Harbingers-2 is a continuation of a world-wide project we began in 2015: Harbingers — a longitudinal study of 'digital natives', young researchers who had yet to achieve established or tenured positions. Harbingers-2 takes this work forward in association with the University of Tennessee and with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Once again we will be studying the work lives, prospects and scholarly communication, behaviour and attitude of today’s novice researchers. However, Harbingers-2 — will do so with the express purpose of discovering how the pandemic will have impacted on the cohort that constitutes a most vulnerable generation of researchers.
A study of change in ECRs' employment status, careers and scholarly communication behaviour and attitudes
An investigation that seeks to establish what the new scholarly normal is going to look like in a world of pandemic-wrought changes and to establish how the future of the scientific enterprise will unfold in these crucial and pivotal times, as seen through the lens of tomorrow’s future professors and leading scientists and social scientists. Building upon and extending the 4-year longitudinal Harbingers study of ECRs we will be studying the work lives, prospects and scholarly communication behaviours and attitudes of today’s novice researchers. However, Harbingers-2 will do so with the express purpose of discovering how the pandemic will have impacted on the cohort that constitutes the biggest and most vulnerable generation of researchers.
Thus, the longitudinal work CIBER have conducted with ECRs in helping to determine whether their millennial beliefs are changing the face of scholarly communication will be continued over the next two years (2020–2022) to include the monitoring of the effects of the pandemic and whether it is accelerating or hindering change, altering the nature of change or giving rise to additional and different changes. We shall also seek to establish how the challenges to the scholarly undertaking, brought about by the pandemic, affected the diverse populations among the ECRs and how they were dealt with in different countries: have the rich become richer and the poor even poorer? How do developed/developing countries fare in result? What lessons can be learnt from different national and institutional policies aimed at warding off the danger of the present-day cohort of ECRs being rendered the lost generation of the pandemic-riddled scholarly world? Where, in these circumstances, do ‘best practices’ lie? The study will feature three sets of repeat interviews, conducted periodically over two years with around 170 ECRs from the sciences and social sciences from the US, UK, China, France, Poland, Malaysia, Spain and Russia, capped by a questionnaire survey to scale up the interview findings to a larger and more international and discipline-diverse population of ECRs.
Are you an Early Career Researcher? We still have places to fill to make the scope of this ECR study representative across countries, disciplines, age, and gender.
Your participation will help us to learn more about the ways in which the pandemic is impacting your work. We expect our published results will inform higher education policy makers and researchers.
The project is built around interviews conducted by Zoom or similar, three over the next eighteen months in each case going over the same ground. The interview will be recorded and the transcript checked with you for accuracy and interpretation.
The criteria for 'Early Career Researchers' we use are:
You are a scientist or social scientist;
You must either have received your doctorate and be currently working on a research project or you are currently undertaking a doctorate and are working on a research project or you have been in a research position and are now undertaking a doctorate;
You are not yet in an established or tenured position;
You are not older than 45;
Usually you have published or submitted at least one paper.
We will do everything we can to protect your privacy and confidentiality in accordance with protocols explained in detail as part of our request for your informed consent. In appreciation for your time and insights you will receive $200, paid in three equal instalments of $66.67 in Amazon gift cards after each interview is completed and approved by you.
If you are interested please contact Anthony Watkinson at CIBER-research. We will need to select for a balanced representation of ECRs so please attach a current CV or résumé.
A resilient community. ECRs show less negativity than we might have supposed, but this
could be because they are strivers, doing
everything they can to adapt and succeed. Most US ECRs
reported no substantive changes were expected to their research career due to the
pandemic. 'Delay, but not change' seems to be a recurring theme; they felt
relatively secure in their current situation —maybe helped by the 1-year extension of tenure
requirements by universities in US and France.
These are direct and personal comments from the our ‘foreign
correspondents’ regarding how they think things are in their
country in terms of the impact of the pandemic on
universities and researchers. We shall of course being investigating the
situation more thoroughly over the next two years and monitoring
change and will provides updates here.
Harbingers-2 has been funded by a grant (2020-14034) from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the University of Tennessee to study the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the scholarly communication practices of early career researchers around the world.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of General Motors, the foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance.