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Abstract

Early career researchers (ECRs) are faced with a range of competing pressures in academia, making self-management key to building a successful career. The Organization for Human Brain Mapping undertook a group effort to gather helpful advice for ECRs in self-management.

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... Any mentor may surprise you by helping with situations in which you had not expected them to provide feedback. Thus, create a network of mentors with diverse interests, backgrounds and skillsets and approach each for specific issues rather than being under the support of only one mentor [21,22]. Keep in mind that while having many mentors is generally beneficial (as you may not agree with one mentor's opinion), it is ultimately up to you, the mentee, to decide what advice is best for you, given your circumstances. ...
... Recognizing what constitutes meaningful work requires reflection, assessing and improving one's skills, participating in relevant experiences, exploring diverse career options and connecting as early as possible with professionals who work in your selected disciplines [21,27]. These career exploration activities should be conducted in balance with the more scholarly roles-graduate students and postdoctoral researchers often take little time off from research to actively address personal and career development goals, but the development of additional expertise is crucial and will help, not impair, your professional success [28,29]. ...
... These career exploration activities should be conducted in balance with the more scholarly roles-graduate students and postdoctoral researchers often take little time off from research to actively address personal and career development goals, but the development of additional expertise is crucial and will help, not impair, your professional success [28,29]. It is your responsibility, and not that of your mentor(s), to engage in your professional development activities [21,30,31]. Actively initiate an individual development plan [32] and participate in professional development initiatives in your laboratory, department and institution, for instance as a member of graduate or postdoctoral committees, and organization of journal clubs [33,34]. ...
Article
Mentorship is experience and/or knowledge‐based guidance. Mentors support, sponsor and advocate for mentees. Having one or more mentors when you seek advice can significantly influence and improve your research endeavours, well‐being and career development. Positive mentee–mentor relationships are vital for maintaining work–life balance and success in careers. Early‐career researchers (ECRs), in particular, can benefit from mentorship to navigate challenges in academic and nonacademic life and careers. Yet, strategies for selecting mentors and maintaining interactions with them are often underdiscussed within research environments. In this Words of Advice, we provide recommendations for ECRs to seek and manage mentorship interactions. Our article draws from our experiences as ECRs and published work, to provide suggestions for mentees to proactively promote beneficial mentorship interactions. The recommended practices highlight the importance of identifying mentorship needs, planning and selecting multiple and diverse mentors, setting goals, and maintaining constructive, and mutually beneficial working relationships with mentors. How can early‐career researchers source mentors and manage mentorship expectations? This Words of Advice article provides guidance to researchers to identify mentors at all career stages and maintain relationships with their mentors. We recommend identifying mentorship needs, planning and selecting multiple and diverse mentors, setting goals and maintaining positive, constructive and mutually beneficial working interactions with mentors.
... However, academic research is driven by curiosity and passion (or so we would hope), and even in the same department, each individual will differ in what they are enthusiastic about. So, when you apply to a PhD program, ensure that there is at least 1 faculty member (and ideally more) whose interests you share and whose ways you wish to learn: not just their research techniques, but also their broader approach to science, mentoring, and academic life [3][4][5]. Note that this advice does not just apply to PhD applicants, but also to those wishing to pursue a master's degree that is fully or heavily research based. ...
... More broadly, consider also the geographical aspects: climate, culture, language, recreational and sport opportunities, proximity to nature or to big cities, and distance from home: Will you have access to what you need to de-stress and replenish your mental resources [5]? What kind of healthcare will be available, and will you be able to afford it? ...
... Whilst the literature includes several related studies, scholars in the social sciences have considered ECRs according a number of different variables, including training and support (Callagher et al., 2021;Gibson et al., 2020;Goldman et al., 2021;Husby & Modinos, 2020;Poppelaars et al., 2022;Shelton et al., 2021;Weissgerber, 2021), understanding their research culture Calitz, 2020;Christian et al., 2021;Munafò et al., 2020), attitudes and behaviors , as well as identity threats (Callagher et al., 2021;Mula et al., 2021). Others have aimed at understanding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on ECRs (Herman et al., 2021;Jackman et al., 2021;Johnson & Weivoda, 2021;López-Vergès et al., 2021;Termini & Traver, 2020), their open access publishing activities (Gownaris et al., 2022;Sundramoorthy, 2021), self-management (Alisic & Wiese, 2020;Bielczyk et al., 2020;Da Silva et al., 2021;Sanders et al., 2022), contribution to knowledge (Djerasimovic & Villani, 2020;Merga & Mason, 2020), challenges (Gill, 2021;Johnson & Weivoda, 2021;Richards et al., 2021;Silveyra & Grandison, 2020), and employment insecurity (McKenzie, 2021). ...
