Authors : Eti Herman, David Nicholas, Anthony Watkinson, Blanca Rodríguez-Bravo, Abdullah Abrizah, Chérifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Hamid R. Jamali, David Sims, Suzie Allard, Carol Tenopir, Jie Xu, Marzena Świgoń, Galina Serbina, Leah Parke Cannon
In order to take account of the impact of the pandemic on the already changing scholarly communications and work-life of early career researchers (ECRs), the 4-year long Harbingers study was extended for another two years.
As a precursor to the study (featuring interviews and a questionnaire survey), currently underway, an analytic review of the pertinent literature was undertaken and its results are presented here.
The review focuses on the challenges faced by ECRs and how these compare to the ones more senior researchers have to tackle. In the examination of the literature three general questions are posed: Q1) What are the identifiable and forthcoming impacts of the pandemic-induced financial pressures felt in the Higher Education sector on ECRs’ employment and career development prospects? Q2) What are the identifiable and forthcoming pandemic-associated disruptions in the pace/focus/direction of the research undertaking? Have any disruptions been predicted to exert an impact on ECRs’ research activities, and if so, with what scholarly consequences? Q3) How is the work-life of ECRs shaping up under the virus-dictated rules of the ‘new normal’ in the research undertaking? What challenges, if any, arise from the changes in practices identified, and what might their potential consequences be for ECRs?
The broad conclusion of the study is that the literature leaves little room for doubt: junior researchers are already disproportionally affected by and bear the burden of the ongoing pandemic-incurred hardships and they are likely to remain similarly impacted when more trials, still unfolding, materialise.