Early career researchers in the pandemic-fashioned ‘new scholarly normality’: a first look into the big changes and long-lasting impacts (international analysis)




Palabras clave:

Early career researchers, Scholarly communication, Research, Pandemics, COVID-19, Harbingers project, Impacts, Pandemic consequences, Interviews, Resilience, Country differences, China, France, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, UK, United Kingdom, US, United States


After two-years of repeat interviewing around 170 early career science/social science researchers from China, France, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, UK and US about their work life and scholarly communications in pandemic-times, the Harbingers project is now in possession of a mountain of data on what constitutes a very important academic topic. The purpose of the paper is to share the early highlights of the data, with a focus on the main and lasting impacts of the pandemic. The data presented comes from the national interviewers, who had conducted 3 rounds of interviews with their 20 or so early career researchers (ECRs) over two years and, thus, knew them well. They were asked to provide an ‘aerial view’ by identifying the most important impacts they had detected while things were still fresh in their minds. The main findings are that: 1) ECRs, the research workhorses, have generally proved to be resilient and perseverant and some have prospered; 2) the pandemic has fast-tracked researchers to a virtual and remote scholarly world, with all the advantages and disadvantages that comes with it. The data, however, is nuanced, with significant differences occurring between countries, especially China and France. The paper also updates a literature review on the topic previously published in this journal.


AAS; EMCR-Early; Mid-Career Researcher Forum (2020). Impacts of COVID-19 for EMCRS. National survey report, August 12. Australian Academy of Science. https://www.science.org.au/files/userfiles/support/documents/covid19-emcr-impact-report.pdf

Aubry, Lise M.; Laverty, Theresa M.; Ma, Zhao (2021). “Impacts of COVID-19 on ecology and evolutionary biology faculty in the United States”. Ecological applications, v. 31, n. 2, e2265. https://doi-org.ezproxy.haifa.ac.il/10.1002/eap.2265

Baker, Simon (2020a). “HE financial crisis risks ‘lost generation of researchers’”. Times higher education, June 11. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/he-financial-crisis-risks-lost-generation-researchers

Baker, Simon (2020b). “Most early career academics face funding cliff edge, survey suggests”. Times higher education, May 18. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/most-early-career-academics-face-funding-cliff-edge-survey-suggests

Baynes, Grace; Hahnel, Mark (2020). “Research practices in the wake of COVID-19”. In: Digital science report. The state of open data 2020. London: Digital Science; Figshare, pp. 22-25. ISBN: 978 1 9993177 5 1 https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.13227875.v2

Bennion, Alice; Locke, William (2010). “The early career paths and employment conditions of the academic profession in 17 countries”. European review, n. 18, S1, S7-S33. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1062798709990299

Brechelmacher, Angelika; Park, Elke; Ates, Gülay; Campbell, David F. J. (2015). “The rocky road to tenure - career paths in academia”. In: Fumasoli, T.; Goastellec, G.; Kehm, B. M. (eds.), Academic work and careers in Europe: Trends, challenges, perspectives. Cham: Springer, pp. 13-40. ISBN: 978 3 319 10720 2

Byrom, Nicola (2020). “COVID-19 and the research community: The challenges of lockdown for early-career researchers”. eLife, n. 9, e59634. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.59634

Cardel, Michelle I.; Dean, Natalie; Montoya-Williams, Diana (2020). “Preventing a secondary epidemic of lost early career scientists. Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on women with children”. Annals of the American Thoracic Society, v. 17, n. 11, pp. 1366-1370. https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202006-589IP

Castellacci, Fulvio; Viñas-Bardolet, Clara (2020). “Permanent contracts and job satisfaction in academia: Evidence from European countries”. Studies in higher education, v. 1, n. 15. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1711041

Christian, Katherine; Johnstone, Carolyn; Larkins, Jo-ann; Wright, Wendy; Doran, Michael R. (2021). “Research culture: A survey of early-career researchers in Australia”. ELife, n. 10, e60613. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.60613

Gao, Jian; Yin, Yian; Myers, Kyle R.; Lakhani, Karim R.; Wang, Dashun (2021). “Potentially long-lasting effects of the pandemic on scientists”. Nature communications, v. 12, 6188. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-26428-z

