Status Report

(Un)conscious Bias in the Astronomical Profession: Universal Recommendations to improve Fairness, Inclusiveness, and Representation

By SpaceRef Editor
June 25, 2020
Filed under ,

Alessandra Aloisi, Neill Reid

(Un)conscious bias affects every aspect of the astronomical profession, from scientific activities (e.g., invitations to join collaborations, proposal selections, grant allocations, publication review processes, and invitations to attend and speak at conferences) to activities more strictly related to career advancement (e.g., reference letters, fellowships, hiring, promotion, and tenure). For many, (un)conscious bias is still the main hurdle to achieving excellence, as the most diverse talents encounter bigger challenges and difficulties to reach the same milestones than their more privileged colleagues. Over the past few years, the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) has constructed tools to raise awareness of (un)conscious bias and has designed guidelines and goals to increase diversity representation and outcome in its scientific activities, including career-related matters and STScI sponsored fellowships, conferences, workshops, and colloquia. STScI has also addressed (un)conscious bias in the peer-review process by anonymizing submission and evaluation of Hubble Space Telescope (and soon to be James Webb Space Telescope) observing proposals. In this white paper we present a plan to standardize these methods with the expectation that these universal recommendations will truly increase diversity, inclusiveness and fairness in Astronomy if applied consistently throughout all the scientific activities of the Astronomical community.

Comments: 7 pages, 3 figures, White Paper for Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2022. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1907.05261

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

Cite as: arXiv:2006.13685 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2006.13685v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Alessandra Aloisi 

[v1] Mon, 15 Jun 2020 21:54:23 UTC (595 KB)

SpaceRef staff editor.