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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Research

A guide to help research embed equity, diversity, and inclusion into the research process, from planning to citations.

What is Citation Justice?

A photo of a library with a young black woman sitting reading a pile of books. The caption reads "cite black women"


Citation Justice is the act of citing authors based on identify to uplift marginalized voices with the knowledge that citation is used as a form of power in a patriarchal society based on white supremacy.


Citation Justice is based on a growing body evidence across disciplines that women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are cited less frequently than their white male counterparts. Here we examine academia as it relates to categorizations of race, power, and citation. We a look at all forms of marginalized identify in academia, working toward a broader, but inextricably interconnected, web of social justice issues.

The Nitty Gritty

Citation Practice has broad implications for who gets a voice in academia. Much of the tenure practice is based on "impact" produced by citations. Academia has been excrutiatingly slow at incorporating different metrics of impact. So who is being cited results in who gets promoted, who conducts research, and the voices that speak in our classrooms.

“Citation behavior is the product of institutional structures and individual habits. Imbalances in citation behavior, therefore, are produced by both institutional biases and individual biases. By bias, we mean discriminatory (or, conversely, preferential) values, practices, or mechanisms, typically resulting in material, psychological, or physical harms.”

Dworkin, J., Zurn, P., & Bassett, D. S. (2020). (In) citing action to realize an equitable future. Neuron, 106(6), 890-894.

In other words, who you choose to cite has an impact on who you see in the classroom, who does research, and stays in academia.

Everyone should be practicing citation justice! Whether you are an undergraduate or a tenured faculty member, whether you study engineering or creative writing, your citation practice is important.

Here are some examples of citation discrimination found in a variety of fields:


Chakravartty, P., Kuo, R., Grubbs, V., & McIlwain, C. (2018). #CommunicationSoWhite. Journal of Communication, 68(2), 254–266.


Dworkin, J., Zurn, P., & Bassett, D. S. (2020). (In) citing action to realize an equitable future. Neuron, 106(6), 890-894.


Craven, C. (2021). Teaching Antiracist Citational Politics as a Project of Transformation: Lessons from the Cite Black Women Movement for White Feminist Anthropologists. Feminist Anthropology, 2(1), 120-129.

Data Science

D’Ignazio, C., & Klein, L. F. (2020). Data Feminism. MIT Press.


Murphy, F. (2017). Engineering a gender bias. Nature, 543(7646), S31–S31.

Set goals

  •  Who do you want to cite?
  •  Articulate why this is important
  • Find citations from BIPoC researchers (see resources below for tools)

Obstacles & Considerations

  • An example of an obstacle might be how to track Race. Race is a binary (black and white), so if you want to incorporate other marginalized groups, you may also want to look at ethnicity.
  • What about white passing Black folks? Determining how an individual identifies can be difficult.
  • If you want to cite trans folks, is this a form of outing? Do you include dead names, as publishing has not prioritized removing dead names?

Overcoming Obstacles

  • Create reading lists or find other reading lists that are already created
  • Find a leading BIPoC researcher - who are they citing?
  • Ask your librarian
  • Social Media


  • How well did you do?
  • How/where can you improve?
  • What were the biggest hurdles?
  • How did you overcome those hurdles?
  • Audit again (and again, and again…)
    • Note any decreases during the editing process - why is this happening?

Get feedback

  • White folks: Do not constantly ask your BIPoC colleagues - they have a lot of work already
  • Set up a core group of researchers that will hold you accountable

It's important to audit your citations after your first draft and after every round of edits, especially editorial edits. In the book Data Feminism the author's noted that through the open peer review, their citation counts went down.

Citation Diversity Statements are often optional statements published at the end of an article that describes how an author considered equity, diversity, and inclusion in their citation practice. These are often quite short, and discuss both successes and shortcomings in the practice. Below is an example of a more general inclusion and diversity statement that explains how researchers incorporated Inclusion and Diversity throughout their research process.

An image of an example diversity statement

Image reads: "Inclusion and Diversity Statement: We worked to ensure sex balance in the selection of non-human subjects. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as living with a disability. On or more of the authors of this paper received support from a program designed to increase minority representation in science. The author list of this paper includes contributors from the location where the research was conducted who participated in the data collection, design, analysis, and/or interpretation of the work.": Sweet, D. (2022, February 1). The inclusion and diversity statement – one year on [News from a Publication]. Cell Press.

See more examples in the paper cited below:

Dworkin, J., Zurn, P., & Bassett, D. S. (2020). (In)citing Action to Realize an Equitable Future. Neuron, 106(6), 890–894.

Resources to Help With your Citation Practice!

The best way to keep track of citations is by using a citation manager. There are several options, though we recommend using Zotero or Mendeley as both of these tools are free. Many faculty also use EndNote, which has a free web-based version, but the stand alone can be expensive.