Gates, Lucy; Gavin, James-Peter (2021). Key survey findings: Impact of COVID-19 on University of Southampton early career researchers. Southampton: University of Southampton (Project report). https://doi.org/10.5258/SOTON/P0071

Gewin, Virginia (2022). “Has the ‘great resignation’ hit academia?”. Nature, n. 606, pp. 211-213. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-01512-6

Górska, Anna-Maria; Kulicka, Karolina; Staniszewska, Zuzanna; Dobija, Dorota (2021). „Deepening inequalities: What did COVID‐19 reveal about the gendered nature of academic work?”. Gender, work and organization, v. 28, n. 4, pp. 1546-1561. https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12696

Hangel, Nora; Schmidt-Pfister, Diana (2017). “Why do you publish? On the tensions between generating scientific knowledge and publication pressure”. Aslib journal of information management, v. 69, n. 5, pp. 529-544. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-01-2017-0019

Harrop, Clare; Bal, Vanessa; Carpenter, Kimberley; Halladay, Alycia (2021). “A lost generation? The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on early career ASD researchers”. Autism research, v. 14, n. 6, pp. 1078-1087. https://doi.org/10.1002/aur.2503

Herman, Eti; Nicholas, David; Watkinson, Anthony; Rodríguez-Bravo, Blanca; Abdullah, Abrizah; Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Chérifa; Jamali, Hamid R.; Sims, David; Allard, Suzie; Tenopir, Carol; Xu, Jie; Świgoń, Marzena; Serbina, Galina; Parke-Cannon, Leah (2021). “The impact of the pandemic on early career researchers: what we already know from the internationally published literature”. Profesional de la información, v. 30, n. 2, e300208. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.mar.08

Hollywood, Amelia; McCarthy, Daniel; Spencely, Carol; Winstone, Naomi (2020). “‘Overwhelmed at first’: the experience of career development in early career academics”. Journal of further and higher education, v. 44, n. 7, pp. 998-1012. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2019.1636213

Korbel, Jan O.; Stegle, Oliver (2020). “Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on life scientists”. Genome biology, v. 21, n. 113. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-020-02031-1

Kwon, Diana (2020). “After conference cancellations, some scientists find a way”. The scientist, March 23. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/after-conference-cancellations-some-scientists-find-a-way-67310

Lederman, Doug (2021). “Higher ed workforce shrank by 4% in fall 2020”. Inside higher ed, December 14. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/12/14/higher-ed-workforce-shrank-4-fall-2020

Maas, Bea; Grogan, Kathleen E.; Chirango, Yolanda; Harris, Nyeema; Liévano-Latorre, Luisa-Fernanda; McGuire, Krista L.; Moore, Alexandria C.; Ocampo-Ariza, Carolina; Palta, Monica-Marie; Perfecto, Ivette; Primack, Richard B.; Rowell, Kirsten; Sales, Lilian; Santos-Silva, Rejane; Silva, Rafaela-Aparecida; Sterling, Eleanor J.; Vieira, Raísa R. S.; Wyborn, Carina; Toomey, Anne (2020). “Academic leaders must support inclusive scientific communities during COVID-19”. Nature ecology and evolution, n. 4, pp. 997-998. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-020-1233-3

Maher, Brendan; Sureda-Anfres, Miquel (2016). “Young scientists under pressure: What the data show”. Nature, v. 538, n. 7626, pp. 444-445. https://doi.org/10.1038/538444a

McGaughey, Fiona; Watermeyer, Richard; Shankar, Kalpana; Suri, Venkata-Ratnadeep; Knight, Cathryn; Crick, Tom; Hardman, Joanne; Phelan, Dean; Chung, Roger (2021). “‘This can’t be the new norm’: academics’ perspectives on the COVID-19 crisis for the Australian university sector”. Higher education research & development, online first. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2021.1973384

McQuarrie, Fiona A. E.; Kondra, Alex Z.; Lamertz, Kai (2020). “Do tenure and promotion policies discourage publications in predatory journals?”. Journal of scholarly publishing, v. 51, n. 3, pp. 165-181. https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.51.3.01

