LGBTQIA+ STEM Day: Editorial Spotlight

In 1960, Dr. Frank Kameny brought the first lawsuit in the US for workplace discrimination against sexual orientation. In recognition of Dr. Kameny's tireless pursuit of justice and the contributions of countless other queer scientists, we celebrate LGBTQIA+ STEM Day.

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This year at Communications Biology, we wanted to celebrate LGBT STEM Day by highlighting researchers and STEM professionals at multiple career stages, including faculty and trainees. To learn more from the publishing perspective, here we asked editors at Springer Nature about their research training and career paths.

Scotty Rae

Scotty is a Senior Submissions Editor (Transfers Team) at Springer Nature, based in the London office. 

I graduated with a bachelors in pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen. After a brief stint working in retail (and having a crisis working out my next career step) my old professor sent me a job advertisement to work on the operational team at Scientific Reports (she was an editorial board member on the journal at the time). Reading about the journal and the Open Access movement really excited me to apply and be at the forefront of publishing. Since joining in 2017 I have moved to work on the BMC Series and Flagships as operations manager before moving to my current role on the transfers team for the Springer Nature medicine and life science portfolio.

In my publishing career, having fantastic supportive senior managers like I have had in the company who foster growth and development in your progression has helped me get to where I am today. I never have had a role model that is LGBTQ+. During university lab training I had an amazing female professor and postdoc who were amazing to watch and learn from and to this day I would describe them as the best academics I have interacted with. They very much didn't knock the ladder down but helped you climb it to be the best you can be.

Working in STEM publishing as a member of the LGBTQ+ community allows us to challenge scientific baselines and encourage better inclusion and diversity and give this a platform in the research that we publish. Not just for our community but all groups which are underrepresented in STEM (e.g. BAME and women). As someone who managed a large team in my previous job I hope at least myself being out, and championing good leadership principles, might be a role model for others.

Dr. George Inglis

Dr. Inglis is an Associate Editor at Communications Biology, based in the New York office.

I was fortunate that one of the faculty in my graduate department (Dr. Chris Gunter, @GirlScientist) had actually been a senior editor at Nature and regularly hosted workshops on the editorial process and opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in academic publishing. Given that of my favorite conference activities is wandering around poster sessions to see what new (or unexpected) topic could pop up, becoming an editor seemed like an excellent way to continue to learn and discuss the breadth of the biological sciences. I'm especially happy to have joined the Communications Biology team, since each in-house editor can have a wide remit and discuss new adventures in biology on a daily basis.

Even though I came out just before college, I've found it an awkward struggle to bring up my identity as a gay male in a research environment. An academic mentor-mentee relationship is highly personal, and best thrives when a mentor is able to accept the entirety of a trainee's aspirations, interests, and identity. When I interviewed around for undergraduate or graduate mentors, I always had to find a discreet way to gauge faculty openness from other lab members, and ask whether being a gay male trainee would throw a wrench into a potential professional relationship. I'm fortunate to have had a fantastic graduate mentor (Dr. Andrew Escayg) who encouraged a diverse lab environment, but not all queer trainees are in a similar situation. To me, being queer in STEM means making sure that no one is discouraged from joining a team based on how others might perceive their identity. While LGBTQIA+ STEM Day is (by definition) an annual event, my hope is that we can continue to promote achievements from queer scientists throughout the year and highlight resources for early-stage researchers or trainees. To that end, I'm also motivated to act as a resource for the queer community in navigating the world of science editing and academic publishing. 

George Inglis

Associate Editor, Springer Nature

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