Article
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Background/purpose-This study analyzed the contribution of three mentorship practices relatively and cumulatively to the research productivity of early-career academics in the field of educational psychology in universities. The study was conducted in the South-South region of Nigeria. Materials/methods-The research method adopted was the quantitative approach, following the ex-post facto research design. The study's population covered 723 early-career researchers (ECRs) in educational psychology distributed across 19 universities located in South-South Nigeria. The "Mentorship Practices and Research Productivity Questionnaire" (MPRPQ) was the instrument used for data collection. The questionnaire was designed by the researchers and then validated by three experts. Reliability analysis was performed using the Cronbach approach with estimates of .80, .79, .87, and .91 obtained for the four clusters. Primary data were collected from the field after copies of the instrument had been administered to respondents. Results-Mentorship practices were generally revealed to significantly contribute to the research productivity of ECRs in educational psychology in universities. Specifically, the adoption of cloning and apprenticeship approaches to mentorship contributed substantially to the ECRs' research productivity. However, the study highlighted that nurturing contributed only negligibly to the ECRs' research productivity. Conclusion-Mentorship practices are important determinants to the research productivity of early-career educational psychologists. In order to boost the productive research capacities of ECRs, there is a need for institutions to strengthen their mentorship practices.
... The 'bottom-up' approach would be to encourage young scientists to send unsolicited emails directly to individuals from whom they think they might receive relevant career advice. Indeed, effective self-management for ECRs involves actively creating a network of mentors at different career stages [12]. This 'cold-calling approach' could potentially result, however, in unanswered emails and frustration. ...
Article
Recent societal upheavals have highlighted stark inequalities that affect the livelihood of marginalized individuals pursuing research careers. Established scientists have a unique role to play as casual mentors, or experienced scholars who are well-positioned to serve as allies to early career researchers by informally advising on academia’s hidden curriculum.
... In fact, the cacophony of "this does not represent a big enough advance" would be deafening from reviewers, editors, grant panels and hiring committees alike. Much like efforts to embrace methodological reform, this is not a trivial issue, which comes with clear costs as well as benefits (Allen & Mehler, 2019;Bielczyk et al., 2020;McKiernan et al., 2016;Poldrack, 2019). As such, it should be a concern for anyone striving to build a career in science, and especially early career researchers who are taking their first steps on the academic ladder. ...
Article
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Exaggerated claims and low levels of reproducibility are commonplace in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, due to an incentive structure that demands “newsworthy” results. My overall argument here is that in addition to methodological reform, greater modesty is required across all levels - from individual researchers to the systems that govern science (e.g., editors, reviewers, grant panels, hiring committees) - to redirect expectations regarding what psychological and brain science can effectively deliver. Empirical work and the reform agenda should pivot away from making big claims on narrow evidence bases or single tools and focus on the limitations of our individual efforts, as well as how we can work together to build ways of thinking that enable integration and synthesis across multiple modalities and levels of description. I outline why modesty matters for science including the reform agenda, provide some practical steps that we can take to embrace modesty, rebut common misconceptions of what modesty means for science, and present some limitations of the approach. Ultimately, by presenting a more sober view of our capacities and achievements, whilst placing work within a wider context that respects the complexity of the human brain, we will bolster the fidelity of scientific inference and thus help in a small way to generate a firmer footing upon which to build a cumulative science.
... Scientific gatherings are also vital for creating and nurturing professional relationships that are essential to the development and advancement of scientific careers. In other words, they have a major positive impact on the visibility, training and networking of all scientists and especially early career researchers (Bielczyk et al., 2020;Dunn, 2007). Unfortunately, scientific gatherings often suffer from a lack of diversity. ...
