The Life of P.I. - Transitions to Independence in Academia
The data in this report summarises the responses gathered from 365 principle investigators of academic laboratories, who started their independent positions in the UK within the last 6 years up to 2018. We find that too many new investigators express frustration and poor optimism for the future. These data also reveal, that many of these individuals lack the support required to make a successful transition to independence and that simple measures could be put in place by both funders and universities in order to better support these early career researchers. We use these data to make both recommendations of good practice and for changes to policies that would make significant improvements to those currently finding independence challenging. We find that some new investigators face significant obstacles when building momentum and hiring a research team. In particular, access to PhD students. We also find some important areas such as starting salaries where significant gender differences persist, which cannot be explained by seniority. Our data also underlines the importance of support networks, within and outside the department, and the positive influence of good mentorship through this difficult career stage.
Where Do Our Graduates Go? A Toolkit for Retrospective and Ongoing Career Outcomes Data Collection for Biomedical PhD Students and Postdoctoral Scholars
Universities are at long last undertaking efforts to collect and disseminate information about student career outcomes, after decades of calls to action. Organizations such as Rescuing Biomedical Research and Future of Research brought this issue to the forefront of graduate education, and the second Future of Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Training conference (FOBGAPT2) featured the collection of career outcomes data in its final recommendations, published in this journal (Hitchcock et al., 2017). More recently, 26 institutions assembled as the Coalition for Next Generation Life Science, committing to ongoing collection and dissemination of career data for both graduate and postdoc alumni. A few individual institutions have shared snapshots of the data in peer-reviewed publications (Mathur et al., 2018; Silva, des Jarlais, Lindstaedt, Rotman, Watkins, 2016) and on websites. As more and more institutions take up this call to action, they will now be looking for tools, protocols, and best practices for ongoing career outcomes data collection, management, and dissemination. Here, we describe UCSF's experiences in conducting a retrospective study, and in institutionalizing a methodology for annual data collection and dissemination. We describe and share all tools we have developed, and we provide calculations of the time and resources required to accomplish both retrospective studies and annual updates. We also include broader recommendations for implementation at your own institutions, increasing the feasibility of this endeavor.
Tracking the Popularity and Outcomes of All BioRxiv Preprints
Though the popularity and practical benefits of preprints are driving policy changes at journals and funding organizations, there is little bibliometric data available to measure trends in their usage. This study collected and analyzed data on all preprints that were uploaded to bioRxiv.org in the past five years.
Gender and International Diversity Improves Equity in Peer Review
The acceptance rate for eLife manuscripts with male last authors was significantly higher than for female last authors, and this gender inequity was greatest when the team of reviewers was all male; mixed-gender gatekeeper teams lead to more equitable peer review outcomes.
Illuminating Women's Hidden Contribution to the Foundation of Theoretical Population Genetics
A study documenting acknowledgment sections and identified "acknowledged programmers" in Theoretical Population Biology articles published between 1970 and 1990. While only 7% of authors were women, 43% of acknowledged programmers were women.
High Cost of Bias: Diminishing Marginal Returns on NIH Grant Funding to Institutions
A study suggesting that implicit biases and social prestige mechanisms (e.g., the Matthew effect) have a powerful impact on where NIH grant dollars go and the net return on taxpayers investments. They support evidence-based changes in funding policy geared towards a more equitable, more diverse and more productive distribution of federal support for scientific research.
A simple proposal for the publication of journal citation distributions
Although the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is widely acknowledged to be a poor indicator of the quality of individual papers, it is used routinely to evaluate research and researchers. Here, we present a simple method for generating the citation distributions that underlie JIFs. Application of this straightforward protocol reveals the full extent of the skew of these distributions and the variation in citations received by published papers that is characteristic of all scientific journals. Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF. We propose that this methodology be adopted by all journals as a move to greater transparency, one that should help to refocus attention on individual pieces of work and counter the inappropriate usage of JIFs during the process of research assessment.
Edge Factors: Scientific Frontier Positions of Nations
The United States and South Korea have the highest tendencies for novel science. China has become a leader in favoring newer ideas when working with basic science ideas and research tools, but is still slow to adopt new clinical ideas. Many locations remain far behind the leaders in terms of their tendency to work with novel ideas.
Persistent Underrepresentation of Women's Science in High Profile Journals
Study found that 1) Women authors have been persistently underrepresented in high-profile journals, and 2) The percent of female first and last authors is negatively associated with a journal's impact factor.
Gender Balance in Time-Keeping at Life Science Conferences
Male speakers exceeded their allocated time more frequently than female speakers, especially at large conferences (73% vs 49%). Since conferences are an important arena for science dissemination this might have a negative impact on female scientist's careers.
A Simple Proposal for the Publication of Journal Citation Distributions
Although there are differences among journals across the spectrum of JIFs, the citation distributions overlap extensively, demonstrating that the citation performance of individual papers cannot be inferred from the JIF.