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10.24.2022 | SSP News & Releases

C4DISC Launches “Guidelines on Inclusive Language and Images in Scholarly Communication”

Helping individuals, institutions, and publishers recognize the use of language and images that are inclusive and culturally sensitive.

This month, C4DISC is releasing a resource to deepen reflection and help people in the scholarly publishing world improve the way in which they navigate through DEI challenges: the Guidelines on Inclusive Language and Images in Scholarly Communication.

Following the success of the previous toolkits, the Anti Racism Toolkit for Allies, the Anti Racism Toolkit for Organizations, and the Antiracism Toolkit for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, C4DISC is now releasing The Guidelines on Inclusive Language and Images in Scholarly Communication. This new toolkit is meant to be a global tool, educational resource, and living archive to help all authors, editors, and reviewers recognize the use of language and images that are inclusive and culturally sensitive. The Guidelines can be used at various steps of the scholarly publishing process, such as manuscript writing, peer review, and presentation of published output. The working group, reflecting a diverse body of international volunteers, came together in response to the growing need for more comprehensive and global guidelines for inclusive language and images. The Guidelines are designed to continually evolve, relying on the entire scholarly publishing community to help grow and improve them over time by suggesting new references, recommendations, and resources.

The authors of the Guide state that its aim is to help people in the scholarly ecosystem to think about the foundations of their own thinking: “Researchers and authors can examine their own biases and determine how these might affect their work. So too can other stakeholders involved in the publishing process, whether they are colleagues, editors, or peer reviewers (Schwabish). By taking the time to examine the potential biases existing in their own work as well as the work of others, researchers and authors can help to make the world of scholarly communication more inclusive.”

In order to have many points of entry, the primary section of the toolkit is organized into lists. To avoid falling into the trappings of default or biased thinking, the information might be ordered randomly or in alphabetical order. Once a term is named, the guides define the term, suggest ways of avoiding discriminatory language, offers ways to reframe the term, points to some concrete examples in research, and provides references. While the entries are not exhaustive, they do provide a useful way for participants in the knowledge creation and dissemination ecosystem to learn, change, use, and help the communities they serve.

“Scholarly communication is often defined as ‘the system through which research and other scholarly writings are created, evaluated for quality, disseminated to the scholarly community, and preserved for future use’ (ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee, 2018). It is meant to serve the public and advance the pursuit of knowledge. It is important that this is done in a way that includes the whole—not just of scholarly communication itself, but of society.”


  • Sabrina Ashwell, American Chemical Society
  • Amber Avila, George Washington University
  • Patty Baskin, American Academy of Neurology
  • Roshan Cader, Wits University Press
  • Carolyn Davis Cockey, MLS, LCCE, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
  • Naomi Curston, Intellect Books
  • Claire D’Andola, Wiley
  • Sara DiBari, Journal of American Medical Association Psychiatry
  • Kim Eggleston, IOP Publishing
  • Catherine Forest, American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Brian E. Giblin, Oxford University Press
  • Habeeb Ibrahim, King Saud University
  • Francie Likis, Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health
  • Wendy Lochner, Columbia University Press
  • Lisa McAllister, Wolters Kluwer
  • Stephan Meyer, University of Basel
  • Saeide Mirzaei, University of Minnesota
  • Brooke Morris-Chott, Core, a division of the American Library Association
  • Jenny Peng, Oxford University Press
  • Mia Ricci, American Geophysical Union
  • Thomas Roche, University of Georgia Press
  • Amy Rollason, Intellect Books
  • Damita Snow, CAE, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • C.A. Townsend, Freelancer
  • Randy Townsend, PLOS
  • Helena Pérez Valle, eLife

SSP is proud to be a founding member of the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications. Learn more about C4DISC.

About C4DISC C4DISC was founded by representatives from 10 trade and professional associations during the 2017 SSP annual meeting in Boston. Its vision is a socially just community that welcomes, values, and celebrates all who seek to contribute to scholarly communications and its mission is to work with organizations and individuals to build equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility within the community. C4DISC members meet monthly to address its areas of focus, including: developing a joint statement of principles; conducting market research; providing training resources, best practices, toolkits, and documentation for our collective memberships; and establishing outreach programs, curricula, events, and publications.

Contact c4disc@gmail.com

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