Article
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Scientific research aims to bring forward innovative ideas and constantly challenges existing knowledge structures and stereotypes. However, women, ethnic and cultural minorities, as well as individuals with disabilities, are systematically discriminated against or even excluded from promotions, publications, and general visibility. A more diverse workforce is more productive, and thus discrimination has a negative impact on science and the wider society, as well as on the education, careers, and well-being of individuals who are discriminated against. Moreover, the lack of diversity at scientific gatherings can lead to micro-aggressions or harassment, making such meetings unpleasant, or even unsafe environments for early career and underrepresented scientists. At the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM), we recognized the need for promoting underrepresented scientists and creating diverse role models in the field of neuroimaging. To foster this, the OHBM has created a Diversity and Inclusivity Committee (DIC). In this article, we review the composition and activities of the DIC that have promoted diversity within OHBM, in order to inspire other organizations to implement similar initiatives. Activities of the committee over the past four years have included (a) creating a code of conduct, (b) providing diversity and inclusivity education for OHBM members, (c) organizing interviews and symposia on diversity issues, and (d) organizing family-friendly activities and providing childcare grants during the OHBM annual meetings. We strongly believe that these activities have brought positive change within the wider OHBM community, improving inclusivity and fostering diversity while promoting rigorous, ground-breaking science. These positive changes could not have been so rapidly implemented without the enthusiastic support from the leadership, including OHBM Council and Program Committee, and the OHBM Special Interest Groups (SIGs), namely the Open Science, Student and Postdoc, and Brain-Art SIGs. Nevertheless, there remains ample room for improvement, in all areas, and even more so in the area of targeted attempts to increase inclusivity for women, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals of lower socioeconomic status or from low and middle-income countries. Here, we present an overview of the DIC's composition, its activities, future directions and challenges. Our goal is to share our experiences with a wider audience to provide information to other organizations and institutions wishing to implement similar comprehensive diversity initiatives. We propose that scientific organizations can push the boundaries of scientific progress only by moving beyond existing power structures and by integrating principles of equity and inclusivity in their core values.
... This approach develops a collaborative field course environment, as opposed to a hierarchical student/teacher set up, by allowing students to play an active role in constructing their learning experience (Carwile, 2007). Finally, linking to the broader research community, course participants and facilitators can use online platforms (i.e., websites, social media accounts, blogs) to promote educational and scientific practice (Sugimoto et al., 2017), as well as the ECRs themselves, increasing their scientific visibility at a critical stage in their career (Bielczyk et al., 2020). Ecological and evolutionary research is strengthened by global networks, which are often developed during early career attendance of field courses, workshops, and conferences. ...
Article
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As Open Science practices become more commonplace, there is a need for the next generation of scientists to be well versed in these aspects of scientific research. Yet, many training opportunities for early career researchers (ECRs) could better emphasize or integrate Open Science elements. Field courses provide opportunities for ECRs to apply theoretical knowledge, practice new methodological approaches, and gain an appreciation for the challenges of real‐life research, and could provide an excellent platform for integrating training in Open Science practices. Our recent experience, as primarily ECRs engaged in a field course interrupted by COVID‐19, led us to reflect on the potential to enhance learning outcomes in field courses by integrating Open Science practices and online learning components. Specifically, we highlight the opportunity for field courses to align teaching activities with the recent developments and trends in how we conduct research, including training in: publishing registered reports, collecting data using standardized methods, adopting high‐quality data documentation, managing data through reproducible workflows, and sharing and publishing data through appropriate channels. We also discuss how field courses can use online tools to optimize time in the field, develop open access resources, and cultivate collaborations. By integrating these elements, we suggest that the next generation of field courses will offer excellent arenas for participants to adopt Open Science practices.
Article
The Early-Career Complementologists (ECCO) is a task force that was established, in close collaboration with the European Complement Network (ECN) and the International Complement Society (ICS), with the specific mission to support and connect early-career researchers (ECRs) in the complement field. ECRs are junior scientists at the early stages of their training which include undergraduate as well as graduate students, Ph.D. graduates, and post-doctoral fellows. This unique population within the scientific community represents the next generation of scientific leaders. However, ECRs are faced with key challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted them. In this paper, we provide further insight into specific needs and challenges of ECRs in the complement field. We surveyed 52 ECRs in the complement field and assessed their perceptions of 1) mentor and peer support, 2) working conditions as well as 3) career interests and prospects. Furthermore, we review the various activities carried out by ECCO over the past years such as our social media presence, social events, and newly-created awards. We also discuss the future activities and events to be carried out by ECCO. Through these initiatives and activities, ECCO strives to boost collaborations between ECRs, provide recognition, and improve the visibility of their work. In addition, continuous joint efforts must also be made by the scientific community, research institutes, and funding organizations to nurture and invest in ECRs.
