Diversity in Science: Why It Is Essential for Excellence

Fred Guterl, Scientific American

Science and technology are society’s main engines of prosperity. Who gets to drive them?

DiversityCollaboration has been a recurring theme in science and technology in recent years. The life of the mind is increasingly transnational in nature. It roams centers of excellence from every continent, linked by communications of great speed and breadth.Twice we have looked at collaboration in our State of the World’s Science reports, last year with a focus on innovation, the year before on basic research. Here we address it again, from the standpoint of the individual.

The word “diversity” is shorthand for a vast effort to remake society to include everyone—not just those in privileged positions—in politics, culture and the pursuit of happiness. This ambition goes well beyond the scope of this report; we have stayed within the realm of science and its activities. Because we prefer to look at evidence, we take the opportunity to focus on the empirical grounding of diversity, which often gets lost in the larger conversation. More…

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