Diversity Dynamics and Crisis in Paleontology
This project is led by Nussaibah Raja-Schoob (FAU, Germany) and Emma Dunne (Univ. Birmingham, UK) and based on the idea that “Palaeontology is unique among scientific disciplines in that it thrives on the exchange of information across diverse communities, both academic and non-academic.”
The PIs have identified a need to change the way that research is conducted with the aim to improve the representation of a wide range of abilities, perspectives, and backgrounds in paleontology.
Paleontology involves office work as well as a great deal of field work, visiting museum collections, cooperation among scientists, and more. Often, however, local experts are not involved in such work or even deliberately excluded. Additionally, not all scientists have the same resources (e.g., financing of project; IT) or opportunities to perform fieldwork.
Therefore, Nussaibah and Emma created a workshop to bring together paleontologists from various cultural, racial, socio-economic and research backgrounds. Along with these paleontologists, several JEDI (Justice, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) specialists will play a major role in achieving the project outcomes:
- the identification and quantification of the nature and scale of the diversity crisis in paleontology and how it affects research output
- and the report on the current state of paleontology in order to be able to dismantle identified barriers to resources and opportunities.
As stated by Nussaibah and Emma, this work is critical:
Considering the global challenges of climate change and current diversity crisis, and the perspective palaeobiology can contribute to tackling these challenges, our field cannot afford exclusion of or mistrust by any group.