“I’m good now, Mariette. Are you good?”
It was a Sunday morning in October 2013, and Danielle Lee, author of The Urban Scientist blog on Scientific American’s network, and I were talking about the future.
Since I became editor in chief in December 2009, the team and I had been focusing on what I call “inviting in”—using our digital and print platforms to share our passion for science and technology with new audiences. In short order, we took several steps to enliven the institution founded in 1845 that is Scientific American: we redesigned the print magazine and Web site; inaugurated our independent and lively blog network community; launched a series of education initiatives for kids, parents and educators to foster a love of science from a young age, including our $50,000 Scientific American Science in Action prize as part of the Google Science Fair; and reached out to policy and business leaders through efforts with groups such as the World Economic Forum.
But we know we have so much more to do when it comes to opening science to all, and it took a mistake for me to see that we needed to focus more effort on fostering diversity in science and science communication themselves. I am still very sorry about not realizing the telegraphed implications of temporarily removing Danielle’s post for fact checking; I realize that people expect better communication from Scientific American.
But what she graciously offered that Sunday morning was a chance to work on these issues together. We spoke about how important diversity was to both of us, and I felt very inspired by her ideas. I mentioned our plans to collaborate in my post and promised we would report back.
Since then, with the help of Danielle and other advisers, we’ve been discussing a series of Scientific American initiatives. Now we are pleased to tell you about the first, the Voices blog, which launches today.
It’s time, as Blogs Editor Curtis Brainard writes in his introduction, for Scientific American to “talk to the talk” about the many barriers “that keep us apart and hinder scientific progress.” We agree, and look forward to learning from our contributors; we welcome proposals. As always, also, we hope to receive your feedback and ideas as well.