Women's Leadership and COVID-19: Spotlight on Dr. Nandita Quaderi

Mar 30, 2021 10:00 AM ET
Summary: 

At Clarivate we value every voice. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting women’s leadership role in accelerating innovation to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In this interview, we speak with Dr. Nandita Quaderi, Editor-in-Chief and Editorial VP, the Web of Science™, Clarivate. Nandita has a PhD in Molecular Genetics from Imperial College (London) and spent time during her post-doctoral fellowship cloning a gene, MID1, which causes a rare birth defect called Opitz syndrome. Prior to Clarivate, she worked in editorial leadership roles at BMC and Nature Research.

How have Clarivate data and solutions been helpful in researching and understanding COVID-19?

In the digital era, the amount of information we are exposed to is enormous – this includes the rapidly expanding number of scholarly publications and published research articles. Researchers are suffering from information overload and need a place where they know the content has been rigorously assessed, can be trusted and is comprehensive and well-organized.

The global pandemic has really highlighted the need to differentiate expert opinion from the cacophony of unsubstantiated claims. It also calls attention to the importance of an authoritative, selective resource such as the Web of Science Core Collection™. Our responsibility for providing certainty and making the ‘right’ decisions is becoming ever greater.

Even though we have been fast-tracking evaluation and indexing of COVID-19 content, and publishers have been prioritizing the review and publication of this content, it can still take several months before a submitted manuscript is peer-reviewed, published and indexed in the Web of Science. We’ve seen an explosion of preprints as there is a need for speed, but with this comes the associated risk of content not being peer reviewed when it first becomes available to the world. Our published guidance for reviewing COVID-19 papers (both published articles and preprints) aims to support the research community in this critical task.

How have the events of the past year impacted your ways of working, including the pandemic, quarantines, shifts to remote work and/or other macro social and economic trends?

I head a global team spanning Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and New Zealand, so we are used to working remotely and juggling time zones. However, the pandemic has blurred the boundaries between work and downtime. As a team, we need to respect time zones and not think that just because everyone is at home it’s ok to schedule meetings at unsociable hours.

I feel fortunate to have a role that allows me to work from home and for a company that seamlessly executed a digital transformation to enable more than 8,000 global employees to successfully work from home.

Do you have advice for women and girls interested in entering your field?

I’m from a Bangladeshi background and at industry events I am often the only brown person in the room, or the only senior woman. I don’t think this is unusual, but neither should we accept it.

In all my roles I have worked to build environments where diversity, equality and gender parity are championed and valued. At Clarivate, I have been honored to facilitate insightful discussions for International Women’s Day, taking parts in events to encourage women in STEM. I am part of the Women@Clarivate group, an initiative to help women across our company grow in their careers.

“Much like innovation in technology or ensuring editorial quality, diversity is a topic on which we cannot afford to stand still.”

Do you see women’s leadership role in COVID-19 research and response as a springboard for a more equitable future and recovery post-pandemic?

A McKinsey report from July 2020 showed that the pandemic and its economic fallout are having a regressive effect on gender equality – and the research community is far from immune. There are anecdotal reports of large drops in manuscript submissions from women, so it’s important that we are able to measure the effect of this over the coming months.

We all need to do our part so that in years to come, when a woman wins a Nobel Prize for chemistry, physics or medicine, the only thing to be celebrated is her achievement as a scientist. The fact that she’s a woman should be irrelevant.

Striving for women’s equality in the workplace is a matter of good business sense, not just fairness. So often, even in companies where there is a good representation of women overall, the proportion of women at the highest levels is, sadly, still low. However, there is an established body of data – for example the McKinsey reports on diversity from 2015 and 2018 – showing a clear correlation between higher levels of female representation at board level and above-average financial performance.

As Editor-in-Chief and Editorial VP of the Web of Science, I’m proud to head a team in which 80% of the leadership roles are held by women. Together we can choose to challenge and take action to create a more inclusive world.

Learn more about the Clarivate commitment to sustainability.