A gender scholar’s visit to ESOF 2018: she came, she saw, she ranted

In this theory-informed auto-ethnographic account, I relate my experience of participating in the EuroScience Open Forum Conference 2018 (ESOF). Gender equality was certainly on the agenda at ESOF, however, I argue that the manner in which gender equality was addressed at the conference is not only problematic but potentially counter-productive to the intended purpose of promoting women in research careers. If we keep 1) essentialising a presumed lack of confidence to women, 2) omitting men’s role in the reproduction of gender hierarchies in research from equality discussions, and 3) excluding gender scholars’ expertise from gender equality debates, I fear that women’s equal participation in academic research and leadership will remain a distant prospect in the future still.

Can ethics training improve the quality of research?

Critiques are increasingly challenging the way research is being performed. Recent scandals revealing scientific fraud have made media headlines. Meanwhile, some are challenging the established ways of measuring research. It appears that research integrity is not sufficiently ingrained in the current practice of science. So much so, that it sometimes appear like an unattainable goal. To remedy this problem, some believe that part of the solution lies in making research integrity training compulsory, even though it is far from being a magic bullet.

Why do self-made women rely on mentors?

The title of this article may sound like a self-help book. Yet, mentoring takes place spontaneously as part of the scientific process. Indeed, the concept of mentoring is as old as science itself as mentoring plays a very important role in the hierarchic scientific system. There, scientists are recommended by reputation. Yet evaluation procedures designed to be neutral are sometimes still overshadowed by the influence of the so-called “old boys’ networks”. So what needs to happen?

Online reputation: necessary, but not sufficient

Social connections, of course, are a key part of being a researcher—all the more so as science becomes increasingly collaborative. Much of scientific success—in both intellectual and career terms—is down to finding the right mentors and collaborators. Networks are a resource as much as any other. So how important to academic success is cultivating your profile online?