Please fill out and share the early career researcher Peer Review Survey to tell us about your peer review experiences

We are launching our #ECRPeerReview effort – focused on ensuring the recognition of peer review efforts by early career researchers. Please help us start by filling out, and sharing, this survey: https://tinyurl.com/ECRs-in-peer-review    Peer review is viewed as central to the evaluation of research, and in the case of peer review of manuscripts for journal publication, an activity that is seen as part of the service of a researcher. Graduate students, as those training in how to carry out research, should therefore clearly be participating in, and receiving training in, constructive peer review. Postdocs are researchers in a position of mentored independence – working on their own projects and research plans, and learning how to manage a research group from an independent principal investigator. As such, postdocs are already intellectually capable of being fully involved in the peer review process. But, how involved are these early career researchers (ECRs) in journal peer review? A recent survey in eLife, a journal publishing life sciences research, indicated that 92% of those surveyed had undertaken reviewing activities. But more than half, and 37% of graduate students, had done so without the assistance of their advisor:   This statistic may come as a surprise to some but, anecdotally, discussions with ECRs (particularly in the life sciences) point to a number of incidences of “ghostwriting” of peer review reports: that is, carrying out peer review of a manuscript, writing the report, and submitting it to a supervisor, who submits the report (or some version of it) under their own name, and without the name of the co-reviewer.   This led us to ask: just how often...
Contact your Senators to request they ask the NIH Director why the NIH continues to give grants to scientists found guilty of sexual harassment

Contact your Senators to request they ask the NIH Director why the NIH continues to give grants to scientists found guilty of sexual harassment

On Thursday, August 23, at 10 AM EDT the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) will hold a hearing entitled “Prioritizing Cures: Science and Stewardship at the National Institutes of Health”. The hearing will be webcast here. Last week Senate HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray sent a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, who will be testifying at the meeting, posing a number of questions about how NIH handles sexual harassment among funded investigators. They draw attention to the NIH’s role in this problem, ask for evidence of the NIH’s actions to date, and request policy change. Francis Collins, Hannah Valentine and Michael Lauer wrote a letter to Nature in 2016 about the need for policy changes.   We are asking you to join those who have a started a campaign to contact elected representatives on the HELP Committee. A graduate student at Yale, Sarah Smaga, has produced a call script for the HELP Committee Meeting including the names and telephone numbers of Senators on the committee which you can access here. The call asks for specific policies to ensure that those found guilty of sexual harassment are not able to receive NIH funding, enabling them to put more trainees and their careers at risk.   Two members of the committee are particularly focused on prospects of early career researchers: Susan Collins of Maine and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin led a bipartisan effort focused on trainees that resulted in the Next Generation Researchers Initiative at NIH being mandated under the 21st Century Cures Act. It seeks to improve prospects for early career researchers, paying attention to recommendations from a study at the...
Future of Research response to NIGMS RFI on postdoctoral transitions to diversify research faculty

Future of Research response to NIGMS RFI on postdoctoral transitions to diversify research faculty

  This RFI closes July 20th – please read below if you are still in time to comment – and comment here   The National Institute of General Medical Sciences recently issued a Request For Information (RFI) seeking input on strategies to enhance postdoctoral career transitions, with an aim to promoting faculty diversity. You can read more about it in this Blog post, “Give Input on Strategies to Enhance Postdoctoral Career Transitions to Promote Faculty Diversity”; you can find the full RFI here and comments are submitted here.   As described in the Request For Information:   “Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:   The barriers scientists from underrepresented groups face as they progress from postdoctoral training into faculty positions at research-intensive institutions, and potential strategies to overcome these barriers. The qualities and perspectives that scientists from underrepresented groups bring to the research enterprise, and how these can be drawn upon to encourage and promote career transitions into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions. Approaches key stakeholders (e.g., faculty advisors, institutions, scientific societies, etc.) can use to promote the successful career transitions of postdoctoral scientists from underrepresented groups into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions, and how these can be coordinated and sustained to maximize impact. Current strategies that have been successful in promoting the transition of postdoctoral scientists from underrepresented groups into independent, tenure-track faculty positions. Any other comments or recommendations for NIGMS to consider with respect to programs to enhance career transitions of postdoctoral scientists from diverse groups into the professoriate at research-intensive institutions.”   Below and here as a PDF on our press page you can...
In Defense of Science: the National Science Policy Network

