In light of national conversations around Black Lives Matter, systemic racism, police violence, and health disparities in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) team believes it is important to affirm JMLA’s commitment to promoting diversity and equity in health sciences librarianship and information science.
In a statement on June 1, 2020, members of MLA’s African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA) Caucus declared, “We are tired of not being seen, heard, included, or appreciated for the value that our unique voices, experiences, and perspectives bring to the narrative.” At JMLA, we can and will do more to amplify the voices, experiences, and perspectives of individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
As one part of this effort, we issue a call for manuscript submissions that recognize and address social injustices; speak to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our workforce and among our user populations; and share critical perspectives on health sciences librarianship. We also call for manuscript submissions from BIPOC authors on any topic within the journal’s scope. This is an ongoing call for submissions rather than an effort to compile a special issue because we believe that these topics and perspectives should be steadily woven throughout our thoughts, conversations, research and writing, and practice.
As other parts of this effort, the editors of JMLA commit to the following actions for 2020–2021:
- We will send quarterly calls for submissions addressing topics related to social injustices, equity, and critical librarianship and commit to publishing articles on these topics.
- We will create partnerships with MLA’s AAMLA and Latinx Caucuses to facilitate information sharing and develop strategies for including and supporting BIPOC authors and peer reviewers. We will also identify other caucuses with significant BIPOC representation for future partnerships.
- We will provide opportunities for all members of the JMLA editorial team to learn about systemic bias in publishing and how this bias might influence our actions and decisions.
- We will assess the racial diversity of JMLA authors, peer reviewers, and members of the editorial team and work toward increasing this diversity.
- We will listen to our BIPOC colleagues. We will believe our BIPOC colleagues. We will not ask our BIPOC colleagues to do the work of addressing and eliminating structural racism.
At JMLA, we believe that Black Lives Matter. It is crucial for us, as the leading journal in our field, to publish articles that speak to these topics and amplify BIPOC voices in health sciences librarianship and information science. We look forward to working within and outside the MLA community to realize these aims.
We thank the leadership of AAMLA and Latinx Caucuses—particularly Kelsa Bartley, Shannon D. Jones, AHIP, Brenda M. Linares, AHIP, Tamara M. Nelson, AHIP, and Aidy Weeks, AHIP—as well as many JMLA Editorial Board members for providing feedback on a draft of this article.