Science for Progress

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35 Why Academia Fails – with Bart and Dennis

The main topic for this episode is Why Academia Fails… or better, what we may learn from the book “Why Nations Fail” (Acemoglu & Robinson) about the shortcomings of academia. But before we get to it, we will talk briefly about what happened over the last month – most importantly, I will give you my report on the Global Climate Strike as I experienced it in Lisbon, on September 27th.
This episode is special, in the sense that we decided to make it a 2-Part episode. In this first part we basically set up the background information, and in the November talk episode, we will have a proper, structured discussion.

And you have the chance to contribute! If you have read the book “How Nations Fail”, or are for other reasons familiar with the concepts of extracting and inclusive institutions, give us your feedback on how this could be applied to academia!

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

33 Mandatory Open Access & E****ier – with Bart & Dennis

Photo by Miriam Berger and Bart Geurten

We are back from the summer break! So, we resume the “Bart and Dennis” Talk format!

Bart and I briefly talk about Bart’s research, because he just published an article! And it appeared in a journal that is actually quite good, but it is pay-walled and published by Elsevier.

We then talk about the upcoming Open Science mandate that cOAlition S is trying to establish in Europe. cOAlition S includes some of the biggest funding agencies in Europe, like the Wellcome Trust and the European Research Council. Yet, a lot of scientists seem to still be blissfully unaware.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

32 Harassment — Speak Up in Academia — with Alice Hertzog

That sexual harassment, bullying, but also academic misconduct such as advisers plagiarizing their student’s work, happen in academia has never been a big secret. Rumors and scandals over the mistreatment of students, grad students, postdocs, and so on, have been accompanying my whole career. So called ‘whisper networks’ warn each other to stay away from certain professors.

And, where power differentials between members of a community are so large, abuse of power is probably not completely preventable.

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27 Precarious Postdocs. A Future for Research? – with Gary McDowell

Postdocs are, besides graduate students, the main workforce in academic research. Following the PhD, the postdoc position is the only way to follow a research career within academia. Many PhDs around the world are advised to go to the USA for a postdoc – or two – because it is known for its large research output and high quality research institutes. Around two thirds of postdocs in the USA are foreign born.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

20 B&D: 1st Anniversary! Podcasts, and Trusting Scientists

This episode of Bart and Dennis Talk is actually our first anniversary episode! While Science for Progress was founded in July 2017, the podcast went online on February 20th 2018!

Announcement

At the beginning of the episode I announce that I will be on the Twitter “rotating curation account” @RecovingAcad, which belongs to the Recovering Academic Podcast. We had a crossover episode with them, last November. I will be tweeting about leaving academia and transitioning into industry from February 25th to March 2nd.

On March 3rd I will do a live video AMA on the account @theaddictivebrain on Instagram. Addictive Brain is a science communication project that was initiated by Chinmaya Sadangi, who was curator on our twitter rotating curation account @sfprocur. My AMA on Instagram starts at 3 p.m. UTC and will take about an hour.

Anniversary!

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

19 Insecurity and Uncertainties for Early Career Academics – with Maria Pinto

Academics are Spoiled. Right?

The stereotype of academics is that they live a well protected life in the ivory tower. But this is not the case for most of them. Maria Pinto from Portugal is a PhD student in marine microbiology in Austria. With the final stages of her work approaching, Maria is beginning to think about the future.

Forgoing Salaries, Benefits, and Life Planning Security in your Late 20s to 40s.

We talk about the many uncertainties in academia, particularly for early career researchers. In general the salaries are not good, but in poorer countries, where the salaries are particularly low and may not even include social security, there is also an expectation of students to pay field work trips themselves. In general, traveling in order to present your work at conferences is important to researchers and their careers, but for many, this is not affordable.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

13 Is there Sunshine Outside the Ivory Tower? – The Recovering Academic Podcast

While the number of PhD graduates per year is rising worldwide, the number of proper long-term or permanent positions in academia isn’t. This leaves PhDs with ever decreasing chances of staying in academia. And it means that increasing numbers PhDs stay postdocs for a decade or longer, only to have to leave after all.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

9: The Journal Impact Factor: how (not) to evaluate researchers – with Björn Brembs

What is the Journal Impact Factor?

The Journal Impact Factor is widely used as a tool to evaluate studies, and researchers. It supposedly measures the quality of a journal by scoring how many citations an average article in this journal achieves. Committees making hiring and funding decisions use the ‘JIF’ as an approximation for the quality of the work a researcher has published, and in extension as an approximation for the capabilities of an applicant.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

#7: Funding Adviser: career at the Interface of Science – with Cristina Oliveira

Most academics won’t stay in academia… or let’s say, not every PhD will land a permanent position as a researcher. With the increasing numbers of PhDs this situation is becoming more serious. In this context, we want to interview people who work in so called ‘alternative careers’. Some of these careers are still related to academia. We hope these interviews will be of interest to people in general, since they may learn something more about how academia works. For PhDs who may not stay researchers, it should be interesting to know what kinds of careers they can have beyond the ivory tower.

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about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

#5: Mental Health during your PhD – with Lauriane Nallet

Working on your PhD is a stressful phase, and the academic culture isn’t making it better. In this episode I talk to Lauriane Nallet, who is a PhD student in Switzerland. She has a personal history with depression and even PTSD. Lauriane shares what she learned at a workshop on mental health issues in grad school, and also her own experience with mental health issues: symptoms to look out for, how she found help, and what therapy could do for her. We also talk about some aspects of academia that contribute to the stress, including high expectations for work load and ‘passion’, and the ‘publish or perish’ culture.

Visit Lauriane’s blog!

clarifying comment

We mention an article claiming a 6x increased prevalence of depression in graduate students. The article is being criticized for methodological confines. However, another study which was conducted using methods with fewer confines, still finds a 2.8x higher prevalence for depression in PhD students when compared to highly educated workers.

about Dennis Eckmeier

Dennis founded Science for Progress. He received a PhD in neuroscience in 2010 in Germany. Until 2018 he worked as a postdoc in the USA, and Portugal. In 2017 he co-organized the March for Science in Lisbon, Portugal. Dennis is currently a freelancer.

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