My normal practice is that nothing posted here has been seen or vetted by others. This post is a departure from that because I think it is important enough to justify whatever extra reach I can give it. This text, which has just been sent out to FORCE11 Members by email, was seen by the FORCE11 Board of Directors and the linked statement was approved by a board vote.
FORCE11 works towards the goal of being a global platform that brings communities together to discuss challenging issues. These communities focus on the methods that underpin how scholars work, how we define and validate what we consider to be true, and how the credit and attribution for insight is assigned. Our business is seeking consensus across diverse communities with differing agendas and interests. At this time I believe this work to be more important than ever.
Like any organisation with its roots in the traditional North Atlantic centres of western scholarship our claim to global reach is an aspiration. I recognise this and seek to continually improve our work on the historical inequities of access to and inclusion in scholarship including exclusion on the basis of factors including, but not limited to, geography, social conditions, professional status, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship and national origin.
It is still the case the most productive conversations happen face to face. This is especially true of efforts pursued within FORCE11. The history of the organisation is one of bringing together diverse groups to examine and solve problems. Exclusionary limitations on travel of groups of people specified on any basis is totally inimical to our goals and purpose.
It is for this reason that the Executive Board of FORCE11 has today released a statement that rejects policies that exclude immigrants on the basis of belonging to a group defined by race, religion, national origin or other criteria. This includes the recent White House Executive Order.
Objecting to policy is not enough however. I will be working with the Board and with our Working Groups and contributors to find ways in which we can limit the effect of exclusionary policies. Amongst other things I want to work across the full set of our activities to select venues and platforms that are, as a whole, inclusive of as wide as a group of global participants as possible. This will include considering restrictions to entry, cost of travel, financial risks, physical access and safety of participants. It is important to note that current policies both limit entry to some countries by some participants but also have the effect of making it impossible for some participants to leave their country of residence.
At the core of our work at FORCE11 is also exploring technology and social practice for scholarly communications. We will explore technology and design options for practical and effective multi-site meetings and workshops in the future. In all of this we welcome collaboration with like-minded organisations to work together, to reflect on our own practices, and to develop shared practice to support inclusive scholarly meetings and communications more generally.
Good scholarship has at its core, recognising and listening to valid criticism. I know that inclusion is something we need to continue to work on as an organisation, that any organization needs to continue to work on. I welcome comments, criticisms, and advice on how FORCE11 can work more effectively, and how we can work together, to pursue these goals.
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