Last summer at the 2020 All Hands Meeting, the Data Curation Network identified several community goals related to addressing racial justice and equity through our unique role as data curators, as well as increasing the inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) within our own community. After a successful RFP in fall 2020, our DCN Special Interest Group for Racial Justice partnered with researcher and expert facilitator Fay Cobb Payton, PhD to help us refine and prioritize our goals into an IDEA action plan.

We are excited to share the consultant’s report (pdf) and note that the IDEA action plan will be shared at this year’s All Hands Meeting later this June 2021. As we advanced this important topic within our community, we wanted to share a bit more about the consultancy process, which we found very valuable and engaging!

The facilitation occurred over six months in 2021 and included several components: 

  1. In Jan/Feb DCN members attended a participatory discussion session, led by our facilitator, on topics including “Whiteness and Going Beyond Inclusion,” “Diversity in Libraries and Why It Matters,” “Data and Other Biases,” and “Intersectionality and Its Impacts.” 
  2. Next, a March session brought together a smaller group to dig into the DCN CURATE(D) steps and discuss how our model might better incorporate the actions that data curators often take to ensure data are shared in ethical, equitable ways. We applied real data sets when discussing the following peer examples: 
    1. FATE – Fairness, Accountability, Transparency & Ethics in AI
    2. FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable & Reusable
    3. CARE with Collective Benefit, Authority of Control, Responsibility & Ethics
    4. ACM FAccT – Fairness, Accountability & Transparency
    5. the Urban Institute’s excellent Principles for Advancing Equitable Data Practice
  3. Finally in April/May, we reflected on our discussions and findings by co-creating an IDEA action plan virtually with the help of a Google jam board.

Requesting feedback on this process, we heard from DCN members that they were looking for actionable takeaways for institutional members (individually) and the DCN (collectively). One key element we’ve identified as part of our IDEA action plan is to refine our CURATE(D) model to better reflect how curators consider, respect, and value the people within the data. Thanks to Fay for all the support and facilitation of this process as we move forward on Centering Racial Equity in Data Curation.

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