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Including Underrepresented Perspectives in Your Course


This guide is intended to provide some general information about how to determine whose perspectives and research are represented in your course materials and why. It also offers ways to find new scholarship and to address the lack of diversity in academic research with your students.

This guide is by no means exhaustive, but rather serves as a starting place for considering new things. It was created quickly to address an immediate need in the Lesley community, and it will continue to develop in response to evolving issues with guidance from users. If you have something you'd like to contribute, change, or talk about please e-mail We welcome your input!


C. Roh, E. Drabinski & H. Inefuku. Scholarly Communication as a Tool for Social Justice and Diversity. National Diversity in Libraries Conference (2016).​ ---Source of Demographics Charts.

Lee & Low Books. Diversity in Publishing. Diversity Baseline Study. 2019.

Das, J. Do, Q. Shaines, P. Srinivasan, S. , “U.S. and Them: The Geography of Academic Research. ” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Series, 5152 ( 2009 ).




Challenges for Populations Underrepresented in Scholarship

  • Higher ranks of professorship are less diverse than lower ranks, so less opportunities for mentorship exist.
  • "Minority" faculty tend to be concentrated in lower-prestige universities and in social sciences and humanities, which are typically undervalued by universities compared to science and technology disciplines. This can create a eurocentric epistemology.
  • Since many editorial boards are constructed with an eye to prestige and reputation, the concentration of “minority” faculty in lower-prestige universities adds to the challenges they face in traditional scholarly publishing venues.
  • There are barriers to interdisciplinary research including placement in discipline-specific departments and peers who may neither understand nor appreciate the interdisciplinary methodologies employed in their research.
  • Publishing companies don’t have diverse leadership, including executives and editorial boards.
  • Many barriers exist for populations at a socioeconomic disadvantage, including access to higher education, access to funds for researching and publication fees, and access to research and scholarship itself.

Inclusion Initiatives to Raise Representation in Publishing

  • Scholarships for underrepresented populations to study at colleges and universities.
  • Stipends for internships required in academic programs.
  • Incentives and recruiting faculty from different races, ethnicities, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, religions, etc.
  • Funds and scholarships from journals and open access publications (e.g. The Society of Scholarly Publishing) for researchers from marginalized populations to cover publication fees.
  • Fellowships to attract researchers from different backgrounds than traditionally found in graduate, Phd, and post-doctoral programs.
  • Open Access Journals and initiatives that make accessing research more affordable so that researchers who don't have access through a wealthy institution don't face barriers to procuring scholarship they need.
  • Many universities require faculty to submit a pre-print or copy (if copyright is retained) or copy with embargo (if copyright is not retained) of publications to their institutional repository, which means users of the repository will not be charged to access faculty or student scholarship. Done well at Cal State Universities and many other large universities.
  • Workshops and outreach around interdisciplinary studies and different methodologies, usually at a small scale level through specific universities. 
  • Workshops for early career scholars from underrepresented groups to demystify publishing (in the face of lack of mentorship). Done well at UMass Amherst.
  • Moving university presses offices into the library or having the university press run by the library. This allows scholarly communications and information access experts (librarians) to oversee efforts to create equity in their institution's publications. Done well at Northeastern University.
  • Changing collection development policies in libraries to include strategies for acquiring scholarship and resources created by those historically and currently underrepresented in research and academic discourse.

Basically, it comes down to funding and priorities in higher education and the publishing industry; however, the publishing industry can only do so much if submissions aren't from a diverse pool to begin with. It's the responsibility of higher education to create that pool of researchers and recruit, support, and retain them.