NEW resource: Tracking career outcomes of PhDs and postdocs at institutions

NEW resource: Tracking career outcomes of PhDs and postdocs at institutions

  For decades, institutions have been asked in various reports to track and report out on their PhD and postdoc alumnae career outcomes. A number of recent efforts by a variety of stakeholders in the last year suggest that 2018 may be the year when this comes to pass, and we are keeping track of all the efforts and which institutions have released data in our new Tracking Career Outcomes at Institutions resource.   As stated in a Policy Forum by ten University Presidents in Science, “A new data effort to inform career choices in biomedicine,”:   “The biomedical research enterprise finds itself in a moment of intense self-reflection, with science leaders, professional organizations, and funders all working to enhance their support for the next generation of biomedical scientists. One focus of their attention has been the lack of robust and publicly available information on education and training outcomes. In the absence of such information, students are prevented from making informed choices about their pre- and postdoctoral training activities, and universities from preparing trainees for a full range of careers.   The piece points out that reports that have asked for this data have included: Sustaining Discovery in Biological and Medical Sciences: A Framework for Discussion (FASEB, 2015); The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2014); Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 2005); and Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers (National Academies Press, Washington, DC, 1995).   Greater transparency could allow junior researchers to act more rationally, or prepare in a more informed manner, their...
What a pilot course taught us about biomedical research data management practices

What a pilot course taught us about biomedical research data management practices

  This is a guest post by Adriana Bankston, who participated in the pilot phase of this course along with fellow Future of Research board member, Calvin Ho.   Training in research data management is critical for early career scientists. Proper data management is a responsible research practice that can facilitate collaboration and ensure that research outputs are properly generated, stored and made available for future use. In addition, it allows for discussions on measuring the scholarly influence and impact of such data, which is critical for the scientific training and career progression of early career scientists. Finally, this type of course is also valuable to organizations who rely on evidence-based resources to effect change in the scientific enterprise, including Future of Research (FoR).   In fall 2017, Elaine Martin, DA and Julie Goldman, MLIS, from The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, led the pilot phase of the Best Practices for Biomedical Research Data Management Massive Open Online Course supported by the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Initiative for Resource Development. The pilot phase of the course consisted in nine online modules (approximately 20 hours of content) focused on specific components of data management best practices. Module topics included the research data lifecycle, metadata, data access, curation, long-term storage and preservation, as well as data ownership and related institutional policies. It also discussed open access and open data sharing, measuring the impact of research data, and the role of librarians in working with researchers to facilitate their data management needs.   While specific aspects of the pilot phase of the course are...
FoR Statement on the “Coalition for Next Generation Life Science”

FoR Statement on the “Coalition for Next Generation Life Science”

You can find a PDF copy of the statement below here.   Information on the biomedical labor market is necessary both for the formulation of policies that ensure its sustainable future as well as for informing individual career decisions.   Despite repeated calls (beginning at least as early as 1969) information on the career outcomes of life sciences graduate students and postdocs has remained poor or altogether unavailable. This has recently been discussed in an effort coordinated by Rescuing Biomedical Research and spearheaded by existing efforts to track career outcomes of PhDs, particularly NIH’s BEST Consortium. These efforts are currently focused on graduate programs and PhD outcomes, and do not currently encompass data collection on postdocs.   Today’s announcement in Science that a coalition of universities pledges to release information on all of their biomedical graduate students AND postdocs represents an unprecedented watershed moment. Previous efforts have been driven by prominent advisory committees, individuals, or other groups, but in this case, strong leadership is coming from within universities themselves.   The information to be released includes:   Admissions and matriculation data of Ph.D. students Median time to degree and completion data for Ph.D. programs Demographics of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars by gender, underrepresented minority status, and citizenship Median time in postdoctoral status at the institution Career outcomes for Ph.D. and postdoctoral alumni, classified by job sector and career type   FoR congratulates UCSF, Johns Hopkins, University of Wisconsin, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland, Cornell University, Duke University, MIT, and University of Michigan. for leading this movement. We urge other universities to join...
Investigating Postdoc Salaries: University of Michigan

