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Elsevier condemns racism and discrimination

By Kumsal Bayazit, CEO – June 19, 2020 4 mins

As the world grieves the brutal murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor and too many more, Elsevier stands firmly against racism and discrimination. Confronted with the stark reality of systemic inequality in society, we need to reexamine Elsevier’s role in research and health and how our 8,100 colleagues can make an active and positive contribution to accelerate equity, inclusion and diversity within our business and in the communities we serve.

Elsevier recognizes that systems of inequality built over time can mask bias, even in the worlds of research and healthcare that are a force for good. We are committed to playing our part in rooting out systemic racism in its many forms. We have had an outpouring of ideas from our colleagues around the world for how we can build meaningful and impactful action plans to support our Black employees and communities.

We are focusing on three areas, guided by our unique contributions and our overall Inclusion & Diversity strategy:

  1. Ensure a culture and practice of inclusion and diversity at Elsevier. We believe that diverse teams are essential for innovation, reducing group think and enhancing critical thinking and decision-making. We must, therefore, hold ourselves accountable to cultivate an inclusive and diverse workforce, ensuring equality and opportunity for career progression in the workplace. And we must ensure there are ample opportunities for Black professionals to succeed at all levels at Elsevier, especially in leadership positions.
  2. Eliminate systemic racism in research and health. Elsevier has long been committed to advancing diversity in research and health. We must do more to support the scholarly endeavor of the Black community, ensuring fair representation on editorial boards, at scientific conferences, and in peer review and the publishing process. We must work with our community of editors and authors to raise awareness of inequities and hidden biases. With race now a well-documented factor in healthcare disparities, we can work with our network of physicians, nurses, health providers and educators to influence and address inequality in our communities.
  3. Be an advocate for Black Lives. We publicly condemn racism and recognize its deteriorating effects on our society. We will fight against systemic racism, and we will use our influence and resources to partner with organizations dedicated to this cause. Elsevier’s highly active Employee Resource Groups, including the Elsevier African Ancestry Network (AAN), along with our Inclusion & Diversity program, Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Board and the Elsevier Foundation, are instrumental in converting the passion and good intention of our people into pragmatic action.

Elsevier’s people around the globe express their solidarity toward eliminating racism. They have submitted hundreds of ideas, large and small, on how we can help address racial injustice. The proof of our commitment will be in the actions we proudly push forward to fight systemic racism. I hope we can all look back at the summer of 2020 and be able to say to ourselves: that is when change started to take hold.


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Written by

Written by

Kumsal Bayazit was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Elsevier in February 2019. She is Co-Chair of Elsevier’s Inclusion & Diversity Board with Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.

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