Fundraising, or grant capture, has become an increasingly established part of a career in the social sciences. Whereas, in the UK this process has become institutionalized, in other research systems grant capture remains less central. In this post Abel Polese reflects on his own experiences of academic fundraising and argues that for researchers seeking research funding, failure is relative […]
India’s retrospective review of PhD research quality is set to significantly change research practices
India’s University Grants Commission recently invited proposals to retrospectively assess the quality of PhD theses awarded by the country’s universities over the past 10 years. In this post Santosh C. Hulagabali, outlines the potential impacts of this review on Indian universities and scholars and highlights the role of this review in signaling the quality of Indian research.
In the […]
Academic review promotion and tenure documents promote a view of open access that is at odds with the wider academic community
A critical issue for advocates of Open Access (OA) has been the persistent lack of institutional incentives for academics to engage with Open Access publishing. Drawing on their research into Review, Promotion and Tenure documents, a team at the Scholarly Communications Lab, including Juan Pablo Alperin, Esteban Morales and Erin McKiernan argue that when these key documents for research […]
Book Review: Gender and Precarious Research Careers: A Comparative Analysis edited by Annalisa Murgia and Barbara Poggio
In Gender and Precarious Research Careers: A Comparative Analysis – available to download here open access – editors Annalisa Murgia and Barbara Poggio bring together contributors to offer an essential interrogation of the neoliberal restructuring of universities and the particular impact this has on women in the early stages of their research careers. This is a powerful account of the ways in which gender and precarity are intertwined […]
Societal impact has become the hallmark of high quality research, as is reflected in the decision to make impact worth 25% of REF 2021 assessments and the introduction of Research Missions into the Horizon Europe framework. However, the ability to produce societal impacts is often linked to career stage and job stability. Reporting on a survey of Early Career […]
A persistent problem for higher education policy has been how to ensure a steady supply of doctoral graduates equipped to deal with today’s global challenges. In this post Hugo Horta, Mattia Cattaneo and Michele Meoli examine the relationship between PhD funding and research productivity during PhD studies with time taken to complete a PhD and suggest that a key […]
Publishing and Perishing – Does a new generation of social scientists have to publish more to achieve less?
It is often anecdotally remarked that early career and PhD researchers have to publish their research more frequently and earlier in their careers than previous generations of academics, if they aim to secure a permanent academic job. In this post, Rob Warren lays out empirical evidence from the field of Sociology showing that this is indeed the case and highlights […]
The cost of academic travel is often covered with upfront payments by researchers that are subsequently reimbursed by their institutions. In this post Sarah Thomson argues, that in order to develop a culture of widening participation in higher education, it is time to rethink this practice and the tacit assumption, especially with regard to PhD researchers, that they have access to the […]
Some PhD students and early career academics feel that the demands placed on them are so intense that they can never devote time to ‘secondary’ activities. Research comes first and last, and the doctorate ‘grind’ is something that has to be ‘got out of the way’ before they can focus on anything else. In contrast, Hayley Teasdale argues that […]
Don’t let your academic career determine your every move – Should early career researchers be expected to relocate regularly in order to land a permanent job?
To secure a permanent academic position, it has become an increasingly common requirement for early career researchers to work in a number of institutions, often across a number of countries. In this post, Eva Krockow weighs the benefits of an international career against the costs of constant mobility and suggests that fostering more stable working environments will ultimately prove […]
How do early career researchers (ECRs) use Sci-Hub and why? In this post David Nicholas assesses early career researcher attitudes towards the journal pirating site, finding a strong preference for Sci-Hub amongst French ECRs. He raises the question, will Sci-Hub prove the ultimate disruptor and bring down the existing status quo in scholarly communications?
When we started the Harbingers Project […]
Invisible impact and insecure academics: structural barriers to engagement and why we should do it anyway
Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a form of research that involves prolonged and deep engagement with local communities and can produce profound social impacts. In this post, Dr Katrina Raynor describes how current approaches to impact assessment and the structure of the academic labour market impede researchers from engaging with PAR and raise particular challenges for insecurely employed early […]
Book Review: Taking Control of Writing Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End by Kay Guccione and Jerry Wellington
In Taking Control of Writing Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End, Kay Guccione and Jerry Wellington provide doctoral students nearing the end of their dissertations with a practical guide to taking charge of their thesis. Abha Rai strongly recommends the easy-to-read, conversational style of the book and its approach to real-world challenges to all doctoral students looking for writing support.
In this repost, Dr Liz Morrish responds to the recent guidelines issued for REF 2021. Highlighting potential unintended consequences and bad incentives, she argues that the ability of higher education institutions to enter staff into the REF who have been made redundant or removed from their positions, may lead to fewer opportunities and greater exploitation of already precariously employed academics.
57 days […]
Transdisciplinary PhD programmes produce more high-impact publications and foster increased collaborations
Traditional doctoral programmes require students to gain in-depth knowledge in one subject area. Transdisciplinary programmes aim to foster synthesis across disciplines and focus on translating research findings into real-world solutions, helping students to develop a professional disciplinary identity that is enhanced by multidisciplinary methods and theories. Anna-Sigrid Keck, Stephanie Sloane, Janet M. […]
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 […]
Disseminating your research does carry risks and can leave you vulnerable, but it is vital to developing the courage to use your voice
All researchers are now encouraged to disseminate their work beyond academia, particularly if they aim to foster engagement and have an impact. However, the immediate benefits of research dissemination are not always clear and, for early-career researchers in particular, the prospect of attracting criticism or even hostility can feel daunting. But to Marte C.W. Solheim, there is great value […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]