reavey describes how scientists can support or lead initiatives in their organizations.
Isobel Williams has an autoimmune disease. The support network that she co-founded is helping to improve life in academia for people with long-term health conditions.
Germany extended a de-facto invitation to refugees in 2015. Denise Hruby meets one of them.
The country is a world leader in scientific research, but falls behind when it comes to diversity in science.
Beate Schücking was re-elected to the position in 2017.
How an ‘editathon’ can help black, Asian and minority ethnic scientists — and science as a whole, explains Nicola O'Reilly.
Offering support to female colleagues can trigger a culture change that makes science and engineering more equitable for all.
Task force hopes that a report on boosting participation by under-represented groups will ‘pull the alarm cord to say we can’t continue doing things the way we have been’.
Six female researchers discuss how they overcame social and financial obstacles in science and engineering.
Imposing a quota to boost the numbers of female academic researchers might have backfired.
Low proportions could be the result of a reluctance to apply or to discrimination.
Female PhD recipients in the United States expect to earn less than male colleagues.
There are many ways to create an inclusive workplace, say Julia Leventon, Katy Roelich and Lucie Middlemiss.
Support-based peer associations offer professional value.
Underprepared meetings that neglect to set up childcare facilities will ultimately damage science, says Eileen Parkes.
Conference organizers are getting better at accommodating families.
Female researchers’ scientific impact might be undervalued by citation metrics in some countries.
Five fathers describe how they and their partners combine parenting and careers.
The Royal Society of Chemistry has a plan to boost retention and promotion of female academic researchers.
Teams should comprise all gender identities to spark the most innovative endeavours, say researchers.
Two female researchers tell Julie Gould about their efforts to inspire other women to become scientists
The Association of Hungarian Women in Science (NaTE) has won Nature Research's inaugural Innovation in Science Award.
Nature’s survey offers a snapshot of salaries and career paths in the scientific sector.
More time is needed for questions and breaks before the question stage.
Certain fields draw frequent attacks on social media and other digital platforms. Three scientists explain how they navigate the minefields.
Ashani Weeraratna describes harassment she has faced and how current US immigration policies affect biomedical science.
And here's why you should, too, say Jess Wade and Maryam Zaringhalam.
Scientists in areas that lack basic provisions — including dependable electricity, water supplies and funding — do research that has a high societal impact. Five people describe the challenges they face.
Two researchers describe how they successfully manage a mentoring arrangement in which face-to-face meetings are rare.
Scientists who step back from full-time work can find plenty of ways to remain active in their research field.
More than 100 researchers describe their work and the struggles they face, including gender bias and achieving a positive work–life balance.
Six researchers share their ideas for improving representation.
Cultural differences can be both stimulating and challenging for researchers working or studying in a foreign country.
Lessons in leadership from outside the laboratory.
Mental illness can be devastating — but there are ways to fight it, say four researchers who have known those bleak times.
A generation of black scientists is gearing up to transform the research landscape.
But female scientists suffer when their research proposals are judged primarily on the strength of their CVs.
Court temporarily revives protections for some unauthorized immigrants as Trump and Congress clash over policy reform.
The National Science Foundation says institutions it supports must disclose when researchers are found to have violated policies or are put on leave pending investigation.
Researchers in India hope that institute's finding will motivate other academic organizations to confront harassment.
Order barring citizens of seven countries from entering the United States has left many confused and afraid.
The United States is set to trial a version that will also cover race and disability, while other countries have already embraced the voluntary rating system.
Male scientists in the United Kingdom report teaching less than their female counterparts, while women and minorities tend to feel disadvantaged in their careers.
Researchers from ethnic minorities are more likely to be discouraged from taking parental leave.
‘Leaky pipeline’ stands the test of time, with overall progress for women in research continuing at a crawl.
Editors are more likely to select reviewers of the same gender.
Campaign on Wikipedia seeks to track down photos of female scientists and those from minority ethnic groups.
Researchers who worked with Florian Jaeger have filed a complaint with the US government after the university cleared his name.
Two-fifths report feeling unsafe at work, and 18% have concerns about attending conferences.
One in five say they have been harassed in university settings.
Wages for top scientists are shooting skywards while others are being left behind.
Around the world, poverty and social background remain huge barriers in scientific careers.
Scientists from low-income backgrounds face barrier to entry, but no pay discrimination.
Women and men applying for geoscience postdocs receive very different letters of support from their mentors.
Persistent biases continue to affect the numbers of female physicists.
Fewer than half of academies have policies in place to boost gender equality in membership.
Women publish and review less than men in American Geophysical Union journals, but have a higher acceptance rate.
Transgender people are the most affected.
US science agencies threaten harsh penalties, but many have yet to take action.
Caltech has suspended a faculty member for violating its policy against harassment.
After years of second-class status in research partnerships, African scientists are calling for change.
Social media is shaking up how scientists talk about gender issues.
Officials worry that under-reporting remains a problem.
University also reveals internal correspondence and other documents related to complaints against former professor Geoffrey Marcy.
Women are under-represented in physical sciences and in science in the developing world. Meet three who beat both sets of odds.
The sciences can be a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, but biases may still discourage many from coming out.
Opinion and Analysis
Academic chemistry is haemorrhaging talented female researchers. However, a barrage of new initiatives aims to stem the flood.
