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​Two | 2018

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


Management matters

Teaching and promotion. Balancing teaching commitments and research can look impossible to early career academics, but more institutions are re-shaping career frameworks to reward the teaching component.

​Credit for sharing. A report from the US's National Academies says the progress of 'open science' will depend in large part on universities and funders changing their promotion and reward systems.

​A question of access. With research funders like the Wellcome and Gates foundations, and the European Commission, setting up their own platforms, 'open access' academic publishing is entering new territory: what are the implications?

​Remodelling research assessment. The US-based group behind the Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) launched a 2-year plan (from June 2018) to reform the way research quality is determined for the purposes of hiring, promotion and funding.

Of Mice and Metrics... A writer and independent academic muses on the tension between work-smart 'academic capitalism' at universities and the values of 'slow scholarship'.

​Mental health issues profiled. A handy round-up on recent developments linked to protecting the mental health of researchers, to mark the occasion of a special EuroScience workshop.

​Incentivising quality. Could a system of random audits reduce the pressure to produce ever-higher numbers of papers, and improve research practices and quality?

Portable papers. The budding Manuscript Exchange Common Approach could streamline repeat manuscript submissions, but there are challenges with portability of reviews and author control.

Issues in early career research

Success breeds success. A Dutch study has confirmed there is a substantial advantage gained by researchers who win a grant early in their career, both in competing for further funds and securing tenure, and suggested why this might be so.

​Back to the (postdoc) future. A US National Academies (NASEM) study has concluded the problem of extended postdoc 'holding patterns' is only getting worse, and offers fresh ideas and impetus for taking action on career services for ECRs.

​Plotting projects. Much of the help available to ECRs focuses on funding applications, but what about support for testing ideas, building a research plan and crafting potentially viable research projects?

​Rules of the game for the research track. While the search continues for something fairer than the Journal Impact Factor to evaluate research, emerging researchers need to be clear about what counts and how to play to their strengths.

​ECRs ringing the changes. Three years' study of ECR attitudes and behaviour suggest big changes are underway and in prospect for research, with desire for greater collaboration a notable feature.

​Fostering research talent… The League of European Research Universities (LERU) 2018 position paper on research careers sets out recommendations for developing researchers and improving the attractiveness of research-based pathways.

​… and postdocs in the spotlight. Specific commentary from the head of LERU’s Doctoral Studies Policy Group on the skills postdocs should develop to be effective leaders of research, and the support they need to achieve this.

​Better teachers, better researchers. A 2018 study has suggested training PhD students to teach might improve their prospects in research careers, too.

Connecting PhDs. Grad student meet-up groups for writing can be the catalyst for practical, supportive 'communities' that go well beyond productivity into network-building and peer mentoring.

​Preparing PhDs for life. The Australian Council of Graduate Research and Australian Industry Group has released guides presenting practical advice and examples of how to connect graduate research candidates with industry through internships and other forms of research engagement.

Personal press

The ‘right to disconnect’. This example of an email policy created for a dean's office is a model with potential benefits for many.

​Managing volunteering. Women are more likely to take on tasks that don't help advance their careers, says a new study, with potentially adverse consequences for them and their organisations.

​Networking nuggets. Informational interviews are a central plank in creating helpful connections and an extremely effective way of generating career opportunities for anyone - but they have to be done right.

​Fight right. A professor all too familiar with personal conflict explains how to choose when to draw a line and tackle conflict, but preferably without fighting battles.

​Finding your fit. A thoughtful take on the distinction between 'fitting in' and 'belonging', and why it's the latter that matters to doing what we find meaningful.

​Serious research

​Abstract art. If you’re still reading too many meandering abstracts, some light relief: one short and sharp, and a nugget from 1974.

PostdocTraining Update

​Are you looking to explore something new in career training for your PhD candidates or postdoctoral staff?

We offer trial packages for our Career Control for Researchers program (dates for 2019 just released) and Postdoc Career Success course that are quick, easy and cost-effective to implement.

If you want practical training for your Early Career Researchers combined with data to determine the benefits of providing further support for career planning, strategy and career skills, contact us about running a pilot.


We hope you find this brief news digest helpful.
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