In Defense of Science: the National Science Policy Network

In Defense of Science: The National Science Policy Network Is Helping the Next Generation of Civic Scientists and Engineers to Organize Nationwide Network Receives More than $100,000 in Grants for Local Work   See this op-ed in Scientific American.   From the National Science Policy Network:   The National Science Policy Network (NSPN) is excited to announce a major new effort to support early-career science policy groups nationwide. With the support of Schmidt Futures and other national partners, NSPN will significantly increase assistance to grassroots STEM groups advocating for greater engagement of the scientific community in policy and advocacy.   The political turmoil of the past year has catalyzed civic engagement amongst members of the scientific community. New data from a survey conducted by NSPN earlier this year shows that out of 22 science policy groups surveyed, 45% have launched within the past year and a half, and 60% of all groups operate on an annual budget of $1,200 or less.   To support the growing trend of civic scientists, NSPN is launching three programs focused on providing training and resources.   First, we are providing microgrants for early-career science policy groups, giving seed funding to support high-impact projects and facilitate the growth of smaller, underfunded groups. Second, we are collaborating with Research!America on the Bipartisan Candidate Engagement Initiative to raise awareness among candidates running for national office on the importance of scientific research. Third, we are hosting a fall symposium in NYC to bring together student science policy, advocacy, and communication groups from across the country.   All of this is available at a new website that also...
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report on sexual harassment in academia to be released June 12th

  From the National Academies site:   “The study scope will include the following:  Review of the research on the extent to which women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine are victimized by sexual harassment on college and university campuses, in research labs and field sites; at hospitals/medical centers; and in other academic environments; Examination of existing information on the extent to which sexual harassment in academia negatively impacts the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women pursuing scientific, engineering, technical, and medical careers, with comparative evidence drawn from other sectors, such as the military, government, and the private sector. Identification and analysis of policies, strategies and practices that have been the most successful in preventing and addressing sexual harassment in these settings. For purposes of this study, the definition of sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favors and other unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature, as well as those situations in which the work or study environment is made intimidating or offensive as a result of actions that are gender-based and that interfere with an individual’s academic or work performance, opportunities for advancement, and morale.   Report Release Event Public Report Release Event June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET Washington, DC To attend in person or via webcast: Webcast will be made live on this page on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 11:00 AM ET. How can academic institutions improve in the #MeToo era? Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on Tuesday June 12, 2018, 11 am – 12:30 pm ET, for the public release of...
Future of Research Statement on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Report, “The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through”

Future of Research Statement on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Report, “The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through”

Future of Research has issued a statement on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, “The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through. You can find the text of the statement below, and a downloadable PDF version of the statement here.   *****   Future of Research endorses the recommendations in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report, “The Next Generation of Biomedical and Behavioral Sciences Researchers: Breaking Through,” released on April 12, 2018. This report addresses the factors influencing transitions of trainees in biomedical and behavioral sciences into independent research careers. It offers recommendations to reform systemic issues that reduce the efficiency of these transitions, and thus affect the productivity and scientific discoveries of researchers in the United States. This report, mandated by Congress under the 21st Century Cures Act, was envisioned by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME).   Though the issues that plague the biomedical research system have long been discussed within the scientific community, the key stakeholders (such as federal agencies, private funders, and universities) have frequently abdicated their responsibility for the system. The “Breaking Through” report addresses this issue head-on. The report argues that greater transparency, accountability and shared responsibility are needed to improve the biomedical enterprise.   Many of these suggestions have been made before, and while some changes and interventions have been made, others have not been heeded and have not resolved a key issue: that this enterprise depends on a large amount of cheap, and mostly foreign, labor in the guise of training. We recognize that no stakeholder seems willing to take responsibility...