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Not Enough: Efforts to Diversify Biogeosciences Benefit Limited Segment of Society
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  • Rebecca Barnes,
  • Michelle A Wolford,
  • Maya Almaraz,
  • Emily L Cardarelli
Rebecca Barnes
The Belmont Forum

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Michelle A Wolford
University of Alabama
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Maya Almaraz
University of California, Santa Barbara
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Emily L Cardarelli
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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We examined data from the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the world’s largest earth and space science society, to characterize cohort demographics of multiple milestones in a biogeoscientists’ career. Geoscientists of color and White women make up a smaller proportion of those participating in activities critical to transitioning from student to professional (submitting manuscripts, getting published, and being asked to review) in comparison to White men. However, gender parity for biogeoscientists appears within reach at earlier career stages, with 37% AGU Biogeosciences members and 41% of Biogeosciences attendees at the Fall Meeting identifying as women in 2020. Unfortunately, data is lacking to make the same assessment for geoscientists of color. A large proportion of manuscripts are submitted by men (73%), many of which have no co-authors that identify as women or non-binary geoscientists, which likely points to inequitable resources and a greater service burden for scientists from historically excluded groups. Further, our communities’ bias of who we suggest as reviewers results in 85% of the reviewer invites going to White geoscientists and 63% going to men. Thus, while representation of diverse communities has improved in some areas, barriers to publishing results in journals not reflecting society: 25% and 22% of manuscripts were led by or included non-White geoscientists, respectively, and fewer than 5% and 7% were led by or included non-White, women geoscientists, respectively. Therefore, in sectors like academia where publishing remains critical for advancement, this process represents a significant obstacle for biogeoscientists not already part of the majority.
07 Sep 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
11 Sep 2023Published in ESS Open Archive