From The Scientist:
A lack of jobs leaves postdocs without a future in academia in the United States. Meanwhile, other challenges threaten the postdoc community abroad.
Postdoctoral fellows play a critical role in the research productivity of any country. Currently, the United States has a relatively strong postdoc infrastructure, offering higher salaries and more benefits than most other countries. Postdocs also have support from the National Postdoctoral Association (NPA) and postdoc offices in most American universities. However, limited growth in federal research funding during the last decade has made it increasingly hard for postdocs to find permanent jobs. The limited funding has also created a highly competitive environment for those who do find positions as principal investigators (PIs). Under constant pressure to produce high-impact papers and secure large grants, many PIs no longer invest adequate time and attention in the development of their postdocs, treating them instead as a skilled labor force.
Conversely, research and development (R&D) funds have increased nearly tenfold in China over that same period, and the number of postdocs has risen with it. But postdoc salaries and benefits remain low. …
Various reforms are suggested.
Recent trends in the U.S. and China are keeping postdocs undervalued and unemployed. This ultimately will drive bright minds away from research, and limit or cease altogether our advancements in science. My coauthors and I believe that acting on these recommendations will help to raise standards for the global postdoc community and the scientific community as a whole. More.
This situation may shed light on the much discussed peer review problem. Jobless, impoverished, and/or indebted obscurity tests our honesty more than we would care to admit.
See also: Should science papers be anonymous? The problem with safeguards that don’t work is not just that they don’t work. Rather, they can work against the aims of the process.
Triple blind review process? Even possible?
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