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Significance: The expansion of fNIRS methodology and analysis tools give rise to various design and analytical decisions researchers have to make. Several recent efforts have developed guidelines for preprocessing, analyzing, and reporting practices. For the planning stage of fNIRS studies, similar guidance would be desirable. Study preregistration helps researchers to transparently document study protocols before conducting the study-including materials, methods and analyses-and thus others to verify, understand, and reproduce a study. Preregistration can thus serve as a useful tool for transparent, careful and comprehensive fNIRS study design. Aim: We aim to create a guide about the design and analysis steps involved in fNIRS studies and provide a preregistration template specified for fNIRS studies. Approach: The presented preregistration guide has a strong focus on fNIRS specific requirements, and the associated template provides examples based on continuous-wave fNIRS studies conducted in humans. These can, however, be extended to other types of fNIRS studies. Results: On a step-by-step basis, we walk the fNIRS user through key methodological and analysis-related aspects central to a comprehensive fNIRS study design. These include items specific to the design of continuous-wave, task-based fNIRS studies, but also sections that are of general importance, including an in-depth elaboration on sample size planning. Conclusions: Our guide introduces these open science tools to the fNIRS community, providing researchers with an overview of key design aspects and specification recommendations for comprehensive study planning. As such it can be used as a template to preregister fNIRS studies or merely as a tool for transparent fNIRS study design.
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Monetary bonus schemes are one of the most well-used forms of employee compensation in the modern business world. Yet, such schemes are primarily constructed as gains to incentivize an increase in work effort and performance. Using insights from behavioral economics, we construct a novel extrinsic compensation system modelled after Loss Aversion and the Yerkes-Dodson Law. We test this system using two experimental designs that measure performance based on cognitive- and mechanical efforts, respectively. In study 1 we find no difference in cognitive performance between 4 different bonus schemes. In a pre-registered study 2 we again find no difference in mechanical performance between 4 different conditions. Contrary to previous research, our findings suggest no significant effect of bonus schemes modelled after Loss Aversion and Yerkes-Dodson Law, whether administered alone or in combination. We discuss limitations and implications for compensation design and research.
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The COVID‐19 crisis has forced researchers in Ecology to change the way we work almost overnight. Nonetheless, the pandemic has provided us with several novel components for a new way of conducting science. In this perspective piece, we summarize eight central insights that are helping us, as early career researchers, navigate the uncertainties, fears, and challenges of advancing science during the COVID‐19 pandemic. We highlight how innovative, collaborative, and often Open Science‐driven developments that have arisen from this crisis can form a blueprint for a community reinvention in academia. Our insights include personal approaches to managing our new reality, maintaining capacity to focus and resilience in our projects, and a variety of tools that facilitate remote collaboration. We also highlight how, at a community level, we can take advantage of online communication platforms for gaining accessibility to conferences and meetings, and for maintaining research networks and community engagement while promoting a more diverse and inclusive community. Overall, we are confident that these practices can support a more inclusive and kinder scientific culture for the longer term.
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An enormous wealth of digital tools now exists for collaborating on scholarly research projects. In particular, it is now possible to collaboratively author research articles in an openly participatory and dynamic format. Here we describe and provide recommendations for a more open process of digital collaboration, and discuss the potential issues and pitfalls that come with managing large and diverse authoring communities. We summarize our personal experiences in a form of ‘ten simple recommendations’. Typically, these collaborative, online projects lead to the production of what we here introduce as Massively Open Online Papers (MOOPs). We consider a MOOP to be distinct from a ‘traditional’ collaborative article in that it is defined by an openly participatory process, not bound within the constraints of a predefined contributors list. This is a method of organised creativity designed for the efficient generation and capture of ideas in order to produce new knowledge. Given the diversity of potential authors and projects that can be brought into this process, we do not expect that these tips will address every possible project. Rather, these tips are based on our own experiences and will be useful when different groups and communities can uptake different elements into their own workflows. We believe that creating inclusive, interdisciplinary, and dynamic environments is ultimately good for science, providing a way to exchange knowledge and ideas as a community. We hope that these Recommendations will prove useful for others who might wish to explore this space.
