Inclusive Citation: How Diverse Are Your References?

Maha Bali, Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb 22, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I do pay attention (and always have) to diversity in the references in this newsletter and in my work in general. But I do it a bit differently than suggested here. In one sense, I have to - over the years I've referenced thousands of authors. So I can't spend time figuring out wherether they're gay or black or indigneous - how could I? It's not like people put race/gender/orientation/identity metadata in their posts.

I can and do ensure some gender balance, based on what I can tell from the author's name. Beyond that, I ensure diversity by focusing on diverse sources and diverse oplaces. I try to internationalize. I look for writing from India and Africa and Estonia. It's not perfect. I'm rooted in my own community in Canada, as I should be. And I'm limited to content written in English, which means people from diverse backgrounds need to make an extra effort to be included (eventually, with decent auto-translation, that will change).

Finally, diversity isn't simply about language, gender, colour, and orientation. It includes these but includes so much more. I see people who are marginalized because of poverty, because of geography, becuse of disability, because of occupation, because of nationality, because of socialization, because of age, because of ugliness, because of education, because of size, because of musicality, because of faith, because of introversion, and so much more. These are all important to me.

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