Bringing “disciplinary diversity” to Western-dominated research

Creation of the special issue

As valuable as that effort was, the process that brought this special issue to fruition was difficult, Douglass said. It was a wake-up call for her.

“There are so many disparities in science in terms of research support, research funding, the history of who has conducted the research and, therefore, who has been trained and given the opportunity to develop skills as principal investigators and principal authors,” she said. noted.

It was a big undertaking for Douglass, Godfrey and David Burney of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, who was the third co-editor.

“To support all these young scholars, the co-editors had to take extra steps that you might not normally take,” Douglass said.

Two Malagasy researchers, Estelle Razanatsoa, ​​postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; and Ny Riavo Voarintsoa, ​​assistant professor at the University of Houston, were also senior authors of the special issue articles.

“I saw the special issue as an opportunity to receive direct mentorship and network with experts (the editors) in the field of paleoscience working in Madagascar whom I have always admired since I started doing my PhD. . in paleoecology,” Razanatsoa said. “As an early career researcher, the mentorship I had received from the editors (Kristina Douglass) was crucial in understanding the peer review process.”

“I have personally made new friends and developed my academic network. This is what I appreciated the most in my experience during this period,” said Voarintsoa. “This is also the first article by a solo author that I have published, which received very minor revisions from the reviewer, so I am proud to have achieved this independence.”

Both Razanatsoa and Voarintsoa said the journal is a great way to expand the reach of science to and for Indigenous peoples.

“The main advantage of ‘Malagasy Nature’ is that it is open access and there are no article processing fees. Therefore, it is 100% accessible to people in low-income countries, as there is no barrier in the cost of publication, and the articles published are fully accessible to everyone in the world,” Voarintsoa said. .

“In light of the current socio-ecological challenges related to biodiversity loss and climate change, scientists need to be able to collaborate and provide applied science to policy makers and stakeholders,” Razanatsoa said. “One way to do this would be to value and support local and indigenous researchers who understand and have direct connections to local issues and challenges.

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