Working to Increase Diversity of PLOS Biology Academic Editors and Advisory Board Members?

Working to Increase Diversity of PLOS Biology Academic Editors and Advisory Board Members?


Dr. Jonathan Eisen takes over the Chair of PLOS Biology Advisory Board and the first task he decides to undertake is to increase ‘diversity’ of Academic Editors and Advisory Board Members of the journal.

Please note that PLOS Biology is a scientific journal and not the local Rotary Club of a town. The purpose of the journal is to report scientific observations as objectively as possible. We do not understand, why the Advisory Board of such a journal cannot be fully merit-based. Also, what are they going to tell the new editors?

Dear Dr. Taslima Nasrin,

You have been nominated as the diversity editor of our esteemed journal to fill up our Bangladeshi women’s quota. Please note that your choice is not merit-based, and if we strictly went by merit, your name would have come at choice number 7532 [expressed in thousands].

Yours Truly,

PLOS Biology Editorial Team

What message do the scientists publishing papers in PLOS Biology get from this urgency to increase diversity? Does it imply that the current crop of Academic Editors of PLOS Biology had not been objective in their selection of papers, because the board lacked ‘diversity’? If that is true, PLOS Biology has far bigger problems than not having a ‘diverse’ board. Also, how common is this problem in the rest of US academic scientific establishment?

Here is our recommendation. If PLOS Biology is really eager to increase ‘diversity’ of editors, it should commit to increase age diversity. Here are the names and email addresses of the smartest biologists of tomorrow from around the world. PLOS Biology will be well served by retiring all editors above age 45 and including all post-docs from the linked document. That is not a bad choice given how rapidly biology changed over the last five years. Moreover, it will address many other problems including NIH R01 grants not going to young people, PhD students doing endless number of post-docs before finding a faculty job and so on. Daniel Zerbino, Jared Simpson, Sbastien Boisvert, Rayan Chikhi, Hamidreza Chitsaz, Anton Alexandrov - these are the best biologists around the globe and they are old enough to be editors of PLOS Biology (the names were picked arbitrarily).

Written by M. //