Continuing coverage of the Postdocalypse

Image Image courtesy of Duncan Hall

Image courtesy of Duncan Hall [], found on Scholarly Kitchen

It seems like every time you blink, someone is posting another article about the Postdocalypse to Facebook or Twitter (this includes us :)). I can’t decide if I feel totally depressed or a little bit encouraged that at least the plight of postdocs is being heavily discussed (and maybe that will lead to positive change?). What are your thoughts?

Here are some more links to keep you up-to-date on what folks are saying:

Glut of postdoc researchers stirs quiet crisis in science – The Boston Globe.

The plight of postdocs has become a point of national discussion among senior scientists, as their struggles have come to be seen as symptoms of broader problems plaguing biomedical research. After years of rapid growth, federal funding abruptly leveled off and even contracted over the last decade, leaving a glut of postdocs vying for a limited number of faculty jobs. Paradoxically, as they’ve gotten stuck, the pursuit of research breakthroughs has also become reliant on them as a cheap source of labor for senior scientists.

The Changing Role of the Postdoc and Why Publishers Should Care – Scholarly Kitchen

When we talk about academics, we talk about students and we talk about faculty, but at almost all institutions, there is a group that sits in between these two, the long-suffering journeymen of academia, who do much of the actual work; the postdoctoral fellows. It occurred to me that as an industry, both publishers and librarians ought to be talking about postdocs a whole lot more. After all, it can be said that this overlooked group are responsible for creating and consuming a significant portion of, if not most published scholarly content.

An open letter to AAAS journal “Science”: Postdocs need to address the “The Future of Research” – The Winnower

We are of the opinion that there are many practices that need to change if the future of science is to be ensured. There is a clear need for good mentorship and a reduction in the reliance upon cheap labor in the form of highly-qualified trainees on short-term contracts with little-to-no employment benefits.

This publication was related to Future of Research, a postdoc-organized symposium “on the future of the scientific endeavor” that took place earlier this month in Boston (and was also mentioned in the Boston Globe article).

And you can visit this CiteULike tag (postdoc-hell) to find 60 more articles relevant to postdocs. The most recent is a September article from Nature Cell Biology titled, “Follow your interests: The importance of good mentors.”

After reading more about all of the great talks that happened at Future of Research and seeing how many motivated people are pushing for change, I think I’ll revise my earlier statement: I feel hopeful about the future. What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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