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  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Chief Justice Roberts and the Postdocs

    On 28 July the nation witnessed an astonishing and historic spectacle: Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court, a jurist universally known for his conservative views and Republican background, joined with the court’s four liberal justices to uphold President Obama’s health care reform. The individual mandate to buy… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Patently Misleading Use of Statistics

    A study by a group called the Partnership for a New American Economy finds that 76% of the patents coming out of the 10 American universities producing the greatest number of patents listed at least one foreign author. The Partnership consists of “more than 450…mayors and business leaders who support immigration reforms” that… Read More
  • Academic Careers

    Live chat: Are We Training Too Many Scientists?

    Too many graduate students and postdocs chasing too few academic jobs has led to a dysfunctional biomedical research system. That’s the conclusion of a draft report on the biomedical workforce released this month by an advisory panel to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The panel urged taking steps to shorten young scientists’ ca… Read More
  • Editor's Blog

    Too Many Equations for Biologists

    Numerous sources claim that Stephen Hawking once said that someone had told him that every equation he put in one of his books would reduce sales by half. Apparently, that’s true of biology papers as well. According to a study by Tim W. Fawcett and Andrew D. Higginson, scheduled to come out today in the… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Majoring in STEM Pays Off for Top Minority Students

    A study of minority college students participating in a selective scholarship program finds that those who majored in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects earn substantially more after they graduate than their high-achieving counterparts who instead chose education or humanities majors.  Those STEM majors who landed po… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Private University Graduate Assistants May Regain Right to Unionize

    Graduate student employees at private U.S. universities may regain the right to form labor unions, which has been denied to them since 2004. Eight years ago–ironically around the same time that the first union of postdocs was formed–the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in the so-called Brown University case that graduate… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Convincing Them You Want the Job

    With a huge number of qualified applicants for any tenure-track job, how do hiring committees decide who gets the offer?  An important–if often unmentioned–factor is who among the top candidates really wants the job, writes hiring committee veteran David D. Perlmutter in the Chronicle of Higher Education. That means that a candidat… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    What We Need is More Jobs for Scientists

    A couple of weeks ago, we commented in this space about claims by Slate that “America Needs More Scientists and Engineers” and that “Slate‘s going to figure out how to get them.”  We suggested that before they go to a lot of trouble solving a non-existent shortage, they should consult some actual scientists about… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Paying a Price for Stopping the Tenure Clock

    The ability of faculty members who are also new parents to stop the tenure clock for a year without penalty is a highly-touted “family friendly” policy at many universities.  It is supposed to lessen the stress of balancing career and family during the crucial run-up to the make-or-break decision on tenure.  A new study report… Read More
  • Beryl Lieff Benderly

    Anonymous International Online Survey on Lab Safety Culture Underway

    The first-ever international survey of safety culture in academic labs is now underway.  The University of California Center for Laboratory Safety, Nature magazine and BioRaft, a company that provides laboratory management software, have announced a joint effort to get information on safety culture and practices from researchers of every statu… Read More