DEI Special Interest Group call recap: Facilitating discussions around DEI

The Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion special interest group organises a series of interactive seminars on issues facing community managers who want to build equitable and diverse cultures in their communities and networks.

This guest blog post, written by Kate Baker and Emily Lescak, recaps the group’s 27 April 2021 seminar, in which 55 people from a range of countries discussed challenges and good practices in facilitating conversations around DEI. 

The event consisted of a panel discussion, chaired by  Janice McNamara, with panelists  Arne Bakker, Yanina Bellini Saibene, Angie Bamgbose, and Vanessa Boon. The discussion was followed by a breakout session to explore the topics in more depth. Here is an overview of the questions discussed.

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Data Science SIG Panel Recap: Data sharing and harmonization

On 21 January, 2021, the CSCCE Data Science Special Interest Group (SIG) convened a panel on data sharing and harmonization. The goal of the meeting was to highlight common challenges for community managers of data-centric communities, as well as discuss solutions and best practices to make it easier for community members to share and reuse data. In this blog post, watch the three short presentations from the panelists, and catch up on some of the key points raised. 

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Data Science SIG Meeting Recap: Normalizing talking about data

On 23 November 2020, the CSCCE Data Science Special Interest Group (SIG) convened a meeting to discuss how to normalize talking about data. Julie Lowndes of Openscapes introduced the topic, providing an overview that is captured in full in the video archive below. 

Normalizing talking about data

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DEI Special Interest Group call recap: Decolonizing STEM

CSCCE Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are member-led groups focused on specific topics of scientific community management within CSCCE’s community of practice (request to join). You can find out more about CSCCE SIGs here. The CSCCE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion SIG is convened by Cassandra van Gould, Arielle Bennett-Lovell and Kate Baker, with significant support from an organising committee and the wider community. Community members can join the Slack channel #diversity_equity_inclusion_sig to get involved. 

On the 24th of November the first session of the CSCCE’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Special Interest Group (DEI SIG) took place. In this guest blog post, Esther Plomp and Arielle Bennett-Lovell, who co-convened the session, recap the meeting. You can also watch the three presentations in full. 

During the session, we considered the concept of decolonisation and how it can be put into practice by both researchers and scientific community managers. Decolonisation is both a reflection on the academy’s relationship to lands and people occupied by colonial powers, and the process of reconsidering how this relationship is manifested in a way that restores an equitable power balance. It is not a single action, or a programme, but a long term process requiring input and engagement from everyone. 

To gain a better perspective about the issue, we invited three speakers to show their perspective on decolonising science, and to offer some solutions to ensuring that the scientific research ecosystem is equitable. Below follows a summary of the talks given by Dr. Kate Baker, Dr. Thomas Mboa and Dr. Felicia Fricke. 

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First Birthday Series: CSCCE working groups and special interest groups

For our “First Birthday Series” of blog posts, we are taking some time to reflect on CSCCE’s community of practice, which turned one year old on 21 October 2020. Our first post summarized the community “by the numbers,” then we delved a little deeper into our programming offerings, and last week we discussed our resources and the importance of co-creating together. In this post, jointly authored by Communications Director, Katie Pratt and Center Director, Lou Woodley, we take a look at the scaffolding needed to support working groups and special interest groups – and review what ours have done so far.  

The rationale for working groups and special interest groups

Why might a community decide to establish working groups and/or special interest groups? In an earlier post we discussed community-level programming – activities that are general enough that they are designed to be of interest and value to all members and to create opportunities to get to know one another and identify commonalities. However, within any large enough community, there will also be differentiation into sub-groups who want to focus more deeply on a specific topic – perhaps as an area of professional development or something that supplements a project they need to deliver in their own community role. This differentiation into sub-groups also creates opportunities for emerging leaders within a community – those who are highly engaged and wish to take on more responsibility for advancing the overall mission of the community. It’s this combination of scaling, through the activities and empowerment of these emergent leaders, and dedicated group work that greatly enhances the ability of any community to make progress towards its overall mission. For these activities to be successful, community management is nonetheless needed to support emergent leaders and their groups in their activities.

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CSCCE Special Interest Groups

In addition to our working groups, CSCCE special interest groups (SIGs) are open-ended opportunities for members to explore a community engagement topic. SIGs can form organically through shared interests, and any member of the community of practice can request to create and lead a SIG. SIGs can also form when a working group has achieved its stated goals but members would like to continue connecting over a given topic. 

Find out more about the difference between CSCCE SIGs and working groups

In general, CSCCE SIGs are led by members of the community, although occasionally CSCCE staff will take the lead (more common when a working group transitions into a SIG).

Building upon one another’s knowledge! Image credit: CSCCE

Champions Programs SIG

Co-chairs: Katie Pratt and Lou Woodley

Channel in the CSCCE Slack: #champions_programs_sig

About the group: This group began as a working group in December 2020 and then transitioned into a SIG in May 2022. Members share resources in the Slack channel and join monthly meetings with rotating themes and activities (every other month it’s a co-working session). This SIG is currently chaired by CSCCE staff with monthly meetings co-led by different members

Data Science SIG

Co-chairs: Alycia Crall and Steve van Tuyl

Channel in the CSCCE Slack: #data_science_sig

About the group: The Data Science SIG is a space for community managers from data science, data science adjacent, and data science interested communities to gather and share activities, updates, and observations. We are especially interested in learning how cross-community information sharing and activities can raise up all of our communities.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion SIG

Co-chairs: Kate Baker, Arielle Bennett-Lovell and Cass Gould van Praag

Channel in the CSCCE Slack: #diversity_equity_inclusion_sig

About the group: The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion SIG is a space for community managers to share experiences, ideas, and resources about diversity, equity and inclusion in scientific communities. We want to create a space to talk about what we can do in our own communities and organizations to amplify the voices, stories, and emotions that need to be heard and tackle some of the structural barriers that can prevent equitable participation in science. 

Open Research SIG

Co-chairs: Cass Gould van Praag and Dylan Roskams-Edris

Channel in the CSCCE Slack: #open_research_sig

About the group: The Open Research SIG is a place for people involved in coordinating and promoting open research practices to network, support, share information, experiences and advice.