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Two | 2017

A selection of current news items for managers of Early Career Researchers.


Management matters

The risks in reviews. Two experienced external reviewers of academic programs say the review process can reinvigorate departments and fortify their cohesion and direction, but there are pitfalls to navigate.

Isolated case or common cause? A survey of UK university academics and administrators indicates quite widespread dissatisfaction with senior management, while a small cross-section of administrators highlight some specifics.

Better together. EU universities are following the US's lead in offering 'partner-career' support in a bid for competitive advantage in the market for new research staff.

Gender imbalance. Elsevier's analysis of Gender in the global research landscape spans nearly 20 years and 12 regions and countries, and suggests there's still too much leakage of women from the research pipe.

Mental health at stake? A thought-provoking piece flagging issues around the mental state of staff in academia, including likely causes and effects, and ways of tackling problems as individuals and institutions.

Impact-factor focus inhibits innovation. Research suggests reviewers should reverse an over-reliance on bibliometrics to encourage research that pushes boundaries.

Warts on the body of knowledge? A journal editor shares his thoughts on five 'diseases' affecting academic publishing strategies and practices.

A positive for negatives. A revised Integrity Code that mandates equal validity for negative results for the purposes of publication will apply to the EU's main research funding program, and could become a model for other agencies.

Managing research misconduct. Should governments use funding mechanisms to enforce scrutiny and transparency around universities' misconduct investigations?

The linchPIns of research. Quality and integrity start at the group level, says this article, and PIs need investment to support healthy groups.

Errors and integrity. The author of a recent study suggests researcher training and a poor understanding of the retraction process aren't helping researchers to 'do the right thing'.

Crowdsourcing collaboration. The creators of StudySwap profile its potential as a global service to connect research partners for replication studies and more.

Trust in industry-backed research. Studies indicate that research credibility suffers from industry involvement: what steps would reduce concerns and improve perceptions?

Issues in early career research

Early-career CV booster. Encouraging part-time consultancy work can give a valuable boost to the skills, experience and CVs of graduate students and postdocs, and amplify their career options.

Insights for supervisors. The Supervision Whisperers offers a platform for anyone responsible for 'higher degree by research' students to share strategies, practices and experiences.

A broader scope for PhD student training. The US Council of Graduate Schools' report on effective professional development for graduate students is STEM-focused, but its conclusions about addressing a "narrow emphasis [...] on preparation for academic research careers" have a much wider relevance.

Show faith in ECRs. Fast-tracking younger researchers into extended but fixed-term faculty positions could offer high-potential ECRs crucial early stability and help universities get the most, from the best.

ECRs' message to funders. A network of European scientists has offered its blueprint for the 'perfect' grant for early career researchers.

The risk of teaching-only roles. New research into teaching-only roles highlights their perceived low value, uncertainty about their requirements, and deficiencies in the career pathway.

The entrepreneurial university. A new study suggests universities should focus on creating awareness, skills and relationships geared to more entrepreneurial behaviour to give postdocs extra career options.

Handy References

Guidance on research authorship. The UK's Research Integrity Office has produced new best-practice material to support staff and student researcher development.

Navigate the impact measurement jungle. A pocket introduction to the most influential citation indicators, and their pros and cons.

Personal press

Ten types of toxic. When research seems to have an unfair share of difficult characters, clear boundaries are the key to keeping control.

Held back by success? A warning against getting too fixed on what worked well for us in past, and a 'mono-tone’ mindset.

It takes grit to quit. A reminder that quitting can also be 'courageous, smart and strategic'.

Develop the H.A.B.I.T. A handy acronym and a useful system for practising effective leadership skills.

Life as a leader. Prepare for some loneliness, vulnerability, people politics and more hard work - and an often painful application process to get you there.

Lessons in academic admin. A half-time administrator shares 4 stand-out 'messages-to-self' from two years in what he calls "staffulty".

PostdocTraining Update

Do your early career research staff or PhD students need help planning their careers, and tools to help put their plans into action? Ask us about our 1-day intensive career-planning workshop, ‘Take Charge of Your Career as a Researcher’:

This is what participants thought about one of our Take Charge of Your Career workshops earlier this year:

" I experienced the workshop as extremely helpful. There was a lot of focus on oneself with exercises. We learnt about concrete tools to help us take further steps achieving our goals. It was nice meeting peers in the same situation.”

" Very informative workshop, delivered at a crucial time (early in my post-doc) so that I can make the most of the knowledge gained. Excellently presented, good pace, opportunity for questions and feedback.”


We hope you find this brief news digest helpful.
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