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Diversity in Large Scientific Collaborations

25 Mar 2015, 14:30 UTC
Diversity in Large Scientific Collaborations
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Large scientific collaborations or teams are becoming more common in astronomy and present particular opportunities and challenges for diversity. They have been the norm in some areas of physics, such as particle physics, for years and can be as large as 1000's of members. Sizes in astronomy are more typically 100's, although larger teams are on the horizon.The special attributes of a large collaboration that can affect diversity include election or appointment of collaborations leaders, organization of sub-teams, collaboration meetings with large numbers of attendees, papers with large numbers of authors, and presentations at conferences decided by committees. In the context of the Committee for the Status of Women in Astronomy, I will concentrate here on issues for women. I was motivated to write this piece by an excellent discussion of such diversity issues at a recent LIGO-Virgo collaboration meeting.Even if the fraction of women in a collaboration is not much different from the fraction in astronomy / astrophysics in general, the representation in leadership positions is often lower. This can be due to the female fraction being younger on average than the more senior members who are largely male. Another factor can be the way the positions are chosen, ...

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