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Scientists are flawed, stressed, inspired, kind… we are human

This post was written by Alexia A., Hannah Dee, Karel Green, Alison Young and Yolanda Ohene from Scientists are Humans and Rebecca Kirk from PLOS 

Kindness matters, in life generally, but also in the research environment. This simple concept was behind the launch two years ago of the website Scientists Are Humans, with the aim to support scientists to move the research culture to be more kind; with the aim to change the game. We want to amplify even more voices on the site, including yours, so please get in touch to share your story (we are flexible about format and posts can be anonymous).

The website was one outcome of the Gamechangers for diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) event in London run at the Turing Institute. This two-day workshop initiated and fostered projects to support more diversity in STEM. The concept of Scientists Are Humans is that the challenges faced by minorities in STEM could be ameliorated with more understanding and more kindness. One of the ways we can build understanding is by telling our stories, and listening kindly when others tell their stories. 

So why is kindness so important? A look at the content of the website quickly makes it clear how it can make a huge difference. In the past two years the website published articles reporting from picket lines, about the BLM movement, on leaving academia, on struggling and completing PhDs, on being an ally, on mental health and on being brave – amongst many others. The variety of voices, and the clarity with which they speak has been inspiring, thought provoking and has humanized the science and scientists.

The importance of our manifesto for being more kind could not be more important as we all find our own ways to manage the particular challenges that we are facing at the moment. We all need to be more kind, and we will all benefit from a profession with kindness at its core.

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