Open textbook users represent a wide array of populations, including:
Whether or not these users represent formally protected classes, it’s your responsibility to consider and include them in your content. To ensure your textbook meets inclusion and diversity standards, you should:
OpenStax has identified the following areas and elements where diversity, equity and inclusivity are most relevant and visible within open textbooks:
The following example rubric for assessing diversity, equity and inclusion in open textbooks is based on Open Stax’s Improving Representation and Diversity in OER Materials framework:
|Development Description and Requirement
|Illustrations and photos
Ensure they reflect diversity, and consider the intersectionality and context of the depiction (e.g. is anything perpetuating a stereotype, are all populations equally ‘active’ in your images, does the context or setting of the image indicate anything negative, etc.).
Note: Because it’s impossible to represent every population in every image, consider diversity on a section/chapter level.
Ensure names used in examples, exercises, and scenarios represent various countries of origin, ethnicities, genders and races.
Ensure names with particular ethnic or origin associations are portrayed properly.
Avoid negative comparisons or stereotypes associated with particular national origins or ethnicities.
|Historical, pioneering or current researchers/studies in the field
Ensure you recognise key contributors from all backgrounds, and real-world examples are also diverse.
When historical figures in a field lack diversity, balance their inclusion with more current and diverse contributors.
|References/bibliography and credits to diverse researchers/authors
Determine if referenced papers or data have been sourced from diverse authors, researchers and organisations.
Note that a lack of diversity in this area may persist due to a general lack of diversity in higher education.
Also, diversity may not be perceptible by study authors.
|Applications, examples and problem scenarios that relate to diverse audiences
Ensure diverse contexts are included and that all examples are comprehensible by everyone. Avoid stereotypes.
Similar to images, consider diversity on a chapter/whole book basis.
Ensure all references to people, groups, populations, categories, conditions and disabilities use the appropriate terminology and don’t contain any derogatory, colloquial, inappropriate or otherwise incorrect language.
For historical uses, consider adding context such as ‘a widely used term at the time’. Ensure quotations or paraphrases using outdated terms are attributed, contextualised and limited.
|Keyword, indexed item, glossary and metadata representation
|Index/keywords can signal priorities and show how important a particular topic/issue is. Consider the relevance and connection of these elements in relation to inclusivity.
|Presence and balanced perspectives on issues, events or concepts that are relevant to underrepresented groups
Represent issues relevant to diverse populations, and ensure you don’t avoid or underestimate the impacts on diverse populations.
Examples include social problems, health issues, political issues, business practices, economic conditions and so on.
|Diversity of viewpoints on multifaceted, sensitive or controversial topics
Most discipline experts will defer to the academic viewpoint of any key concept, but they should consider alternative points of view.
If a topic is inherently divisive or sensitive, indicate to editors that it should be specifically reviewed for balance/potential offence.
|Same as above.
Some additional example diversity, equity and inclusion rubrics: