Diversity in the RSE community comes in all forms. RSEs come from innumerable domains of knowledge, have various skills at varying levels, use a variety of technological tools and bring with them all the wonderful diversity that is a part of being human.
However, like most tech communities, we fail at having a wholesome representation of the larger society within our smaller community. Statistically, some groups are underrepresented – for example, women, people of non-European ancestry, people with disabilities, people coming from certain research disciplines – and they may find it harder to participate in the community and its events. If you belong to such a community or have an inkling that you do, but feel unwelcomed or discriminated against; please contact us as soon as possible and we promise to course-correct ourselves. We know we have imbalances and biases and we are trying to address them (see below) but you should not have to wait for us.
Steps we have taken to increase diversity
- We have a Code of Conduct in place to make the conference as welcoming as possible. If you believe that the Code can be improved to increase diverse participation, email us your ideas.
- We are taking advantage of technologies such as auto-captioning, recording and publishing of videos of sessions, and pre-upload of materials (such as slides) to help make the material generated by this conference as widely accessible as possible. We have created a set of accessibility guidelines for presenters to help them produce materials that are as accessible as possible.
- We are providing clear submission guidelines and sample submissions to make the submission and selection process as transparent and friendly as possible.
- We want to encourage submissions from people from a wide range of backgrounds and career stages. To this end,
- We will provide help and mentoring to anyone who asks who is considering making a submission.
- We have created the #septembrse channel in the RSE slack which can be used to discuss plans for a submission and get peer support.
- We also plan to organize an online collaboration cafe to allow potential proposers to share ideas, get collaborators and fine-tune proposals before submission. Announcements for the same will be made on the conference website.
- We will also provide help and mentoring to presenters on request if their submission has been accepted. A dedicated peer-support channel on RSE slack will also be created for accepted presenters.
- All submissions will be anonymised and evaluated anonymously. We will strive to build a diverse pool of reviewers who will be reminded to objectively review the content, and not the submitter. This includes providing guidance to reviewers about implicit bias, and reminding reviewers that spelling and grammar are not to be used as assessment criteria.
- We will advertise our calls for submissions to a wide audience and will encourage members of our community to also publicise our calls widely. We will make it explicitly clear that submissions are welcome from anyone, whether they identify themselves as a research software engineer or not.
- We are actively seeking to increase the diversity of our attendees, speakers, discussed topics, and sponsors through our calls for proposals, other open submission processes, and through dialogue within the organizing committee as well as within the RSE community. This is an ongoing process.
How you can help:
- Recommendations of speakers from commonly underrepresented voices in our community are welcome.
- Forward our call for proposals to relevant affinity groups with the message that we are looking for a diverse speaker roster.
- Suggest to potential speakers that they submit a response to our calls.
- Share your ideas and best practices for how we can realize our vision to provide a conference experience that is truly welcoming and supportive: write to us and we’ll be grateful!
Is something missing?
Have we neglected something you need, or is there something not mentioned here that would make your attendance possible, or improve your experience of the event? Please let us know. We’ll do what we can to provide it.
Please contact the accessibility and diversity chair, Shashank S Harivyasi at [email protected], to discuss any particular accessibility needs or diversity concerns you might have.