CHALLENGING ‘THE NORMS’ IN ACADEMIA
IS THE SECTOR LOSING ITS APPETITE FOR CHANGE?
Format: Pecha Kucha
Friday 6 May 9:15 a.m. - 10:15 a.m. (UTC)
Over the last few years, many academics have become increasingly disillusioned by ‘the norms’ within research culture that are holding back progress. The academy’s tie to metrics-led career progression, a trend towards insecure contracts, and a lack of diversity, are among the issues that have come to the fore. Higher education was already a stressful place to work with academics required to meet more increasing demands. COVID has compounded these issues, leading to greater insecurity and deepening disparities. And whilst other industries have adapted to new ways of working, academia appears to have gone backwards with growing gender gaps, dwindling support for new metrics beyond the impact factor, and 1 in 5 women (1 in 4 men) wanting to quit the sector. All this makes us ask, does academia really want change? And, if it does, what can help make that change happen?
Emerald’s Time for Change report, now in its third year, reflects the views of over 2,000 researchers world-wide. It looks at trends in attitudes to research evaluation, academic culture, openness and transparency and the evolving role of the publisher and explores the challenges researchers face, and the impact on personal lives and career aspirations. In this Pecha Kucha, we’ll take you on a whistle-stop tour of the report with a focus on research evaluation and the need for broader and relevant measures that consider impact beyond academia.
The 2021 report highlights some worrying results, not least that the sector appears to be approaching ‘change fatigue’, favouring the status quo rather than embracing change. Those who do want change share their concerns about the future of academia, seeing widening inequalities and divisions, including between men and women, early career researchers and established academics, and the global north and the global south. Reflecting on the views of European academics specifically, concerns focus on the effects of having less time to carry out research, as wells as fewer opportunities to collaborate as a result of the pandemic. As a publisher, it’s crucial that we understand what role we can play to support the research community, and the results demonstrate that we can support diversity, create services and offer support to bolster change.
Claire Jackson, Emerald’s Head of Community Engagement, will present key findings from the report, examine regional differences and give examples of positive change. In particular, he’ll explore the growing role of publishers as facilitators of research impact, what they are doing to support real change, and what we all need to do to help break the stranglehold of metrics-based measures of research impact to create a fairer, more equitable environment for research to thrive.