StDo you picture when you think of academics, professors and researchers? Crumpled clothes with elbow marks, a burning desire to discover the mysteries of the universe, along with a certain detachment from the practical concerns of everyday life?
The reality is different around the world, but it’s the practicalities that researchers are most concerned about. Early and mid-career, their work has less to do with pushing the boundaries of knowledge than they’d like. Instead, they try to make themselves desirable, hoping to land one of the coveted positions. The problem is that extreme market competition and inadequate selection procedures make the scientific community blind to research practices and may promote scientific misconduct.
Conditions for researchers are remarkably poor compared to other sectors that have managed to guarantee good rights for workers without hampering their work or stagnating innovation. In academia, positions are reserved for senior leaders, and early and mid-career staff are often employed on fixed-term contracts.
In fact, many PhD students are employed only part-time, if at all. They are often expected to spend their time doing things other than what they are being paid to do. Many also have to complete their dissertations on unemployment benefits. For postdocs, getting a part-time position or going on parental leave can be a lifesaver to extend their contract. Still others do not have access to such conditions and face even greater difficulties on the rocky road to employment.
At the same time, to get those few permanent positions, you have to stand out. The best way to achieve this is to publish as many articles as possible. But, in this hyper-competitive environment, what researchers must do to increase the volume of their publications is often at odds with good research practice and may even jeopardize research progress.
thinking about “wasting time”
Researchers must carefully repeat their experiments to test their robustness. However, if they find out they were wrong, it could cost them the publication. So instead of comparing their previous work, they conduct new research to establish other publications.
Source: Le Monde