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The movement towards open science is a consequence of seemingly pervasive failures to replicate previous research. This transition comes with great benefits but also significant challenges that are likely to affect those who carry out the research, usually early career researchers (ECRs). Here, we describe key benefits, including reputational gains, increased chances of publication, and a broader increase in the reliability of research. The increased chances of publication are supported by exploratory analyses indicating null findings are substantially more likely to be published via open registered reports in comparison to more conventional methods. These benefits are balanced by challenges that we have encountered and that involve increased costs in terms of flexibility, time, and issues with the current incentive structure, all of which seem to affect ECRs acutely. Although there are major obstacles to the early adoption of open science, overall open science practices should benefit both the ECR and improve the quality of research. We review 3 benefits and 3 challenges and provide suggestions from the perspective of ECRs for moving towards open science practices, which we believe scientists and institutions at all levels would do well to consider.
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Mentorship in academia facilitates personal growth through pairing trainees with mentors who can share insight and expertise. Expertise can be purely academic, on work‐life balance, personal branding and networking, or general career advice. Mentoring has been shown to be beneficial for mentees, both in terms of objective research productivity (Muschallik and Pull, 2016, Gardiner et al., 2007, Mundt, 2001, van Eck Peluchette and Jeanquart, 2000) and subjective outcomes (e.g. self‐perception as an academic, Gardiner, 2007, Ehrich et al., 2004, Mundt, 2001, van Eck Peluchette and Jeanquart, 2000). Several institutions/organizations have formal in‐person mentoring programs that pair early‐ to mid‐career researchers with mentors who are not their direct supervisors (Ehrich et al., 2004). With global integration in science, however, geographical proximity between mentors and mentees is relevant to a lesser degree. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Keeping a visible record of your rejected applications can help others to deal with setbacks, says Melanie Stefan.
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Improving the reproducibility of neuroscience research is of great concern, especially to early-career researchers (ECRs). Here I outline the potential costs for ECRs in adopting practices to improve reproducibility. I highlight the ways in which ECRs can achieve their career goals while doing better science and the need for established researchers to support them in these efforts.
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Background: Exercise is known to be associated with reduced risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, but its association with mental health remains unclear. We aimed to examine the association between exercise and mental health burden in a large sample, and to better understand the influence of exercise type, frequency, duration, and intensity. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we analysed data from 1 237 194 people aged 18 years or older in the USA from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey. We compared the number of days of bad self-reported mental health between individuals who exercised and those who did not, using an exact non-parametric matching procedure to balance the two groups in terms of age, race, gender, marital status, income, education level, body-mass index category, self-reported physical health, and previous diagnosis of depression. We examined the effects of exercise type, duration, frequency, and intensity using regression methods adjusted for potential confounders, and did multiple sensitivity analyses. Findings: Individuals who exercised had 1·49 (43·2%) fewer days of poor mental health in the past month than individuals who did not exercise but were otherwise matched for several physical and sociodemographic characteristics (W=7·42 × 1010, p<2·2 × 10-16). All exercise types were associated with a lower mental health burden (minimum reduction of 11·8% and maximum reduction of 22·3%) than not exercising (p<2·2 × 10-16 for all exercise types). The largest associations were seen for popular team sports (22·3% lower), cycling (21·6% lower), and aerobic and gym activities (20·1% lower), as well as durations of 45 min and frequencies of three to five times per week. Interpretation: In a large US sample, physical exercise was significantly and meaningfully associated with self-reported mental health burden in the past month. More exercise was not always better. Differences as a function of exercise were large relative to other demographic variables such as education and income. Specific types, durations, and frequencies of exercise might be more effective clinical targets than others for reducing mental health burden, and merit interventional study. Funding: Cloud computing resources were provided by Microsoft.
What is out there for me? The landscape of post-PhD career tracks.
  • Bielczyk N.
Overworked and isolated—work pressure fuels mental illness in academia
  • Shaw
Introducing Massively Open Online Papers (moops).
  • Tennant J.
  • Bielczyk N.Z.
  • Tzovaras B.G.
  • Masuzzo P.
  • Steiner T.