Minello, Alessandra; Martucci, Sara; Manzo, Lidia K. C. (2020). “The pandemic and the academic mothers: Present hardships and future perspectives”. European societies, v. 23, n. sup1. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616696.2020.1809690

Morin, Andréanne; Helling, Britney A.; Krishnan, Seetha; Risner, Laurie E.; Walker, Nykia D.; Schwartz, Nancy B. (2022). “Research culture: Surveying the experience of postdocs in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic”. Elife, v. 11, e75705. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.75705

Müller, Ruth (2014). “Postdoctoral life scientists and supervision work in the contemporary university: A case study of changes in the cultural norms of science”. Minerva, v. 52, n. 3, pp. 329-349. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11024-014-9257-y

Myers, Kyle R.; Tham, Wei-Yang; Yin, Yian; Cohodes, Nina; Thursby, Jerry G.; Thursby, Marie C.; Schiffer, Peter; Walsh, Joseph T.; Lakhani, Karim R.; Wang, Dashun (2020). “Unequal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on scientists”. Nature human behaviour, v. 4, n. 9, pp. 880-883. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-0921-y

Nicholas, David; Herman, Eti; Jamali, Hamid R.; Rodríguez-Bravo, Blanca; Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Chérifa; Dobrowolski, Tom; Pouchot, Stephanie (2015). “New ways of building, showcasing, and measuring scholarly reputation”. Learned publishing, v. 28, n. 3, pp. 169-183. https://doi.org/10.1087/20150303

Nicholas, David; Jamali, Hamid R.; Watkinson, Anthony; Herman, Eti; Abrizah, Abdulah; Rodríguez-Bravo, Blanca; Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Chérifa; Xu, Jie; Świgoń, Marzena; Polezhaeva, Tatiana (2020a). “A global questionnaire survey of the scholarly communication attitudes and behaviours of early career researchers”. Learned publishing, v. 33, n. 3, pp. 198-211. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1286

Nicholas, David; Rodríguez‐Bravo, Blanca; Watkinson, Anthony; Boukacem‐Zeghmouri, Chérifa; Herman, Eti; Xu, Jie; Abrizah, Abdulah; Świgoń, Marzena (2017). “Early career researchers and their publishing and authorship practices”. Learned publishing, v. 30, n. 3, pp. 205-217. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1102

Nicholas, David; Watkinson, Anthony; Boukacem‐Zeghmouri, Chérifa; Rodríguez‐Bravo, Blanca; Xu, Jie; Abrizah, Abdulah; Świgoń, Marzena; Clark, David; Herman, Eti (2019). “So, are early career researchers the harbingers of change?”. Learned publishing, v. 32, n. 3, pp. 237-247. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1232

Olena, Abby (2020). “COVID-19 ushers in the future of conferences”. The scientist, September 28. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/covid-19-ushers-in-the-future-of-conferences-67978

Petsko, Gregory A.; Anderson-Thompkins, Sibby; Bernard, H. Russell; Greider, Carol; Plummer, James; Reece, E. Albert; Schwartz, Nancy; Stephan, Paula; Tracey, Lorraine; Turner, Michael (2014). The postdoctoral experience revisited. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. ISBN: 978 0 309 31446 6 https://doi.org/10.17226/18982

Powell, Kendall (2015). “The future of the postdoc”. Nature, v. 520, n. 7546, pp. 144-147. https://doi.org/10.1038/520144a

Radecki, Jane; Schonfeld, Roger C. (2020). The impacts of COVID-19 on the research enterprise: A landscape review. Ithaka S+R. https://doi.org/10.18665/sr.314247

Rijs, Chantelle; Fenter, Frederick (2020) “The academic response to COVID-19”. Frontiers in public health, n. 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.621563

Roach, Michael; Sauermann, Henry (2017). “The declining interest in an academic career”. PLoS one, v. 12, n. 9, e0184130. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184130

Ross, John (2020). “Pandemic’s impact on Australian research ‘protracted’”. Times higher education, May 11. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/pandemics-impact-australian-research-protracted

