To say that 2020 has been a trying year would be a massive understatement. On a personal level and at our organizations, many of us have been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the accompanying economic uncertainty, the political anxiety, and the attacks on truth and science.
2020 also brought forth a renewed and urgent focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion – of people, perspectives, approaches, and the need for strong leaders. Many of us are heeding calls to diversify our industry, bring new voices and perspectives into our publishing programs and publications, make strides toward a more inclusive academia, and ensure that the research we publish embodies these principles.
The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) has long invested in future generations of scholarly communications professionals, and has championed the values of inclusion, diversity, and equity through its programs. Our esteemed fellowship and mentorship programs have trained hundreds of future leaders in scholarly communications. Our diversity initiatives have included supporting the workplace equity survey; increasing awareness of DE&I through posts and discussion here on The Scholarly Kitchen, our industry’s forum; offering educational programs and resources to organizations in publishing to further this goal; and founding, alongside other members, the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications (C4DISC).
Today, we celebrate the launch of the Generations Fund, SSP’s next milestone in fostering a diverse, global community of scholarly communication professionals. The Generations Fund is an endowment that will provide permanent, sustainable funding for programs designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by 2023, the investment earnings from which will support fellowship, mentorship, and DE&I programs far into the future. The SSP Board of Directors has seeded the fund with $100,000; personal contributions from Board members and additional donations from organizations and individuals who share SSP’s vision for a diverse and robust industry have already helped us get to 25% of our goal.
But we need your help to raise the rest. If every person reading this right now pledged $200 over the next two years, we would easily reach our fundraising goal.
To be sure, 2020 is a difficult year in economic terms for many, and launching a fundraising campaign at this time is not without its challenges. But the events of 2020 are also precisely the reason why this fund is so necessary. In precarious times like these, with budgets and other resources stretched beyond capacity, non-revenue-generating programs can quickly be deemed “non-essential,” even when they are of vital strategic importance. The Generations Fund will offer protection from financial vicissitudes to SSP programs that are crucial to cultivating the next generation of innovative, diverse leaders and a thriving publishing community. Ensuring our programming can withstand the inevitable crises and turmoil of the future will allow our community to continue to ensure that new knowledge is disseminated efficiently and widely to the benefit of humanity.
With the Generations Fund, SSP cements and extends its commitment to fostering an inspired and diverse talent in scholarly publishing for years to come. We hope that you will consider making a donation. Investing in the Generations Fund is investing not only in the future of our profession, but in the future of knowledge.