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March 2022

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 mar 2022

Diversity and inclusion is one of the most important social issues for organizations, communities and countries. In the scholarly and research publishing industry, efforts are underway to analyze researcher diversity. Global publishers, amounting to more than 50 and representing 15000 journals, have come together to build a secure demographic database of researchers by asking them questions about race, ethnicity, gender etc when they send their research papers for publishing, and also when they edit and review manuscripts. This is intended to analyze demographic representation and detect biases in editing and review in what gets accepted and published. Many researchers support the idea and achnowledge issues of racism and under-representation in scholarly publishing. Holly Falk-Krzesinski, VP of research intelligence at Elsevier, says, 'If you don’t have the data, it is very difficult to understand where you are at, to make changes, set goals and measure progress.' Joel Babdor, an immunologist at the University of California and cofounder of the group Black in Immuno that supports Black researchers in immunology and other sciences, says, 'It is never too late for progress. Now we want to see these efforts being implemented, normalized and generalized throughout the publishing system. Without this information, it is impossible to evaluate the state of the current system in terms of equity and diversity.' Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) led 11 publishers in signing a joint commitment to track and reduce bias in scholarly publishing. This group has grown to 52 publishers now. The process to build a standard international database has challenges as cultural understanding of race and ethnicity differs from country to country. Nicola Nugent, publishing manager at the RSC, shares her experience of using computational algorithms to measure gender diversity. Analyzing 700000 manuscripts submitted to RSC journals between 2014 and 2018, identified biases against women at each stage of the publishing process. But Ms. Nugent says, 'Collecting those data was crucial - without the baseline numbers, it was hard to see where to make changes.' Prof.Casey Greene, computational biologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, says, 'Publishers could glean insights from these methods, if they apply them to large numbers of names and limit analysis to broad ethnicity classes - especially when examining past papers, for which it might not be possible to ask authors directly.' A team led by computer scientist Steven Skiena at Stony Brook University in New York used millions of e-mail contact lists and data on social-media activity to train a classifier called NamePrism. It clusters names into similar-seeming groups, and uses curated lists of names with known nationalities to assign nationalities to those groups. Ariel Hippen, a graduate student in Prof. Greene's lab, scraped biographical pages from Wikipedia to train a classifier that assigns names to ten geographical regions. A team including Prof. Greene, Hippen and data scientist Trang Le at the University of Pennsylvania, used the tool to document under-representation of people from East Asia in honours and invited talks awarded by the International Society for Computational Biology. Natalie Davidson, a postdoc in the Greene lab, used the same tool to quantify representation in Nature’s news coverage, finding fewer East Asian names among quoted sources, compared with their representation in papers. A team led by physicist Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania found that authors of colour in five neuroscience journals are undercited relative to their representation; the team's analysis suggests that this is because white authors preferentially cite other white authors. Cassidy Sugimoto, an information scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says, 'Computational methods are largely incapable of addressing the most pressing questions about racial diversity and inclusion in science...Race and ethnicity classification is infinitely more complicated than gender disambiguation.' Jory Lerback, a geochemist at the University of California at Los Angeles, says, 'Given those complex dimensions, the best option for collecting data is simply to invite scientists to self-identify.' Raymond Givens, a cardiologist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, also started privately tallying editors' ethnicities. The efforts got reported on website STAT. He says, 'A lot of journals have all of a sudden been shocked by being confronted in this way. But it's important to ask why it has taken them so long to start thinking about how to collect this kind of information.' American Chemical Society (ACS) pledged in June 2020 to collect demographic data to make its journals more representative of the communities it serves. Sarah Tegen, SVP at ACS journals publishing group, says, 'Designing the categories required some market research, with a goal of being inclusive and crafting questions that are clear and easy to answer...the data are a useful baseline for understanding the demographics of ACS journals.' Ann Morning, demographer at New York University, was hired by publishers as consultant to design a framework for asking about race and ethnicity. The draft questionnaire was pilot tested with 1000 anonymous repondents. Greater than 90% reported their race and ethnicity, and more than two-thirds said they felt well represented in the schema. About half said they would be comfortable providing this information when submitting a paper. Also some respondents were not willing to provide information. Keletso Makofane, a public-health researcher and activist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says,'The efforts of publishers are a fantastic start. But it's not just about authors and reviewers, it's important to look at the people who make the higher-level decisions about policies of the journals.' Ms. Lerback says, 'To engage the historically marginalized populations they hope to reach, publishers (and researchers studying how ethnicity affects scholarly publishing) must commit to engaging with these groups beyond simply asking for data. They should build trust by following up findings with action...Data is the currency of which policy gets implemented.' Read on...

