We recognize that, through the content we publish, we can help to raise awareness about social and environmental issues among learners and researchers worldwide.
Education and research play a crucial role in opening people’s eyes to the world around them, supporting new thinking about sustainable development challenges and solutions, and, most importantly, inspiring action.
We want to harness the power of publishing to educate future generations, promote critical thinking and informed decision-making, and drive positive, long-lasting change.
Through the subject matter of many of our titles and content, we address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Raising awareness about the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Increasingly, we publish content specifically focused around the SDGs, helping to raise awareness about the initiative, the goals, and sustainable development more broadly.
- In Italy, we launched Kickstart, an ELT secondary-level course that encourages students to explore practical ways to achieve the SDGs through reading, listening, and video content. Topics covered include reducing plastic waste, being a better citizen, or considering careers as part of a more sustainable future.
- All About Us Now—published for Spain in 2022—is a primary series that raises awareness among a new generation of global citizens. It is the first course to collaborate with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to educate learners on the challenges faced by child refugees.
- Our ELT Graded Readers are matched to the SDGs, enabling English language learners to read about global issues and our responsibility to care for the planet through content in short text format.
- The Lidera Collection, a series of fiction books, aims to inspire young readers in Spain to become leaders of change. The collection is created from 100% recycled paper, using vegetable-based inks and highly controlled print runs. Two new titles were published in April 2022:
- Jeans: a story about pollution and labour exploitation in the textile industry.
- El león de las nieves (The Snow Lion): a story depicting the harsh conditions of albinos living in Tanzania. This title has been selected as a finalist for the Criticón Prize and is currently read by more than 1,000 students in Zaragoza.
- In South Africa, three Aweh! Readers were selected for the African Chapter of the United Nations’ SDG Book Club. The Book Club aims to encourage African children between the ages of 6 and 12 to interact with the 17 SDGs through a curated list of books published in Africa.
Increasing visibility of under-represented groups
By publishing content that promotes diversity and inclusion and represents a wide range of backgrounds, we can help to challenge existing biases and stereotypes, better reflect the communities we serve, and encourage greater understanding among individuals and communities to harness the strength of diversity.
- A newly published Read Write Inc. Phonics book, Dressing Up Day by A.M. Dassu, represents life within Muslim communities.
- Jodie Lancet-Grant’s latest title, The Marvellous Doctors for Magical Creatures, celebrates diversity in family units and aims to increase representation of the LGBTQ+ community in children’s books.
- The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis portrays the challenges of young women living under the current Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
- New choral music anthology, The Oxford Book of Choral Music by Black Composers, edited by the conductor, educator, and composer Marques L. A. Garrett, celebrates the contributions of black composers and aims to address a lack of representation of black musicians and composers in the choral canon throughout history.
- The Oxford Dictionary of African American English (ODAAE)—an ongoing project working alongside Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research—draws on real examples of African American speech and writing, spanning the history of African American English. Through these examples, it acknowledges the impact that African American writers, thinkers, and artists—as well as everyday African Americans—have had on the evolution of the US English lexicon and the English language overall.
- A new KS3 French course, Vif, aims to generate discussion around colonialism and explain why French is spoken in parts of the world other than France.
Our Academic Division published hundreds of titles in 2022-23 that increase the visibility of under-represented groups, including:
- Culturally Responsive School-Based Practices: Anisa Goforth and Andy Pham provide resources and share research to support the mental health and learning of diverse children and their families.
- Beyond Racial Capitalism: Co-operatives in the African Diaspora: Edited by Caroline Shenaz Hossein, Sharon D. Wright Austin, and Kevin Edmonds, the book highlights the Black diaspora's contributions to the co-operative sector and helps build a decolonial library of Black and feminist scholars in the field of political science and economics.
- Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson: Ashley Brown narrates the life of a figure who was critical to achieving breakthroughs in racial and gender equity in the United States.
- Trans Bodies, Trans Selves, written by and for the transgender community, provides authoritative information on a wide range of issues faced by transgender people.
- James Purdy: Life of a Contrarian Writer: Nominated as one of The New Yorker’s Best Books of 2022, Michael Snyder tells the story of a gay writer whose work featured themes on African Americans, Native Americans, and other under-represented groups within American society.
- Stars and Shadows: The Politics of Interracial Friendship from Jefferson to Obama: Saladin Ambar explores the significance of interracial friendships in American democracy.
Promoting environmental responsibility
Through the publication of content focused on the environment, we can help to raise awareness about the challenges our world faces and inspire thinking about solutions and action.
- As part of our Very Short Introduction for Curious Young Minds series, we published a new title, The Causes and Impact of Climate Change, to familiarize young readers with the subject and associated terminology.
- In China, we added to our series of non-fiction readers, Talk about China International, with a story about how China is addressing its own environmental problems and contributing ideas to tackling climate change worldwide.
- We publish impactful open access (OA) research on key topics relating to sustainability through both fully OA journals and hybrid titles:
- Our Oxford Open series: Oxford Open Energy, Oxford Open Climate Change, Oxford Open Infrastructure & Health, Oxford Open Materials Science, and Oxford Open Economics;
- ICES Journal of Marine Science;
- International Journal of Low Carbon Technologies.
- In October last year, timed to coincide with the COP27 climate summit, we published an editorial in the journal, Brain, on how nations must take action to support Africa and other vulnerable countries to address past, present, and future impacts of climate change.
- We are developing our international curriculum—which places an emphasis on wellbeing in education and independent learning—to cover how we can care for our planet and live more sustainably.
Improving our processes and policies
We are committed to publishing inclusive content, working with authors from diverse backgrounds, and improving the accessibility of our publishing. This means ensuring we have the right processes and guidelines in place to achieve this.
- In our Academic Division, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility (DEI&A) Steering Committee brings together a diverse group of colleagues to ensure that our published content and any future content acquisitions reflect our ongoing commitment to inclusion. Initiatives reviewed by the committee this past year include efforts to revise outdated and potentially offensive entries in our reference and researcher books, the creation of toolkits for editors, author guidelines, and an industry-wide project collecting DEI demographic data in Journals.
- Our ELT Division has created guidelines for Representing Disability, Representing Race and Ethnicity, and Representing Gender to inform and support content creation, as well as develop inclusive learning materials.
- We have supported History teachers in the UK to embed diversity and inclusion in the classroom by revisiting our UK Secondary titles and commissioning new publishing on a range of diverse histories. To ensure this content enriches the curriculum, we are working with a diverse group of authors, editors, and illustrators, as well as providing training for our colleagues and working with expert partners to inform our decision-making. For example, the new series of KS3 Depth Studies titles, such as British Empire, African Kingdoms, Fight for Rights, and Migration Nation, include research on how to teach these topics with sensitivity.
- In our Education Division, we introduced the Bring Your Voice to Primary Literacy Publishing initiative to attract authors from under-represented backgrounds to write for our Primary Literacy list. Following a webinar where 270 authors from marginalized backgrounds attended to learn more, we now have a pool of 60 new voices to draw on for the future. We are delighted to have already commissioned 15 of these authors.
- In consultation with representatives and members of Indigenous Peoples, we are examining language relating to Indigenous Peoples and Cultures in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US across our current monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, as well as in the historical OED. So far, the work has resulted in revising texts and informing policy guidelines for future work.
- In our Academic Journals, we now collect anonymized demographic data from authors using one of our main submission systems. Alongside other members of the Joint Commitment for Action on Inclusion and Diversity in Publishing, this data will be used to measure the success of reaching out to top authors in their field, regardless of gender, geography, or ethnicity.