Yesterday was a pretty big day for me. I was named as one of the Nature 10 for 2013, and one of my posts made it into the Best Online Science Writing of 2013 (AKA The Open Lab) – that’s three years in a row I’ve been in that anthology. I cannot thank you all enough for the emails, tweets, and Facebook posts, comments and messages I’ve received over the last 24 hours.

A few of the messages I received were simultaneously thrilled for me, and horrified as to the reason why I – because of my field-based harassment and assault research project with collaborators Katie Hinde, Robin Nelson and Julienne Rutherford – was included as one of the people who “mattered” this year. We are putting the finishing touches on our manuscript and will be sending it out for publication shortly. In it, we draw from our dataset and the broader literature to help identify a few ways we can reduce harassment and a hostile environment in science. But in the meantime, I get the feeling it would be good for people to feel more empowered on this issue.

Here are a few things to ask yourself or look into for the new year:

  • What is your institution’s sexual harassment policy, and what is the reporting mechanism?
  • Do your colleagues and/or students know of this policy, and if not how can you insure that they do?
  • What kind of training does your department or group provide to researchers before they enter the field? What kind do they need once they arrive?

You may have more tools than you realize to create a welcoming environment for all researchers. And if you don’t, that’s also good to know.