Julie Gould has posted a terrific Q and A with Gerjon Ikink on NatureJobs blog. The Q and A focuses on Ikink’s pending move from academic science to science policy, with a goal of fixing the ailing academic science system. It also highlights a lot of the reasons scientists are more and more becoming disillusioned with how academic science is run today. The post includes a lot of pertinent info about why scientists are leaving academia, what needs to change to retain scientists, and how scientists in policy can make these changes. Gerjon Ikink on becoming disillusioned with science:
I saw that career scientists were no longer driven by curiosity, instead they spend hours producing papers so they can get funding to keep doing their job. And in order to get funding they are evaluated on metrics like the impact factor of the journal in which they are published. Many believe that too much emphasis is placed on these metrics, and that a full evaluation should be based on more. Here I mean that it should be based on actual proposed research plans, combined with the experience and motivation of the researcher. Past successes shouldn’t (and don’t) guarantee future success in science. The successes come from plenty of money and time, motivated staff, a good infrastructure and to be honest, luck.
With the current overabundance of PhD’s and shortage of academic career options, the more scientists that go into policy and politics, the better. While academic career scientists should advocate for policies that support them, we certainly need people who have science policy as their main focus. CauseScience wishes Gerjon Ikink and other science-to-policy researchers the best of luck!