Publisher Simone Taylor, who joined AIP Publishing in 2018 to develop a new digital books collection, has had her hands full with the launch of the first titles on Scitation in September. By any measure, this is an outstanding contribution to the success of our organization, and Simone has earned our recognition as a driver of change in the scholarly publishing community. But it’s not the only way she has left an indelible mark on our industry. In addition to her day job, Simone is a co-founder of the Workplace Equity Project, a grass-roots initiative that conducted a survey in 2018, to map perceptions of experience from individual perspectives of employees throughout the global scholarly industry. The findings were shared on the scholarly publishing conference circuit; as an Executive Summary, Global Voices for Workplace Equity; a peer-reviewed article, Evaluating Equity in Scholarly Publishing in the journal Learned Publishing. A recent infographic (download here) highlights insights drawn from the survey data for the LP article.
The WE Survey data validated what Simone and her WE Project co-founders knew anecdotally, and described in a recent Scholarly Kitchen post. Yet she is curious about the persistent underrepresentation of women and minorities in leadership roles. She commented, “Representation matters because it brings a different perspective to the conversation. We have an opportunity to act now to redress the balance. Next, our community needs its own reckoning with racism. We must channel the outrage we feel into an inward lens that evaluates why our Black colleagues are consistently limited to roles outside of leadership. It’s one thing to see the wrongs wrought by others. It’s another thing entirely to address how our own actions contribute to sustained injustices against minorities. Until we can own our responsibility in creating the problem, we cannot aspire to be part of the solution.”
Simone continues her active advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion. This year she served as a reviewer of the Antiracism Toolkit for Allies, the first of three Toolkits for Equity being undertaken by C4DISC, a coalition to address diversity and inclusion issues in the scholarly publishing industry. In September, she served on an ALPSP 2020 panel on how COVID-19 has affected the industry’s ability to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. Simone saw several opportunities — a chance to revisit policies and strategies, improve recruitment practices, launch sponsorship, advocacy, transparency, and accountability initiatives that can improve employee satisfaction and retention. At the same time, she cautioned that the restructuring, layoffs, and displacement left in the wake of the pandemic could exacerbate inequities and a sense of exclusion. Simone is on the agenda to present at the upcoming STM Frankfurt (October) and Charleston (November) conferences.
Simone notes that she finds AIP Publishing’s culture welcoming, respectful, and supportive of her professional and personal priorities. Launching the books collection “was an extraordinary collaborative effort,” and she is looking forward to working with her team and colleagues throughout the organization to build an offering that meets the needs of scientific researchers, professionals, authors, and librarians. And to ensure that our organization continues to evolve to reflect the diversity of our stakeholder communities, she is helping to shape a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee at AIP Publishing. Stay tuned for more details!