Hypercompetition, Preferential Hiring, and other Hurdles in Academia

On Wednesday February 12, 2020 DORA hosted a community interview with Chris Pickett, the Director of Rescuing Biomedical Research (RBR), a non-profit initiative dedicated to addressing systematic flaws in the United States (US) biomedical research system. In the interview, Pickett discussed hypercompetition, training grants, and why faculty search committees should look beyond funding records when selecting candidates for a job.

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Universities are adjusting review, promotion, and tenure expectations due to COVID-19

The emergence of COVID-19 has drastically upended the academic enterprise. Because of physical distancing, many non-tenured faculty members are facing additional, unexpected obstacles in their promotion and tenure trajectory. Transitioning classes to online learning environments will detract from research efforts, and winding down laboratory operations will result in a more direct reduction in research output. While trying to stay healthy themselves, many faculty members are also balancing job responsibilities with kids at home, adapting to telework, etc.

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Working with research institutions to implement DORA

The Wellcome Trust has published draft guidance for the research organisations we fund on implementation of the core principles of DORA.  It aims to help organisations develop and adopt meaningful changes to research assessment practices that instil the buy-in and trust of their staff, and to encourage them to be proactive in reporting their progress and sharing their learning.

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Rewarding robust and reproducible research: Experiences from the pilot phase of implementing research assessment reforms for hiring professors at BIH/Charité (MERIT-PROF)

In the fall of 2017, the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin introduced five additional items to the online application form for professorships. These new items are a) A narrative on the candidate’s overall scientific contributions, b) Statements on the impact of the candidate’s self-selected top 5 publications , c) A record of the candidate’s open science and reproducible research activities, d) Information on the candidate’s contribution to team science, e) Academic age. 

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The Myth of the Three-Legged Stool

New faculty members at most (if not all!) research universities are given the same spiel: “your success here, and eventual promotion and tenure, is built on a three-legged stool, with one leg being research, one being teaching, and one being service.”  And shortly thereafter, well-meaning mentors and department heads will tell the newbie, sotto voce, “do as little service as you can get away with, preferably none, and the bar you have to meet for teaching is just, don’t suck!”

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