Nature: The giant plan to track diversity in research journals
Authors: Holly Else, Jeffrey M. Perkel


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 22 mar 2022

Just like in most businesses, digital in business-to-business (B2B) is transforming customer relationships. Digital transformation is the way forward to succeed in B2B space. According to Michiel Schipperus, CEO of Sana Commerce, mentioned in ITProPortal article 'Why should e-commerce sit at the heart of a business’ digital transformation?' (25 may 2018), 'In a recent survey that we conducted with 300 global B2B organisations, 75% of respondents said that their customers had demanded to buy online, and three quarters of those gave 'ease of online purchasing' as the reason...Our survey found that over half of companies believe that web stores are the most important route to market...our survey found that 63% of organisations have a digital transformation strategy in place...According to our research nearly 70% of companies will use the Internet of Things (IoT) or machine to machine technology to enable automated and/or predictive ordering for customers. While 67% believe that virtual reality will help personalise the B2B buying experience.' Chris Shalchi, President and CEO of Mavecca Group, explains the benefits of digital transformation for B2B businesses and what is required to provide value and meet customer expectations in the highly competitive B2B ecosystem. He provides 4 benefits of transforming to digital-native ecosystem - (1) Managing buyer expectations is easier through digital as more and more customers prefer purchasing online and find it comfortable for subsequent buying. (2) Through right B2B e-commerce software businesses can provide enhanced buyer experience with improved processes and automation. With data and analytics, the knowledge about consumers can help organizations customize buyer experience for better relationships. (3) With digital B2B businesses can develop an automatic cross-sell and up-sell suggestion program to reach existing customers and expand customer base, thus increasing sales. (4) Using data and analytics to enhance decision making is one of the key benefits of digital. With the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that would provide predictive analytics, organizations have better control and enhanced decision-making, resulting in improved processes. As substantial decision-making in B2B purchases happens before a sales person is contacted, B2B businesses can create and deliver engaging content and have an elaborate communications strategy through digital channels for initiating purchase. B2B organizations have to fully understand what their customers want. Aligning of marketing and sales functions, and efficiently using data is important for overall customer-focused digital strategy. Read on...

Forbes: Make Your B2B Business A Digital Business
Author: Chris Shalchi


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 mar 2022

The outdoor space of the house is an important part of the home design and should seamlessly gel with the interior. It should be a space that provides the best experience to the residents and the guests. The furniture that should be incorporated in the outdoor space should be intended to provide feeling of freshness and compatibility with the surrounding environment. Moreover, it should be durable and made of long lasting materials that are resistant to varied weather conditions. Rebecca Breslin, Wayfair Professional's Senior Design Manager, says, 'As you're planning your outdoor space for the warmer months, start with pieces that define the area you'll be using - think mosaic floor tiles, a pergola, or outdoor rugs. For the continuity of your home, carry the design aesthetic of the interior into your outdoor space.' Experts suggest following ideas for outdoor space - (1) Look for grounding and space-defining pieces. (2) Continue your indoor aesthetic to the outdoors. (3) Maximize the space for end-use. (4) Durability is key while selecting furniture and weather-proof materials should be preferred. (5) Elevate the space. Brynna Lee, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'The newest product of the ’70s revival, mesh accents are back with a twist. Metal cutouts and finely woven rattan add texture to sleek silhouettes, giving this retro design element a modern feel...Floral motifs remain relevant in outdoor design. This time around, we're seeing a more stylized approach–a vibrant and striking homage to nature.' Hayley Drew, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'This year, we're welcoming in a more elevated take on classic coastal style. Organic materials pair with crisp whites and tranquil sea-glass hues for an effortless ocean-inspired look...From floral-draped pergolas to rustic mosaic tiles, this relaxed yet refined look borrows the best that wine country has to offer.' Cojo Barnes, Wayfair's Professional Stylist, says, 'From classic navy blue to sunny yellow, cabana stripes are brightening up furniture, drapes, tiles, and more.' Read on...

House Beautiful: The Top Outdoor Furniture Trends You'll See Everywhere in 2022 According to Experts
Author: Medgina Saint-Elien



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