Category: ECRchat

Book Review: How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities by Iain Hay

In How to be an Academic Superhero: Establishing and Sustaining a Successful Career in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Iain Hay offers a guide to how early-career academics can develop their careers while meeting the ever-growing expectations of universities. While the book does not overtly challenge the institutional demand for scholars to be “academic superheroes” and occasionally offers contradictory advice, Iván Farías […]

Is pursuing an academic career a form of “cruel optimism”?

What does the future hold for PhD graduates? Marie-Alix Thouaille has found that for many the post-PhD transition is characterised by exploitative, often unsustainable working conditions, emotional upheaval, financial worry, and poor wellbeing. Despite this most PhD graduates remain absolutely determined to forge an academic career, unwilling to even entertain the idea of working in another sector. This paradoxical condition […]

How to survive the cruel world of peer-reviewed funding applications

With government funding and industry support for research either static or falling, the grant funding environment has become increasingly competitive. Most funding goes to those in secure employment who have been in academia for some time, making the outlook particularly grim for early-career researchers. Jonathan O’Donnell sets out some practical advice for early-career researchers competing for grant funding; starting with […]

The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers. Findings reveal that many diverse factors, from funding status […]

What should ECRs and PhDers consider when choosing a conference? Purpose, cost, and motivation

For many early-career researchers and those studying for a PhD, settling on which conference(s) to attend can be a tough and fraught decision. So what is the most important thing to consider? Pat Thomson suggests three answers to this question, covering why you believe you should go to an event, whether it represents value for money, and whether or not […]

Writing a peer review is a structured process that can be learned and improved – 12 steps to follow

Peer review not only helps to maintain the quality and integrity of scientific literature but is also key to a researcher’s development. As well as offering opportunities to keep abreast of current research and hone critical analysis skills, writing a peer review can teach you how to spot common flaws in research papers and improve your own chances of being […]

A system that prioritises publications means early career researchers’ scholarly attitudes and behaviours remain conservative

Early career researchers (ECRs) are the largest community of researchers but despite this we know little about their scholarly attitudes and behaviours. Reporting the first-year findings of a longitudinal study of an international panel of ECRs, Dave Nicholas reveals that many remain conservative in their scholarly attitudes and practices. ECRs are concerned by “risky” open peer review, regard archiving their […]

Anarchy in the academy: why create an academic poster?

Conventional academic research communication is formulated in sentences and paragraphs, charts and graphs, chapters or papers. PhD students are required to do a lot of reading and writing; obsessing over chapter and thesis structure, often becoming lost in multi-clausal sentences. For Sarah Foxen, the academic poster is a form of knowledge communication which explodes the boundary walls of academic convention, […]