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?
A group representing various research centres in Portugal met, on 27th July 2015, the recently appointed president of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Maria Arménia Carrondo. This was a plea to reverse the latest round of budget cuts to research centres. Unfortunately, the meeting did not produce positive results. Meanwhile, a report by an international panel that evaluated FCT’s policy and functioning in quite a eulogistic manner, also failed to address this issue of budget cuts in detail. So what needs to happen?
The debate about reproducibility studies is becoming more and more high-profile. The open data movement is helping science become more reproducible but there is still scant reward – academic or financial – for scientists who try to reproduce published science. Reproducibility studies, and increasingly post-publication peer-review, are at the heart of scientific research and such work should be counted as a positive factor in academic evaluations. Here we find out how that could work.
With replication issues pervading neuroscience and psychology, journals in these fields aim to change the incentive structure of academic publishing. Under what they have dubbed 'pre-registration', editors expect scientists to register a detailed methodology before conducting their study. This approach, designed to remove biases and encourage replication, has since been adopted by journals that span the life and social sciences. But fray not, pre-registration leaves room for exploratory science.
As it nears its tenth anniversary, the European Charter for Researcher has failed to be fully implemented across Europe. This disappointing state of affairs shows that there are still many ways in which the status of researchers in Europe can be improved. Yet, future improvements hinge on such documents having more binding power in the future.
The inadequacy of childcare policies across Europe, means that scientists who do not wish to be away from their lab for too long are struggling to balance their life as parents and as researchers. There are still some significant decisions concerning harmonisation of such childcare provision to be made in Europe, while further policy support would be welcome.
Print edition of EuroScientist special issue Looking East, focusing on Eastern European research and innovation.
Maciej Żylicz is an outstanding Polish molecular biologist with an international career, currently based at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. He is also president of the Foundation for Polish Science, which is a non-profit funding agency, which is the largest source of science funding in Poland outside of the state budget. In an exclusive podcast interview to EuroScientist, he shares his views on the future of Polish science policy.
The global professionalisation of science was initiated in the 20th century. It has resulted in the creation of the largest scientific community, the most widespread research facilities and in the widest dissemination of scientific knowledge to date. This may, at first sight, appear to be very positive news for science. Yet, the academic population grew extraordinary fast, in the past forty years.
As waves of researchers’ protest are about to invade the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid, among others, there is a clear sense of déjà vu in these white coats with large signs walking the avenues of European capitals. What is new, however, is that these protests on longer follow a logic of being centred around national territories. They have become supra-national and aim to target the central power in Brussels as much as national governments.
The next meeting of the scientific council of the European Research Council (ERC) takes place – for the first time – in Zagreb, Croatia, this month (20-22 October 2014). Mićo Tatalović recently spoke to Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, who took over as president of the ERC in January, about what the ERC can do to improve research in East Europe.
Pablo Echenique-Robba stared his political career back in January 2014. Until then, his day job was to work as a physicist for the public research agency CSIC, working, among others of the issue of proteins folding. He is involved in a citizen democracy movement, called Podemos. Echenique shares his view on science in Spain and in Europe in an exclusive interview to EuroScientist.