How to give credit to scientists for their involvement in collecting, curating and publishing data & samples

Stemming from initial discussions by the Research Data Alliance Interest Group: Sharing Rewards and Credit, this session was developed to explore the problems and solutions around crediting scientists for sharing their data and other research outputs. Accordingly, we gathered together a group of experts to hear about their experiences in policy-making and metrics, and discuss some possible next steps.

How do we get young scientists to communicate science?

In the words of one of the 2017 PhD European Young Researcher Award winners, a scientist’s life often means “no fixed working hours, being switched on always, and yet getting paid only when you have a grant or a scholarship.” This opinion piece by Satyajit Rout from Editage, a science communication services company that supports researchers and institutions drive real-world scientific impact, delves into the challenges facing young scientists and suggests what could be done to change the status quo.

The Blame Game

Science fiction authors are a motley crew, which includes a small number of professional scientists but also many others with no particular background in science or technology. EuroScientist published a short story called The Blame Game by Ian McKinley, who is a scientist involved in the rather esoteric area of radioactive waste management. In this story, a number of experts caught up in the chaos resulting from sudden environmental collapse argue about the root cause. The bottom line is that that there are so many interacting factors that it’s impossible to disentangle them. McKinley chose fiction as a means to talk to non-specialists about radioactive waste. He sets out to debunks the myths around the topic which stem from films, novels and, increasingly, comics, manga and anime, to get readers to ask themselves key questions about the topic.

Spain, the European exception: ‘economic miracle’ & scientific suicide

Six years ago, the Spanish parliament approved Law 14/2011, known as the Science Law, aiming to modernise and harmonise different aspects of scientific activity in Spain, by a virtually unanimous vote. Today, Spanish scientists are still waiting for the law to be fully implemented; more than three and half years after the deadline for implementation has passed.

In this article, the 5s6s Platform, a grassroots movement of Spanish scientists, including about 400 tenured scientists working in OPIs, supported by another >1300 scientists working in different Spanish Universities and other research institutions, denounces this untenable situation and requests that the Government finally implements the law.

Nightmare on Academia Street: an English horror story coming to a campus near you

Any politician that dangles the carrot of a graduate premium on future earnings to justify increases in student fees, interest rates on loans, or adjusting student loan repayment thresholds, should be challenged for gross mis-selling. These are the findings of a recent report by the UK Intergenerational Foundation. In this opinion piece, the author of the report warns of the possible financial implications of postgraduate student loans for the future financial health of students and their career prospects. This phenomenon, particularly acute in the UK, could soon reach other countries in Europe, should they be tempted to follow suit.

One cultural shift away, towards fairer science

Technology-mediated interaction between geographically-distributed teams of scientists is about to happen on a much wider scale than before. And this trend is no longer limited to scientists from well-funded labs. It is now time for researchers to prepare for yet another shift in attitude when interacting with each other. They need to show greater willingness to give and share, encouraged by a new credit and reward system recognising the smallest contributions to science.