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DEI in Publishing Interview Series with Megan Hanna Fry

The goal of the DEI in Publishing Interview Series is to learn from scholars at different stages in their careers, in hopes that their publishing experience will drive others into exploring strategies for promoting equity and inclusion.

DEI in Publishing Interview Series with Megan Hanna Fry

The LibraryPress@UF is pleased to feature the DEI in Publishing Interview Series. Inspired by work completed in Spring and Summer 2020 by Haradja Torrens, the Smathers Graduate Intern in Equitable and Inclusive Library Publishing, these interviews are focused on how people experience publishing. Our goal is to learn from scholars at different stages in their careers, in hopes that their publishing experience will drive others into exploring strategies for promoting equity and inclusion.

Next up: Megan Hanna Fry.

What is your role at UF?
I am a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology with a focus in bioarchaeology. I am also the Coordinating Editor of the New Florida Journal of Anthropology.

How would you describe your publishing experience, or experience within publishing?
Working with the George A. Smathers Libraries and the Department of Anthropology I have helped to revive a peer-review journal, the New Florida Journal of Anthropology (NFJA). In this I helped develop standard operating procedures and set up an online platform for accepting, processing, and publishing academic submissions through Florida Online Journals (FOJ). This was only made possible with the generosity and expertise of library faculty and staff who helped to guide me through the processes and best practices of publishing on the FOJ platform.

In your opinion, what are the unique challenges of implementing diverse, equitable, and inclusive practices within publishing?
One of the biggest hurdles is not only being reflective within your own practices as a journal, but ensuring an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. These commitments and practices must be regularly reviewed to see where shortfalls lie, not just a one-off change in practice, as there is always room for improvement. Further, this is not only ensuring a diverse editorial staff, but also encouraging and facilitating publishing by historically excluded groups.

What could be done to overcome these challenges, at any stage of the publishing process?    
To counter some of these challenges, we should develop procedures where DEI goals are checked at regular intervals and amended as needed. These types of discussions should always include input from underrepresented and historically excluded groups. However, this labor is often unpaid and can disproportionately affect BIPOC, LGBTQI+ and those with disabilities. Therefore, we must acknowledge the burden often placed on these individuals and recognize that it can be emotionally and physically taxing.

Further, the goal should be to have a consistently diverse editorial board. Often underrepresented individuals may feel unwelcome in a historically white space; therefore, we should seek out individuals who would offer meaningful contribution and ensure that they feel recognized, welcomed, and heard as a member of the team.  

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