For tutorials on how to use citation managers please check out the Research Guide listed below.

For additional help, please contact your subject specialist.

Auditing citations throughout the writing process is crucial to ensuring a diversity of perspectives is included in your bibliography. Using the tools linked below will help you measure the diversity in your list.

Austin, A. (1993). Reliability of citation counts in judgments on promotion, tenure, and status, the  essay. Arizona Law Review, 35(4), 829–840.
Bailey, M. (2018). On misogynoir: Citation, erasure, and plagiarism. Feminist Media Studies, 18(4), 762–768.
Bertolero, M. A., Dworkin, J. D., David, S. U., Lloreda, C. L., Srivastava, P., Stiso, J., Zhou, D., Dzirasa, K., Fair, D. A., Kaczkurkin, A. N., Marlin, B. J., Shohamy, D., Uddin, L. Q., Zurn, P., & Bassett, D. S. (2020). Racial and ethnic imbalance in neuroscience reference lists and intersections with gender (p. 2020.10.12.336230). bioRxiv.
Bornmann, L., & Daniel, H. (2008). What do citation counts measure? A review of studies on citing behavior. Journal of Documentation, 64(1), 45–80.
Boyne, R. (1999). Citation and subjectivity: Towards a return of the embodied will. Body & Society, 5(2–3), 209–225.
Burbules, N. C. (2015). The changing functions of citation: From knowledge networking to academic cash-value. Paedagogica Historica, 51(6), 716–726.
Chakravartty, P., Kuo, R., Grubbs, V., & McIlwain, C. (2018). #CommunicationSoWhite. Journal of Communication, 68(2), 254–266.
Chang, R. S. (2009). Richard Delgado and the Politics of Citation 20th Anniversary CRT Essays. Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy, 11(1), 28–35.
Cite Black Authors – A database for academic research by Black authors. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2021, from
Creative Reaction Lab. (2018). Equity-Centered Community Design Field Guide.
Cronin, B., & Shaw, D. (2002). Identity-creators and image-makers: Using citation analysis and thick description to put authors in their place. 19.
Delgado, R., & Stefancic, J. (2017). Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (Third). NYU Press.
D’Ignazio, C., & Klein, L. F. (2020). Data Feminism. MIT Press.
Dworkin, J., Zurn, P., & Bassett, D. S. (2020). (In)citing Action to Realize an Equitable Future. Neuron, 106(6), 890–894.
Earhart, A. E., Risam, R., & Bruno, M. (2020). Citational politics: Quantifying the influence of gender on citation in Digital Scholarship in the Humanities. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, fqaa011.
Else, H., & Perkel, J. M. (2022). The giant plan to track diversity in research journals. Nature, 602(7898), 566–570.
Gmür, M. (2003). Co-citation analysis and the search for invisible colleges: A methodological evaluation. 31.
Goodman, J. E., Tomlinson, M., & Richland, J. B. (2014). Citational Practices: Knowledge, Personhood, and Subjectivity. Annual Review of Anthropology, 43(1), 449–463.
Greenberg, S. A. (2009). How citation distortions create unfounded authority: Analysis of a citation network. BMJ, 339(jul20 3), b2680–b2680.
Guzmán, R. L. (2020, June 10). How to Cite Like a Badass Tech Feminist Scholar of Color. Medium.
Harwood, N. (2009). An interview-based study of the functions of citations in academic writing across two disciplines. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(3), 497–518.
Henige, D. (2006). Discouraging Verification: Citation Practices across the Disciplines. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 37(2), 99–118.
Hyland, K. (2003). Self-citation and self-reference: Credibility and promotion in academic publication. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 54(3), 251–259.
Hyland, K., & Jiang, F. (Kevin). (2018). Changing patterns of self-citation: Cumulative inquiry or self-promotion? Text & Talk, 38(3), 365–387.
Hyland, K., & Jiang, F. (Kevin). (2019). Points of Reference: Changing Patterns of Academic Citation. Applied Linguistics, 40(1), 64–85.
Kallio, K. P. (2017). Subtle radical moves in scientific publishing. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 195(1), 1–4.
Kornei, K. (2021, November 9). Academic Citations Evolve to Include Indigenous Oral Teachings. Eos.
Kozlowski, D., Larivière, V., Sugimoto, C. R., & Monroe-White, T. (2022). Intersectional inequalities in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(2), e2113067119.
Kwon, D. (2022). The rise of citational justice: How scholars are making references fairer. Nature, 603(7902), 568–571.
Lloro-Bidart, T., & Finewood, M. H. (2018). Intersectional feminism for the environmental studies and sciences: Looking inward and outward. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 8(2), 142–151.
Lutz, C. (1990). The erasure of women’s writing in sociocultural anthropology. American Ethnologist, 17(4), 611–627.
Mansourizadeh, K., & Ahmad, U. K. (2011). Citation practices among non-native expert and novice scientific writers. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 10(3), 152–161.
McKittrick, K. (2010). Science Quarrels Sculpture: The Politics of Reading Sarah Baartman. Mosaic: An Interdisciplinary Critical Journal, 43(2), 113–130. JSTOR.
Mott, C., & Cockayne, D. (2017). Citation matters: Mobilizing the politics of citation toward a practice of ‘conscientious engagement.’ Gender, Place & Culture, 24(7), 954–973.
Mott, C., & Cockayne, D. (2018). Conscientious disengagement and whiteness as a condition of dialogue. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(2), 143–147.
Murphy, F. (2017). Engineering a gender bias. Nature, 543(7646), S31–S31.
Nakassis, C. V. (2013). Citation and Citationality. Signs and Society, 1(1), 51–77.
New study finds gender gaps in tenure rates and career paths in economics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2020, from
Nunkoo, R., Hall, C. M., Rughoobur-Seetah, S., & Teeroovengadum, V. (2019). Citation practices in tourism research: Toward a gender conscientious engagement. Annals of Tourism Research, 79, 102755.
Our Approach. (n.d.). Creative Reaction Lab. Retrieved August 24, 2020, from
Progress in documentation the complexities of citation practice: A review of citation studies. (1993). Journal of Documentation, 49(4). /z-wcorg/.
Rose-Redwood, R., Kitchin, R., Rickards, L., Rossi, U., Datta, A., & Crampton, J. (2018a). The possibilities and limits to dialogue. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(2), 109–123.
Rose-Redwood, R., Kitchin, R., Rickards, L., Rossi, U., Datta, A., & Crampton, J. (2018b). The uneven terrain of dialogical encounters and the spatial politics of listening. Dialogues in Human Geography, 8(2), 160–167.
Ruez, D. (2017). Evaluating otherwise: Hierarchies and opportunities in publishing practices. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 195(2), 189–193.
Sweet, D. (2022, February 1). The inclusion and diversity statement – one year on [News from a Publication]. Cell Press.
Thieme, K., & Saunders, M. A. S. (2018). How do you wish to be cited? Citation practices and a scholarly community of care in trans studies research articles. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 32, 80–90.
Walker, M. A., & Boamah, E. F. (2019a). Making the invisible hyper-visible: Knowledge production and the gendered power nexus in critical urban studies. Human Geography, 12(2), 36–50.
Walker, M. A., & Boamah, E. F. (2019b). Making the invisible hyper-visible: Knowledge production and the gendered power nexus in critical urban studies. Human Geography, 12(2), 36–50.
“Where Do You Know From?”: An Exercise in Placing Ourselves Together in the Classroom. (2020, January 27). MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture.


