16/1/2017 Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence ­ Scientific American

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Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence
Science and technology are society's main engines of prosperity. Who gets to drive them?

By Fred Guterl on October 1, 2014

Credit: Edel Rodriguez

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/diversity­in­science­why­it­is­essential­for­excellence/ 1/9

 the working environment must be right. it takes conscious effort to be on the watch for unconscious biases and to overcome them. starting on page 42. For an organization.Twice we have looked at collaboration in our State of the World's Science reports. https://www. that groups who abandon color­blind policies and embrace the differences among their members in ways that do not stereotype or pigeonhole tend to be successful in taking advantage of what diversity has to offer. linked by communications of great speed and breadth. procedures and an ethos of acceptance. Diversity is beneficial for teams precisely because we react differently to people who are different from us. The word “diversity” is shorthand for a vast effort to remake society to include everyone—not just those in privileged positions—in politics. Phillips tells us. Because we prefer to look at evidence. it turns out. It roams centers of excellence from every continent. from the standpoint of the individual. it is clear that diversity speaks directly to the quality and effectiveness of teams. last year with a focus on innovation. If the end goal is excellence. it takes processes. which often gets lost in the larger conversation. we tend to prepare more thoroughly and work harder to marshal our arguments. As Katherine W. For an individual. Diversity. Victoria Plaut points out. The life of the mind is increasingly transnational in nature. beginning on page 52.com/article/diversity­in­science­why­it­is­essential­for­excellence/ 2/9 .scientificamerican. the year before on basic research.16/1/2017 Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence ­ Scientific American A DV E R T I S E ME N T  |  R E P OR T  A D Collaboration has been a recurring theme in science and technology in recent years. For diversity to be effective. when we have to work with people who are not like ourselves. diversity is an essential ingredient. and we do better work as a result. we take the opportunity to focus on the empirical grounding of diversity. Here we address it again. In the scientific literature. goes to the heart of how to do research and innovation effectively. culture and the pursuit of happiness. This ambition goes well beyond the scope of this report; we have stayed within the realm of science and its activities.

 Gender is easier to define (although ambiguities exist there as well). of course.scientificamerican. internationally comparable data on the worldwide science and engineering workforce do not exist. or lack of it. for one. ancestry. Data overall are scarce. At the moment that is too tall an order. Who are they? This article was originally published with the title "The Inclusion Equation" https://www. however. for several reasons. Racial and ethnic identity.com/article/diversity­in­science­why­it­is­essential­for­excellence/ 3/9 . ethnic origin. Many countries track the poor and underprivileged. however. and so on. of their respective workforces. we believe that data should be a high priority. but these categories mean different things in different places. which gives scientists and engineers the opportunity to be pioneers in cultural change. The people in science and engineering are driving the world's most vital engine of prosperity and new ideas. “Comprehensive. Google and Apple recently released data on the diversity. it's clear that we can do better. nationality. From what we do know. We would like to have included a Diversity Index—a measure of how nations fare when it comes to inclusiveness in the science and technology workforce. however.16/1/2017 Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence ­ Scientific American We do not treat diversity exclusively as a utilitarian matter in this special section. Science imposes the discipline of having to find the best ideas among varied teams of people. So we have sprinkled this package with essays from some extraordinary people who are embracing that challenge. tribal.” says the National Science Foundation in its Science and Engineering Indicators 2014 report. A United Nations census found that two thirds of nations categorized their populations along these lines but used a kaleidoscope of terms— race. It is a drop in the information bucket. are hard to define consistently. Aboriginal. Disability is even more difficult to pin down. Scientists pride themselves on their objectivity. To that end. In a welcome development from two of the world's most visible technology companies. but personal experience and point of view have a lot to do with what questions get asked in the first place and how researchers go about answering them. but little information is gathered that is specific to the science­related workforce.

16/1/2017 Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence ­ Scientific American Rights & Permissions A DV E R T I S E ME N T  |  R E P OR T  A D A B O U T   T HE   A U T HO R ( S ) Fred Guterl is executive editor of Scientific American. LOA D COMME NTS IN THE STORE S CI EN TI FI C AMERI CAN https://www.com/article/diversity­in­science­why­it­is­essential­for­excellence/ 4/9 .scientificamerican.

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