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Academic Research in the 21st Century: Maintaining Scientific Integrity in a Climate of Perverse Incentives and Hypercompetition

Part of the reason I started this blog many years ago was to provide an outlet for students who were disillusioned with academia, and let them know that they are not alone.  I am relieved to see that the issue is beginning to be recognized in more mainstream locations than an ex-academic’s blog, and today’s journal article is a great example.

Academic Research in the 21st Century: Maintaining Scientific Integrity in a Climate of Perverse Incentives and Hypercompetition

Creator of Sage Math: “Why I’m Leaving Academia”

Today’s link is a presentation from William Stein, creator of SageMath, a powerful open source mathematics software system.  The talk discusses a big failing in academia, where the wrong things are incentivized, leading to a situation where important, meaningful academic work is not given the recognition and support it deserves.  A sobering listen for sure, but also a sign that there is life beyond academia for researchers who want to work on tooling and infrastructure.

 

There’s an awful cost to getting a PhD that no one talks about

Today’s Story

The real reason college tuition costs so much

One of my biggest complaints about higher education is the ludicrous rise in the costs of said education.  This short NYT article debunks the nonsense narrative, perpetuated by overpaid University administrators, that tuition costs are going up due to state funding cuts.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/opinion/sunday/the-real-reason-college-tuition-costs-so-much.html?_r=0

Nature on the future of postdocs

You just know that any article which starts with the following quote is going to be a good, but depressing read:  “By the time Sophie Thuault-Restituito reached her twelfth year as a postdoctoral fellow, she had finally had enough.”

See more at Nature

An Astrophysicist’s view on the transition from academia to data science

Today’s Link is a powerpoint presentation by a former astrophysicist who has made the transition into data science, a growing field with great potential to apply the skills learned as a scientist. Data science is probably my #1 recommendation right now, for viable paths to escape the tower.

Nature: The ones who got away

Today’s Link  is a nice piece by Nature, discussing the paths of a few very promising academics who moved outside of the Ivory Tower, and where they ended up.  It’s always nice to hear some of the different paths people have taken, especially for students who are considering making that move themselves.