Christian, K., Johnstone, C., Larkins, J., Wright, W., & Doran, M. R. (2020). Survey of Australian STEMM Early Career Researchers: job insecurity and questionable research practices are major structural concerns. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.19.955328
Note: Highlights in bold below by me.
We sought to understand the pressures on Early Career Researchers (ECR) in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, & Medicine (STEMM) disciplines, collecting data from 658 ECRs working in Australia. Respondents indicated a “love of science”, but most also indicated an intention to leave their position. Decisions were primarily motivated by job insecurity (52%), while grievances included poor supervision (60%), bullying or harassment (34%), inequitable hiring practices (39%) and poor support for families (9.6%). A concerning rate of “questionable research practices” by colleagues (34.1% to 41.1%) was reported to have impacted ECR career advancement. Our study links recent reports that characterise the health of the research industry, providing direct insight from ECRs on job insecurity, workplace culture challenges, and the logical rise of questionable research practices. Internationally, nationally and institutionally the research community needs to improve job security (care for our people) and the quality of research data (our product).