Kairos DEI Committee Members
Through the initial charge of the 2020–21 Kairos DEI Task Force composed of journal staff volunteers, the Kairos DEI Committee is required to have representatives from across the journal. Ideally, there will be nine members:
- Senior Editors (1)
- Managing Editors (1)
- Section Editors (2)
- Associate Editors (2)
- Assistant Editors (1)
- Editorial Board (2)
Additionally, the DEI Committee seeks to include diverse representation through a variety of ways in alignment with our grounding definitions of antiracism. Through an application process by staff and editorial board members, the initial committee is composed of the following people:
- [Senior Editor & Publisher] Doug Eyman
- [Senior Editor] Cheryl E. Ball
- [Managing Editor] Chris Andrews
- [Section Editor] Elizabeth Chamberlain
- [Section Editor] Brandy Dieterle
- [Associate Editor] Nupoor Ranade
- [Editorial Board Member] Colleen Reilly
- [Editorial Board Member] Harley Ferris
We note a dearth of applications and committee members from the Associate and Assistant Editor affiliations on staff and are seeking to rectify that in the next committee round, in Fall 2024.
As outlined in our Inclusivity Action Plan (and Updates), Kairos is committed to anti-racist, intersectional publishing practices, which influence the processes of submission, peer-review, copy-editing, and hiring. We invite webtexts from diverse cultural and academic backgrounds and ask authors to reference scholars from multiple identities and sources from diverse publication forms. In the peer-review process, reviewers are asked to follow the Anti-Racist Scholarly Reviewing Practices heuristic and inclusive citation and anti-racist review practices that recognize an inclusive plurality of styles, methodologies, designs, and ways of knowledge-making. Kairos strives to hire and mentor volunteer staff and editorial board members of myriad diverse backgrounds and identities, continually growing its mentoring and outreach efforts and making explicit and accessible publishing guidelines for all. The senior editorial team alongside the DEI Committee reviews the journal's status in each of these areas, revising as needed to ensure ongoing inclusivity and proactive anti-racist practices, and invites conversation and feedback on these items.
Through efforts of the journal staff, board members, and the DEI Committee, Kairos has worked on and/or completed the following projects in 2022 and 2023 to promote inclusivity, diversity, and equity within its publication:
- Created a survey that includes a focus on DEI efforts for editorial board members and authors.
- Made transparent our name- and pronoun-change policy in our inclusive editing guidelines.
- Began implementing changes to the Awards process to better ensure we do not create harm.
- Collaborated with the Multiply Marginalized and Underrepresented Scholars Advisory Board to begin hosting the MMU database and bibliography.
- Held our first DEI workshop for staff and board members to update them on the journal’s internal DEI efforts and train them on more inclusive peer review and editing processes.
- Updated our peer review guidelines to be more pro-actively anti-racist and inclusive.
Some of these items are discussed in more detail below, along with other relevant changes at the journal.
Submitted by Erin Kathleen Bahl and Chris Andrews, Kairos Managing Editors
Between September 2021 and December 2023 (at the time of this report), Kairos peer review procedures have undergone the following changes: Tier 1 and Section Mergers (September 2021):
- In September 2021, we determined that monthly Tier 1 review meetings would include all peer-reviewed and editorially reviewed sections (Topoi, Praxis, Inventio, PraxisWiki, Disputatio, Interviews, and Reviews), rather than solely peer-reviewed sections. This allows for more generous T1 reviews of all texts, it mirrors our editorial board process of having a highly collaborative and rigorous review process, and it helps us catch any issues/problems with a text (particularly in terms of racial or other identity harm) that a single editor may not catch at first. This new process also allows for cross-training of section editors, which leads to more potential for promotion to higher editorial ranks in the journal across a more diverse group of candidates.
Tier 2 (Editorial Board) Peer Review Changes (October 2022)
- We determined that we would have a single editorial board to conduct peer review for all appropriate sections (rather than separate editorial boards for Topoi/Praxis and for PraxisWiki), thus lessening the labor of the PraxisWiki editors in particular and increasing the value of publishing for authors in all sections of the journal.
- Merging the two editorial boards provided an opportunity to review members’ level of activity in recent years; to retire inactive reviewers with thanks for their service; and to invite new reviewers whose expertise and demographics deepened the diversity of Kairos’s editorial review board. It also served to streamline our labor practices in regards to peer review at the journal.
- The merged editorial board was officially launched in October 2022 in tandem with a new set of editorial procedures facilitated via a Kairos Editorial Board Google Group.
- Previously, managing editors would contact potential editorial board reviewers to request their interest in and availability to join a group of 5-6 fellow ed board members in reviewing a Tier 2 webtext submission. Using the Google Group, Tier 2 peer review invitations now go out to the full editorial board, and any interested/available reviewer can express their interest in joining the team up to the response date specified by the managing editors. This system (which builds on earlier Kairos peer review practices) opens up the review process to any and all interested reviewers, rather than only those selected by the managing editors, and also helps distribute the labor a little more evenly across reviewers. Managing Editors ensure that the volunteer reviewers provide a diverse group of readers for any particular webtext, and they solicit individual reviewers, as needed, to fill in any gaps.
