Giving Compass' Take:
- Kat McAlpine sheds light on why 24 researchers assert that the metrics indicating career success for scientific researchers are biased against marginalized groups.
- How can we advance equity in STEM careers? How is mentorship important to this goal?
- Learn about focusing on social justice in STEM to improve racial equity.
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The metrics that mark career success for researchers are biased against already marginalized groups in science, say 24 researchers.
The criteria that measure progress—or lack thereof—include how often a researcher’s studies are cited by other scientists, and the number of papers they publish in prestigious, high-impact scientific journals (which often comes with an expensive price tag paid by a paper’s authors). These metrics ensure that sexism and racism continue to plague the field, according to the authors of a new piece on the topic in the journal PLOS Biology.
Sarah Davies, the piece’s co-lead author and an assistant professor of biology at Boston University, says the time crunch and workload created by the coronavirus pandemic was a tipping point for many marginalized researchers.
“I’ve never been busier, so it was an interesting choice to take on a ‘perspectives’ piece outside my field of [marine biology] research,” she says. “But the coronavirus pandemic created the perfect storm of being ‘over it.'” For Davies, that meant the daunting task of navigating a changing work and research environment while juggling childcare amid the pandemic.
Here, Davies talks about the recommendations she and her 23 collaborators—including Boston University scientists Wally Fulweiler, Colleen Bove, and Hanny Rivera—put forth in their paper, how academic and industry leaders can effect change, and why mentorship and community well-being should be at the heart of career growth metrics in science.
Read the full article about bias in science-based careers by Kat McAlpine at Futurity.