Publish or perish

by phdscam

It is no secret that the job prospects in academia after a PhD are very slim. Therefore we have been arguing against a PhD very clearly here (read our editorial article to know why we do so). If you need further evidence from other people who are still trying hard to stay (and suffer more) in academia, here is a new look at it:

Publishing in top-class journals, however excellent your work is, still a matter of non-scientific criteria.  Here is a clear scientific prove:

“In a study published 30 years ago in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Douglas P. Peters and Stephen J. Ceci illustrated that who you are and where you work play significant roles in whether or not a study will be reviewed and accepted for publication at a top-tier journal. The authors took 12 articles already published in top journals by prestigious investigators working at prestigious institutes. They changed the author names to fictitious ones, substituted the real institution’s name for a less prestigious one, and resubmitted the altered articles to the journal that had published it originally. Strikingly, 89 percent of reviewers recommended against publication and the editors rejected the articles.”

Luckily some prominent scientists started speaking out:

Requiring scholars to publish in Nature and equivalent journals was denounced by U.S. biologist Randy Schekman, who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine last year, and declared he would boycott three major journals (Cell, Science and Nature), telling the Guardian that leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a “tyranny” that must be broken.”

It is a shame that with postdoc salaries of 30.000-40.000 $ (in Canada as the article mentions), universities still have much negotiating power. In a perfect market, there would be very few applying to these jobs. But supply and demand in academia is very unbalanced thanks to the propaganda coming from these institutions and their affiliates AND the naivety  of students (or having brainwashed into it).