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Structural Justice Report - FY 22

Structural Justice Report - FY 22


The Knowledge Futures Group has positioned itself at the intersection of tech and academia; two fields that require serious improvement when it comes to diversity and inclusion. As we structure ourselves to be driven by bottom-up community input, we need to make sure the communities we're listening to are diverse and that those who tend to be overwhelmingly underepresented have seats at that table. Any action we take, without a diverse set of communities that can inform those actions and give us feedback, risks reinforcing the structures we're trying to change.

While racial and gender equality sit at the forefront of our mind, existing structures for academic success lead to additional marginalized voices in humanities departments, small research universities, and other non-R1, non-STEM institutions and groups.

We’ve set the groundwork for several initial avenues for including these voices. An intended effect of including more diverse voices at advisory and partnership levels is that it will enable us to participate in and serve communities broader than the ones we currently inhabit. Such participation provides us a more diverse network from which to hire future KFG staff.


The taskforce convened in June 2020 after a year of team-wide calls dedicated to anti-racism and structural justice. The taskforce met roughly every-other week throughout the fiscal year, and reported out regularly to the wider team on short monthly calls.

At the start of the year, the taskforce completed an inventory of company activities and policies, and discussed initiatives to “apply antiracist and structural justice lenses to every aspect of our company.”

Smaller groups of taskforce members took the lead on implementing various initiatives throughout the year and crafted initiative proposals for feedback. Once approved by the taskforce (including members representing operations and leadership who reviewed them for legality and mission alignment), taskforce members implemented the initiatives by either commencing them with the wider team, or publishing them as official policies in the KF Handbook after leadership approval.

Finally, the taskforce met at the end of the fiscal year to conclude its work by producing this report, reporting the results to the wider team, and working to recruit the next taskforce.

Main Initiatives

Mentorship program

KFG established a mentoring framework for staff to participate in meaningful dialogue that promotes onboarding, professional identity, skill enhancement, knowledge transfer, and career development.

Goal(s): Facilitate uplifting social relationships and professional growth. Minimize systemic barriers that hinder progress.


  • Launched Mentorship program and orientation in Spring 2022

  • ~50% staff participation

  • Mentorship program framework included as a resource in C4DISC’s Antiracism Toolkit for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (forthcoming, Summer 2022).

Potential next steps:

  • Explore scaling program to support professionals in the open publishing infrastructure space and possibly as a contributor+ member benefit.


KFG established a comprehensive companywide hiring and interviewing policy designed to reduce bias and source candidates from networks outside our own that would lead to more diverse pools of candidates to hire from.


  • Reduce bias in the hiring and interviewing process by establishing standards for job listings, interviews, and hiring decisions.

  • Recruit from more diverse pools of candidates by testing and building a database of


  • Created and published hiring policies.

  • Used hiring policies to recruit for two new roles.

  • Hired two women, two employees representing American racial minorities into 3 open roles while the policies were in effect.

Next steps:

  • Improve understanding of applicant diversity by using more formal recruiting software/questionnaires for applications.

  • Implement pay transparency by establishing and publishing salary bands.

Intern Policy

Goal(s): Develop a policy for how we think about the role(s) of interns, source them in just and equitable ways, and conceptualize both their place within the KFG and the tasks they undertake.


  • Published policy that focused on these five values. 1) Paid Internships, 2) Non-Competition, 3) Dignity, 4) Value and Growth, and 5) People over Prestige.

  • Received 2 unsolicited internship applications from external candidates.

User survey

KFG is committed to building knowledge infrastructure that reduces barriers to participation and benefits everyone. We’ll survey communities to learn more about diversity on PubPub.

Goals: Better understand users, ensure we’re working towards improving representation of minority communities on PubPub.

Next steps: Re-run survey (in progress)

Public structural justice collection

KFG is committed to infusing anti-racism and structural justice into everything we do. To accomplish this goal, and hold ourselves accountable, we established a public, comprehensive, continually updating Anti-Racism and Structural Justice collection on the KFG website with our results.


  • Hold ourselves accountable for our work by making it public.

  • Make it easier to track

  • Improve hiring and external view of company.


  • Published the collection and updated it over the fiscal year.

  • Publicly adopted and re-shared our own version of the C4DISC principles on the collection.

  • Included links to the collection in annual reports, fundraising documents, board meetings, and on our website.

  • Saw over 1,700 pageviews on the collection during the fiscal year.

Events and Panels policy

Goal(s): model our principles and use our power to improve diversity beyond the org by drafting and adopting companywide event and panel hosting and attendance policies that require events we host or attend to be meaningfully diverse in several ways.


  • Published the policy in our handbook.

  • Generally, we have both hosted and participated in diverse panels, both virtually and in person.

  • We have not done a great job setting up systems to track and measure doing a great job measuring, and need some process for keeping track of panels we attend and host.


KFG is committed to being the best place to work for employees of all backgrounds. To this end, during the year we implemented a number of benefits to improve employee quality of life, with a particular focus on benefits that would improve quality of life for employees from underrepresented backgrounds.

Goal(s): Implement a comprehensive set of benefits, with a particular focus on benefits that would improve quality of life for employees from underrepresented backgrounds.


  • Implemented four-day workweek, and saw gains in happiness, connectivity, and productivity.

  • Implemented paid parental leave, bereavement leave, and life event leave to make it easier for employees to justify taking time off as needed, and saw multiple employees use each benefit.

  • Implemented education assistance reimbursement policy, with a focus on reimbursing for debt acquired in programs that were used to obtaining skills needed to fill KFG roles. One employee used the policy, one more plans to during the next year.

  • Implemented sabbatical policy to allow long-serving employees to relax and reset.

  • Updated the KF handbook to include comprehensive guides to all benefits to ensure employee understanding and use.

Next steps

  • Financial consultation benefit

Pro bono work

We began a pro bono work initiative in 2021 in hopes of addressing inequalities within the knowledge ecosystem. Our commitment continues in 2022 per our pro bono work policy (up to 10% of staff time, or no more than 200 hours annually).


  • Advance structural justice in publishing by partnering with groups that raise awareness of systemic biases and provide impactful solutions.

  • Offer support to underrepresented communities who may have limited resources yet contribute essential services to the knowledge economy.


  • 138 staff hours worked totaling ~$13,375 of billable hours/service.

  • Supported launch of C4DISC’s Antiracism Toolkit for Organizations. Currently working on Antiracism Toolkit for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; Inclusive Language and Image Guidelines for Scholarly Communications; and Toolkit for Disability Equity.1

  • Supported launch of Editorial Office News.2

Board recruiting policy

We implemented an initial policy to foster a diverse and multi-faceted board of directors as we believe such composition is a requirement for our board to be successful and effective.

Goals: Break outside existing professional network of current board and its biases towards a well-diversified board.


  • Published initial board policy in February 2022.

  • The initial policy was shared with current directors, where it met some resistance. The board was supportive of the intention, but thought the process of broadly soliciting recommendations was unrealistic and ignored the reality of close-connections being a common source of successful board candidates.

  • Since the policy’s publication, we have not yet added new board members.


We implemented a system of OKRs to provide a shared set of goals and definitions of success. We were intentional in integrating DEI accountability into the goals directing our action.

Goal: Set a structure and set of targets that keeps work accountable to DEI and professional goals for the team.


  • We wrote an initial set of goals. The process of writing the goals was productive and kicked off useful conversations about our purpose and shared vision.

  • The OKRs led us to build several DEI-related features into PubPub that may not have otherwise been prioritized (e.g. support for alt-text and RTL languages).

  • OKRs led to prioritization of pro-bono work from the content team.

  • Our fundraising was sourced from a diverse set of program officers, as targeted in one of our KRs.

  • We did not consistently track the progress of our OKRs over time. This has suggested to us that an alternative (potentially simpler) system may be needed.

In Process

Staff Survey

  • Feelings of inclusion — gabe and dawit

  • Staff demographics

  • Future directions

Ideas for Future Taskforces

Last Taskforce Open Items


  • Events Policy: need a better process for keeping track of panels we attend and host, and their diversity.


  • Special Interest Groups


  • Financial planning benefit


  • Improve understanding of applicant diversity by using more formal recruiting software/questionnaires for applications.

  • Implement pay transparency by establishing and publishing salary bands.

Staff Survey Results

Next Taskforce Playbook


To be effective, the next taskforce must have:

  • At least 4 people

  • Representation from every team — PubPub, Content, Underlay, Leadership (can overlap)

  • Taskforce should reflect team diversity (1+ non-cisgendered male, 1+ American racial minority, cannot be same person, 1+ non-racial minority (U.S.))


See process section above for notes on how the current taskforce operated. We are deliberately allowing the next taskforce to operate as they see fit, but recommend implementing parts of our process, as well as guidelines from the C4DISC Toolkits.

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