You have questions, we have answers! Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below. 

Shouldn't you cite good research and not base citations on race or gender?

  • While you should always cite good science, art, literature, etc, consider the need to dig deeply into the literature to diversify your citations. Don't just engage with the most highly cited articles; show how deeply you are engaging with the literature by exploring more of published research. This can help you address your own explicit and implicit biases, but also helps correct a system that has systematically disregarded non-white and non-male voices for centuries.

Sure, inequities exist in citations, but won't we cause an imbalance against white male scholars if we just cite women and BIPOC scholars?

  • Because there are so few women and people of color in certain fields, it will take many generations for the balance to shift in the other direction. We have a lot of catching up to do to create an equitable academic environment.

Isn't it problematic to infer the gender or race of people?

  • Since race is a social construct and is a visual determination, inferring people's race by sight is not problematic. Gender is a bit more difficult and should be approached with caution. Occasionally, determinations on gender can be made based on probability that a person with one name identifies with a specific gender. However, try to go the extra mile to determine how they identify themselves. Check out a researcher's scholarly profile in Google Scholar, Research Gate, or on social media

I live outside of the United States. Should I still practice citation justice?

  • Yes! It's likely that many countries suffer from different types of injustice, including racial discrimination that hasn't been thoroughly discussed yet. It's also likely that racial discrimination is broadly distributed due to historical colonialism and modern day imperialism and globalization. Discuss these broader social issues with fellow researchers and determine what your own practice should look like.

Isn't the broader problem that citation counts themselves are not a good way of assessing the quality of research? Shouldn't we address that and this won't matter?

  • While citation counts themselves are indeed poor indicators of the quality of research (and, by extension, the researcher), these types of citational metrics are being used in evaluations right now. Encouraging broader citation practice ensures a more equitable process now, as we simultaneously work to find better assessment tools.