The topic of equity, diversity and inclusion is a strong focus for all five of the journals published by The Company of Biologists. We have been scrutinising our own processes over the past couple of years to try to minimise the biases that exist in scholarly publishing – you can read more about the different ways in which we are tackling this issue in this editorial: https://journals.biologists.com/jcs/article/doi/10.1242/jcs.259829. But as a community journal, we also wanted to think more broadly about the issue and how we can contribute to a cell biology community that is equitable, diverse and inclusive. We realised that a great starting point was to ask the community to share their experiences of how equity, diversity and/or inclusion have shaped their journeys as cell biologists. We launched our essay series in September, inviting submissions on the theme of ‘Equity, diversity and inclusion in cell biology’.

We were delighted with the response and were honoured that so many people were willing to share their experiences. The essays cover an array of perspectives and include submissions from groups who are actively trying to address these issues themselves. Members of the Journal of Cell Science Editorial Advisory Board had a very difficult time choosing a single winning essay from the shortlist, so in the end, we chose three, each of which is published in this issue: “Biased in favour” by Swetha Gopalakrishnan, “Autism in science – ‘through the looking glass’ and the role of empathy in the equation” by Mariana De Niz, and “Uniting diversity to create a more inclusive academic environment” by Lucie Delemotte, Sarahi L. Garcia, Alejandro Rodríguez-Gijón, Erdinc Sezgin and Anniina Vihervaara. We all felt strongly, however, that all the shortlisted essays told compelling and important stories, so we will be publishing them as well in upcoming issues.

We hope you enjoy reading the essays as much as we did. We sincerely thank each and every entrant for sharing their experiences so generously.