SMaRteN; Vitae (2020). Release of initial findings to sector following response to COVID-19 survey, 17 May. The Student Mental Health Research Network; Vitae. https://www.vitae.ac.uk/news/vitae-news-2020/release-of-initial-findings-to-sector-following-response-to-covid-19-survey

Thatcher, Arran; Zhang, Mona; Todoroski, Hayden; Chau, Anthony; Wang, Joanna; Liang, Gang (2020). “Predicting the impact of COVID-19 on Australian universities”. Journal of risk and financial management, v. 13, n. 9, p. 188. https://doi.org/10.3390/jrfm13090188

Vatansever, Asli (2020). At the margins of academia: Exile, precariousness, and subjectivity. Leiden: Brill. ISBN: 978 90 04 43134 8

Vitae (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on researchers in universities and research institutes. 8 October 2020. https://www.vitae.ac.uk/impact-and-evaluation/covid-19-impact-on-researchers

Vitae (2021). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on researchers and research - Wave 2. June 2021. https://www.vitae.ac.uk/vitae-publications/the%20impact%20of%20the-covid-19-pandemic-on-researchers-and-research

Watchorn, Deirdre; Heckendorf, Esther; Smith, Chris (2020). Locked down, burned out: Publishing in a pandemic: The impact of COVID on academic authors. Berlin, Germany: De Gruyter. https://blog.degruyter.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Locked-Down-Burned-Out-Publishing-in-a-pandemic_Dec-2020.pdf

Watermeyer, Richard P.; Crick, Tom; Knight, Cathryn; Goodall, Janet (2020). “COVID-19 and digital disruption in UK universities: afflictions and affordances of emergency online migration”. Higher education, n. 81, pp. 623-641. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-020-00561-y

Watermeyer, Richard P.; Shankar, Kalpana; Crick, Tom; Knight, Cathryn; McGaughey, Fiona; Hardman; Joanna; Suri, Venkata-Ratnadeep; Chung, Roger Y-N.; Phelan, Dean (2021). “‘Pandemia’: A reckoning of UK universities’ corporate response to COVID-19 and its academic fallout”. British journal of sociology of education, v. 42, n. 5-6, pp. 651-666. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2021.1937058

Weissgerber, Tracey; Bediako, Yaw; De-Winde, Charlotte M.; Ebrahimi, Hedyeh; Fernández-Chiappe, Florencia; Ilangovan, Vinodh; Mehta, Devang; Paz-Quezada, Carolina; Riley, Julia L.; Saladi, Shyam M.; Sarabipour, Sarvenaz; Tay, Andy (2020). “Point of view: Mitigating the impact of conference and travel cancellations on researchers’ futures”. eLife, v. 9, e57032. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.57032

Woolston, Chris (2020). “Pandemic darkens postdocs’ work and career hopes”. Nature, v. 585, n. 7824, pp. 309-312. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-02548-2

Woolston, Chris (2021a). “The state of science salaries/Stagnating salaries present hurdles to career satisfaction”. Nature, n. 599, pp. 519-521. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-03041-0

Woolston, Chris (2021b). “Scientists count the career costs of COVID”. Nature, n. 599 (7884), pp. 331-334. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-03040-1

Yan, Wudan (2020). “Early-career scientists at critical career junctures brace for impact of COVID-19”. Science magazine, April 7. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.caredit.abc1291

Xing, Yanmeng; Zeng, An; Fan, Ying; Di, Zengru (2019). “The strong nonlinear effect in academic dropout”. Scientometrics, v. 120, n. 2, pp. 793-805. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-019-03135-7



Cómo citar

Nicholas, D., Herman, E., Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Watkinson, A., Sims, D., Rodríguez-Bravo, B., Świgoń, M., Abrizah, A. ., Xu, J., Serbina, G., Jamali, H. R., Tenopir, C., & Allard, S. (2022). Early career researchers in the pandemic-fashioned ‘new scholarly normality’: a first look into the big changes and long-lasting impacts (international analysis). Profesional De La información, 31(4). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.jul.18



Artículos de investigación / Research articles


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Cargando métricas ...