As we revised reviewer email invitation templates and instructions to account for the merged section, we also updated our Tier 2 peer review criteria to the following questions: Revised (Tier 2) Peer-Review Questions (February 2022):These questions were revised with DEI and anti-racist principles at the forefront, with specific attention given to who gets to make knowledge, the breadth of what “new” knowledge might encompass, and how inclusive (across a range of factors) authors are in their webtexts. We also use these questions to evaluate submissions during Tier 1 reviews by the Section Editors to determine a webtext’s readiness for Tier 2 review, and they are publicly posted on our website under the Submissions tab.
- CONTRIBUTION: Does the webtext clarify its contribution to that academic conversation and describe that contribution sufficiently, such as through some overarching argument or point woven throughout? (Keep in mind the section expectations highlighted above.)
- RHETORIC/DESIGN: Does the rhetoric, design, and code cohere in ways that forward the argument? Does the webtext include media assets that forward its goals/claims? What could be done to improve the webtext’s accessibility and usability?
- METHODOLOGY: Is the overall contribution clearly supported by relevant methods and evidence (whether or not there's a specific methodology, experimental design, or anti-racist method employed)?
- CITATIONS: Does the author cite inclusively? That is, does the scholarly review (if appropriate) draw from a range of relevant feminist and cultural rhetorical traditions, include scholars from multiple identities (gender, race, disability) if known, or include research in multiple forms (open v. closed-access)?
Submitted by Chris Andrews, Managing Editor and Keeper of the Forms
Kairos invites authors to self-report demographic information at both the submission and acceptance steps. This data is confidential among the senior editorial team (Senior Editor, Editors, Managing Editors). It is strictly used in a dis-aggregated way for us to annually check ourselves against our Inclusive Strategic Plan benchmarks to help us determine where we need to push on our inclusivity and anti-racist outreach efforts. Authors are invited to include the following:
- Gender identity
- Race or Ethnicity
- Additional identity markers (disability, LGBTQ+, or anything else you would like us to know about you as a person)
All demographic information is self-reported by authors, and doing so is optional. Some authors include a significant number of additional identity markers, while others choose not to provide any demographic information. Additionally, authors sometimes circumvent our forms; all of this is to say that the information we have about author demographics at Kairos is unruly.
While the Senior Team still needs to review the disaggregated data from 2022–23 to determine what next steps to take for our DEI mission, in general we can report that over 50% of our authors identify as female, and the other 50% reporting at either the submission or acceptance stages as trans, nonbinary, agender, or male. In terms of race and ethnicity, the overwhelming majority (more so at the submission stage than at acceptance) report as white. Finally, authors seem to readily report their neurodivergent, disabled, and queer status to us. Those numbers increased (in certain categories) between the submission form and acceptance form stages.
submitted by Michael Faris, Editor
In 2022 and 2023, the journal has been proactive in addressing DEI concerns in copyediting and production, including the following steps:
- We have been more intentional in honoring authors’ language choices, including asking authors whose work we have accepted to provide a style guide for their text so we don’t unintentionally change their language choices, and being more intentional when assigning copy-editing assignments by explicitly telling copyeditors to honor language choices.
- We have reached out to prior authors who have published in Kairos or who have been cited by a webtext when they publicly announce a chosen name change and ask them if they would like us to update their name throughout all issues of Kairos.
- We encourage all authors who publish in Kairos to use Scholarnames, sharing an audio file of their name, so that other scholars in the field can correctly pronounce their names in audio and video productions, or at conferences or other venues. (Though we are in need of a linguist who can help us transcribe these audio files into phonetic spellings for hard-of-hearing readers.)
- We have continued long-held practices of citing authors by their current chosen name rather than a deadname on old publication, capitalizing most racial identities and categories, avoiding imperialist and colonial metaphors (like “digital natives”), and avoiding U.S.-centric conceptions of “America” and other terms.
- We have begun avoiding ocularcentric language and revising to be more inclusive. For example, instead of “see my discussion on X page,” we use “refer to my discussion on X page.”
- We have continued to improve our use of alt text and are avoiding as much as possible images that contain a lot of text (instead opting to replace the image with actual text or providing the text of the image in the html itself).
- For the last few issues, we have ensured that all .pdf files accompanying webtexts are accessible by including heading tags and alt text for images and by adding accurate title metadata to .pdf files.
- We have continued our practice, begun a few years ago, of ensuring that every webtext we publish is accessible across devices—from mobile to large screen, including attending to font size and text width as we design-edit webtexts.
The DEI Committee meets monthly, on average, and our next steps include reviewing the dis-aggregated DEI survey data from both authors and editorial board members, the latter of which we just finished collecting in late December 2023. We have created an annual calendar of assessment periods so that we can review this collected material and work with the whole staff to create new or better, inclusive pathways to publication within the journal (and the field).