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    Postdocs trying to transition to non-academic careers should be offered more support by their supervisors and universities

Postdocs trying to transition to non-academic careers should be offered more support by their supervisors and universities

Despite the position being billed as a stepping stone on the way to tenure-track academic employment, many postdocs, discouraged by their poor prospects, are questioning their career choices and instead looking to non-academic jobs as an alternative. However, as Chris Hayter and Marla A. Parker reveal, making this transition is not as easy as it might first appear.

Why are […]

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Let’s focus on the research process, not the outputs

The outsized importance of publications has meant too many research students focus on featuring papers in prestigous journals, despite having success in doing so feeling like something of a lottery. To Mattias Björnmalm, a strong focus on the research output instead of the research process is detrimental to research itself. Research is about increasing our understanding of the world […]

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    Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Early-career researchers are subject to higher levels of scrutiny than ever before, with publication in academic journals essential to how they are funded and evaluated, and how their careers will be built. Margaret K. Merga, Shannon Mason and Julia E. Morris share insights from their own experiences of navigating the journal submission and publication process as ECRs, emphasising the […]

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    How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

Research funders impose length limits on applications for practical reasons: to discourage epic submissions, and to ease the burden on reviewers. It’s also true that concise ideas are generally stronger ideas. But sticking to these limits can often seem a difficult and frustrating task. Jonathan O’Donnell offers advice to researchers looking to find a little more space in their […]

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    Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success. Chris Smith reports on research investigating the tools and systems academics from all career stages use to keep writing and publishing. Age, experience, and having a sense of certainty about what sort of writing system suits you and your life are all important to productivity and overall […]

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    Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Most PhD students think of their doctorate as a lone undertaking. This may be why a high proportion leave graduate school without finishing, and has also been identified as a contributing factor to the mental health problems experienced by many PhD students. Julian Kirchherr argues that tackling the PhD as a team project would be more beneficial. The team […]

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    How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

PhD graduates make valuable contributions to society and its organisations. But what of the value of the doctorate to the graduates themselves? Kay Guccione and Billy Bryan questioned how graduates, as individuals, experience benefit from their doctorate and how they perceive its value. Findings reveal that graduates do consider their doctorate to have been worth it – in ways […]

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    It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

In debates on the validity of academic research findings, focus has been drawn to so-called questionable research practices, commonly understood to encompass a laundry list of behaviours that can increase the likelihood of statistically significant (and so more publishable) results. Anand Krishna and Sebastian M. Peter report on research examining attitudes to questionable research practices among students who have […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

In the second and final part of a series considering the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out why seeking advancement internally might be a more attractive option, again highlighting seven specific reasons. The series concludes with some more general tips for promotion applications, including how to harness your experience submitting to academic journals.

The […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Climbing the academic career ladder can be a slow, frustrating, and opaque process. Some academics may be unsure whether to seek promotion within their own institutions or to look to another university for advancement opportunities. In the first of a two-part series, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions. This first instalment outlines […]

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    Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Scientific research has changed, now being largely conducted in collaborative teams. However, undergraduate student training has not necessarily kept pace with these changes. In order to work effectively in collaborative settings, students need to develop not only the technical skills related to their discipline, but also communication and interpersonal skills needed to work in teams. Nora J. Casson reports […]

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    Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

In How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching, Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa aim to support fellow academic workers at all career stages to become more efficient, successful and happier through focusing on fostering good habits over and above talent or skills. Eddy Li welcomes this insider perspective on seeing, doing and – most importantly […]

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    Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Achieving tangible impacts on policy and practice is not easy. But it’s made even harder by starting with a pessimistic outlook. Much of the academic discourse around the interface of science, policy, and practice has become dominated by negative language such as the science-policy “gap”, or “challenges” and “barriers” that must be overcome. Chris Cvitanovic makes the case for […]

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    Despite becoming increasingly institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

Despite becoming increasingly institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

The active use of metrics in everyday research activities suggests academics have accepted them as standards of evaluation, that they are “thinking with indicators”. Yet when asked, many academics profess concern about the limitations of evaluative metrics and the extent of their use. Why is there such a discrepancy between principle and practices pertaining to metrics? Lai Ma suggests […]

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    So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers

So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers

One way for researchers to meet the growing requirement to demonstrate that their work has had an impact is by evidencing the degree to which it has influenced public policy. But for many early-career researchers, the practicalities of how to successfully influence policy processes can be elusive, a problem often compounded by job insecurity or by having reputation and […]

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    Playing the game: academics have bought into the competition and become complicit in their exploitation

Playing the game: academics have bought into the competition and become complicit in their exploitation

The managerialist logic that has permeated universities has had a clear impact on academic work. To Senia Kalfa, Adrian Wilkinson and Paul J. Gollan, academia has become like a game, with academics competing with each other for just a handful of permanent positions and focused completely on accumulating the capital (publications, grant income, etc.) needed to secure one. Rather […]

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    Making research evaluation processes in Europe more transparent

Making research evaluation processes in Europe more transparent

Researchers repeatedly cite career advancement as a key incentive for their practices and behaviours. This is critical to understanding the pace of change in scholarly communications, as those researchers inclined to innovate or experiment with new forms of research outputs, methodologies, or communication styles risk being penalised by the evaluation system used by many research institutions that are slow […]

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    Mental health risks in research training can no longer be ignored

Mental health risks in research training can no longer be ignored

Graduate research candidates are the powerhouse of research in universities, yet many have reported feelings of isolation, burnout, and career uncertainty. Karen Barry reports on a study of Australian research candidates which found that increasing numbers are suffering from heightened levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, often citing reasons related to academia’s general work processes, such as writing or […]

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    To save the research literature, get rid of the literature review

To save the research literature, get rid of the literature review

The literature review is a staple of the scholarly article. It allows authors to summarise previous work in the field and highlight what makes their own contribution an original or novel one. But when those previous studies are misrepresented by an author, or even dismissed altogether amid claims of a “paucity of research”, isn’t the knowledge base in fact […]

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