As an academic, I have seen some of the overly critical environment that can exist within academia. It’s a world that focuses solely on publications and work, often at the expense of everything else.
This environment is not just unhelpful, it can also be unwelcoming for many new (and old) scholars.
In today’s world, we are facing a credibility crisis in science. There is a growing concern that scientific research is not as “reliable” and “valid” as it should be. This crisis is not just about the reproducibility of research, but also about the way we interact with one another as scientists. We need to be more focused on building up each other’s ideas and suggesting ways to build on what we already know, rather than tearing them down.
What To Do?
While being part of a union or collective action can be one way to create a positive change in academia, I have chosen a different path. I believe that inspiration and encouragement can be powerful tools to create value in the academic community.
Instead of focusing on protecting the value I already possess, I want to focus on creating new value by inspiring and encouraging others. By fostering a culture of support and collaboration, we can create a community where everyone can thrive and contribute their best work. I believe that this approach can help us create a positive change in academia that benefits everyone.
Creating a positive and supportive environment in academia is not just about making things cheery. It’s about creating a culture of excellence and collaboration. I know this is very difficult to do, and it is perhaps easier to be part of the zero-sum game. But, I think what we need to do is support each other to do our best work and push the boundaries of what we know.
We Need Courage To Be Appear To Be Silly And Out-Of-Place
It’s about being courageous enough to speak openly about the problems we face and working together to find solutions. This is hard to do – tenure and Keeping up with the Jones in academia means we should not look silly or have ‘wrong’ answers.
We seem to be more interested in demoting others’ ideas, rather than building them up and suggesting how we can build on what we already know.
As a result, we’ve created a culture of overwork and a lack of “psychological safety” to openly talk about the problems we face.
I am David Maslach, a professor of innovation, and I want to speak openly about the problems we face in academia. It takes courage to do so, but we need to admit that we are struggling to explore and encourage others to “do good science.”
There are no academic outlets to encourage and inspire others, and this is a problem that we need to address.
Hence, the R3ciprocity Project.
How Did The R3ciprocity Project Begin?
As I marketed the technical aspects of r3ciprocity.com, I became aware that the most trafficked articles and YouTube videos were those dealing with the psychological safety of academics and PhD students. By accident, I realized that many of us are lacking inspiration and encouragement.
Then I thought about my times in the profession. Almost always, it was not a technical problem, but a problem of lack of encouragement against a rather cruel and unforgiving academic market.
Inspiration And Support
We need to be more proactive in providing inspiration and support for those in academia.
This is where r3ciprocity.com comes in. I want to be the academic resource that encourages, inspires, and provides technical solutions so that others can do good science. I want to create a community where academics can connect, support one another, and feel safe to discuss the issues they face.
Let’s strive to create a more positive and supportive environment in academia. Let’s prioritize doing good science over merely publishing papers. I know that this is a challenge to figure out, but just focus on the effort of doing good science and you will eventually get there.
I don’t know what it even means to do “good science,” but I know it takes a lot of work and a de-emphasis on the external rewards of science. Yes, I know that careers, incomes, and families are tied to the external rewards of science.
However, we will never get very far if the only thing we focus on is on the counts of publications we have, or the citations we get.
I also know it is hard to do. It is very difficult to ignore recognition (or the lack thereof, for many of us).
Doing good science is somewhat of a blatant “disregard” of the outside world, and its silly metrics, as Richard Feynman used to say.
We need to encourage and support one another to ensure that we are doing the best science we can.
Let’s make r3ciprocity.com the platform where we can all come together and create a community of support and inspiration. The Project needs your help to spread the word, to contribute, and to pass on good karma to others.
Let’s remember to “Just Do Good Science.”