Guest post: Non-optional diversity questionnaire

Originally a comment by Athel Cornish-Bowden on Robin might be described as….

Last week I was invited to referee a paper by an editor of a journal that I was associated with (as author, editor of three special issues, member of the Editorial Board) for more than 40 years. The paper was relevant to my expertise, so I said yes. However, when I tried to download the PDF file I was faced with a demand (not optional) to answer a “diversity questionnaire”.

I should have said right away that it was none of Elsevier’s business what I “identify as”, or what sort of person I spend my nights with. Foolishly, however, I answered their silly questionnaire, in which the first question asked if I was a man, a woman, or “other”. The other questions seemed mainly interested in my skin colour.

When I was on the Editorial Board we selected potential reviewers on our perception (sometimes wrong, of course) of their knowledge of the subject, etc., never any nonsense about “diversity”. In retrospect I could have answered “other (giraffe)” for the first question, and “green” for my skin colour, but I didn’t think of that until afterwards. Anyway, I am planning to write to the handling editor revoking my agreement to review the paper, and emphasizing that in the future I won’t agree to review papers if doing so requires me to answer questionnaires that have nothing to do with my competence.

6 Responses to “Guest post: Non-optional diversity questionnaire”