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Citation for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Introduction

Helping students and faculty incorporate more diversity, equity, and inclusion into their research using Libraries resources

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.

What is it?

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.
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