Investigating Postdoc Salaries: University of Michigan

  There is very little information available on how much postdocs are actually paid in the U.S., beyond data on institutional salary policies gathered by the National Postdoctoral Association. Following on from recent discussions about postdoc salaries changing as a result of proposed updates to U.S. Federal labor law, we have gathered data from a selection of institutions through Freedom of Information Requests, asking only for titles and salaries of postdocs, to see if we can identify actual postdoctoral salaries. The aggregate data, and more information, can be found at out “Investigating Postdoc Salaries” Resource. Every day, we will be releasing a discussion of each individual institution or system from which we received data. Today: University of Michigan.   Cost for FOIA Request: $300; see below Additional notes: Data taken from publicly posted salary information including names and departments.   University of Michigan posts PDFs of salary information and so the FOIA request received the following response: Therefore we used the publicly posted data, but appreciate the caveats that this may have in not having been presented in a manner responsive to our request.   University of Michigan was one of the institutions to cancel planned salary raises after the injunction against updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act was granted. However, in response to public scrutiny, including advocacy by postdocs at the University (see the guest post on our blog by postdoc Dr. Tammy Barnes), the salary policy was then reversed, and salaries again raised. We have received personal communication that all postdoc salaries are now above $47,476.   Therefore, the data we have may not reflect the current situation,...
Investigating Postdoc Titles: Wayne State University

Investigating Postdoc Titles: Wayne State University

  There is very little information available on how much postdocs are actually paid in the U.S., beyond data on institutional salary policies gathered by the National Postdoctoral Association. Following on from recent discussions about postdoc salaries changing as a result of proposed updates to U.S. Federal labor law, we have gathered data from a selection of institutions through Freedom of Information Requests, asking only for titles and salaries of postdocs, to see if we can identify actual postdoctoral salaries. The aggregate data, and more information, can be found at out “Investigating Postdoc Salaries” Resource. Every day, we will be releasing a discussion of each individual institution or system from which we received data. Today: Wayne State University.   Cost for FOIA Request: $0 Additional notes: None.   Wayne State University cancelled planned salary raises after the injunction against the FLSA update was granted. In their communications, they implied this was due to the injunction requiring them to do so, which is not the case; the injunction simply removed the federal mandate for raising salaries, not the ability necessarily to do so.   The Wayne State postdoc policy appears contradictory, in that there is a 3 year maximum postdoc term, but exceptions are only required if people postdoc for more than 6 years, implying that the real limit is 6 years, but there is still the possibility to make exceptions:   “4.1.6, The postdoctoral researcher position is a temporary position with a maximum term of three years. Appointments are normally made for a period of one year. Extensions beyond six years require prior written approval of the dean of the...
Investigating Postdoc Salaries: University of Virginia

Investigating Postdoc Salaries: University of Virginia

  There is very little information available on how much postdocs are actually paid in the U.S., beyond data on institutional salary policies gathered by the National Postdoctoral Association. Following on from recent discussions about postdoc salaries changing as a result of proposed updates to U.S. Federal labor law, we have gathered data from a selection of institutions through Freedom of Information Requests, asking only for titles and salaries of postdocs, to see if we can identify actual postdoctoral salaries. The aggregate data, and more information, can be found at out “Investigating Postdoc Salaries” Resource. Every day, we will be releasing a discussion of each individual institution or system from which we received data. Today: University of Virginia.   Cost for FOIA Request: $0 Additional notes: Names also supplied.   The University of Virginia first refused our Freedom of Information Request as it was out-of-state. A volunteer in Virginia kindly submitted the request for us, which was then accepted.   178 postdocs were on $47,500 (set as a result of the new salary policy), out of 264 salaries used for analysis (one salary was below $23,660), meaning 67% of salaries were at this exact number....