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ACS Publications takes steps to combat racism in chemistry publishing

by Linda Wang
July 18, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 28


American Chemical Society Publications is taking steps to confront racism in chemistry publishing. These are some of its initial actions:

providing training for all ACS editors to recognize and interrupt bias in peer review

appointing an ombudsperson to serve as a liaison between editors and the community

developing an actionable diversity plan for each ACS journal

gathering and making public baseline statistics on diversity within ACS journals—encompassing editors, advisers, reviewers, and authors—and annually reporting on progress

including the diversity of journal contributors as an explicit measurement of editor in chief performance

These steps are outlined in an editorial in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, signed by all its editors in chief and deputy editors.

“There is no place for discrimination in science, but it’s sadly a reality that too many of our readers, authors, and fellow researchers face daily,” says ­Sarah Tegen, senior vice president of ACS Publications. “The underrepresentation of Black scientists in chemistry shows us how overdue we are for change, and we aim to use our platform to advocate for reform.”

“By challenging our own beliefs and actions, and through the changes we are making at ACS Publications, we will strive to build a better scientific community, and ultimately a better world,” says James Milne, president of ACS Publications.

Share your ideas on how ACS can improve its journals to be more diverse and inclusive at


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