Materials research is poised to play a pivotal role in addressing the grand challenges faced by society, from engineering better medicines to providing accessible clean water and renewable energy. However, complex problems require diverse teams. Therefore, there is an urgent need to address the diversity gap in materials science and engineering, especially for women.
The percentage of women in post-graduate physics positions has stalled just below 20%. The most precipitous drop in women’s representation occurs between high school and university; however, women at all career stages struggle with ongoing cultural burdens and obstacles.
Ethnic and racial diversity are extremely low among United States citizens and permanent residents who earned doctorates in earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences. Worse, there has been little to no improvement over the past four decades.
Speaking at a scientific conference helps spread scientific results and is also fundamental for career advancement. Here the authors show that at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the largest Earth and space science conference, women are offered speaking opportunities less often than men overall.
Two years after the biotech industry was called out on gender imbalance, the lack of racial diversity in the workforce is largely being ignored.
Psychosocial mentoring for both students and managers can help people from different backgrounds develop into a team and a community.
Fiona M. Watt at King’s College London Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (UK) discusses how gender balance in the scientific community is evolving.
Safeguarding our lives online requires skills and experiences that lie beyond masculine stereotypes of the hacker and soldier, says Winifred R. Poster.
The contributions of researchers in the developing world must be sought and recognized, says Dyna Rochmyaningsih.
I’ve encountered even more prejudice as a researcher from the Middle East than as a woman working in Saudi Arabia, says Malak Abedalthagafi.
Archive study shows that formal inclusion of women does not automatically lead to their full participation, say Aileen Fyfe and Camilla Mørk Røstvik.
Jory Lerback and Brooks Hanson present an analysis that reveals evidence of gender bias in peer review for scholarly publications.
A former Google engineer’s memo on diversity reveals psychological blind spots, not biological differences, says Debbie Chachra.
It's time for academic institutions to take responsibility for protecting students and staff, says Laurel Issen.
Gender disparities in science are well documented. An analysis of 1,224 recommendation letters from 54 countries for geoscience postdoctoral fellowships reveals that women are half as likely to receive an excellent letter as men.
Immunologists appreciate the need for creative approaches to tackle complex scientific questions, which can involve not only the use of novel technologies but also the experience of scientists from diverse backgrounds. Here, we highlight measures to prime for the inclusion of women and underrepresented individuals in science to boost immunology research.
Putting women and girls at the centre of solar-oven programmes builds communities and reduces pollution, say Laura S. Brown and William F. Lankford.
Astronomer Meg Urry reflects on a turbulent year for women in science.
UK data hold lessons for how to close the gender gap in bioscience grant applications, success and size, argue Paul Boyle and colleagues.
Georgina Ferry celebrates the egalitarian, collaborative culture that has so far produced two female Nobel prizewinners.
The First World War ushered women into laboratories and factories. In Britain, it may have won them the vote, argues Patricia Fara, but not the battle for equality.
Richard B. Freeman and Wei Huang reflect on a link between a team's ethnic mix and highly cited papers.
To appreciate women’s contribution to science, Michelle Francl suggests it’s time to stop talking about the most famous one.
Michelle Francl reminds us that you don't need to look like Einstein to be a scientist.
Although there is a keen awareness of the gender gap in the physical sciences, a healthy female representation has yet to be achieved. This article offers some possible explanations, in addition to strategies to more rapidly achieve gender balance in the physical sciences.
Omissions of qualified women scientists from major meeting programs continue to occur despite a surge in articles indicating persistent gender-discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion, and calls for gender balance in conference organizing committees.
Lack of diversity in study populations, research methodologies and the researchers themselves undermines the goal of identifying and understanding the full range of human behaviour. Medin et al. argue that this system of non-diversity represents a crisis for the science of human behaviour.
Chemistry education and research in Africa is challenging — a fact that is clearly reflected by publication metrics. Yet this is far from the full story on a continent that has youth on its side, a cultural link to chemistry through its strong interest in plants and indigenous medicine, and an increasing number of ways forward.
Women are underrepresented in the science and engineering fields. Difficulties in balancing family life and work have a big role in women's opting out of scientific career paths. Institutions and funding agencies need to work harder to reverse this disparity.
Michelle Francl wonders if the harem effect in crystallography is overrated.
The biotech industry needs to do more to recruit people from diverse groups.
Neuroscience is not spared from wrestling with gender disparity issues. Progress toward more balanced representation has been slow, but improvement is possible with consistent and focused efforts.
Science, including the fields of ecology and evolution, must advocate a zero-tolerance policy towards harassment and bullying. This means promoting safe workspaces in all contexts, and letting go of the idea that fieldwork entails special circumstances.
Chemistry research and education face challenges anywhere in the world, but more so in less developed — or less stable — economies. These countries and their more economically fortunate neighbours can all contribute to the development of chemistry and its ability to tackle local and global issues.
Despite much emphasis on diversity in the US, geoscience remains one of the least diverse scientific disciplines. If we want to achieve and maintain diversity, we need to make our work environments welcoming to a broad spectrum of voices.
No matter where you look in biopharmaceutical boardrooms, gender bias is evident. Is it so difficult to actually acknowledge this pernicious bias and actively discourage all-male boards?
Unconscious biases are a roadblock for gender equality in science.