Harbingers-2 is a continuation of a world-wide project we began in 2015: Harbingers — a longitudinal study of 'digital natives', young researchers who had yet to achieve established or tenured positions. Harbingers-2 takes this work forward in association with the University of Tennessee and with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Once again we will be studying the work lives, prospects and scholarly communication, behaviour and attitude of today’s novice researchers. However, Harbingers-2 — will do so with the express purpose of discovering how the pandemic will have impacted on the cohort that constitutes a most vulnerable generation of researchers.
A study of change in ECRs' employment status, careers and scholarly communication behaviour and attitudes
An investigation that seeks to establish what the new scholarly normal is going to look like in a world of pandemic-wrought changes and to establish how the future of the scientific enterprise will unfold in these crucial and pivotal times, as seen through the lens of tomorrow’s future professors and leading scientists and social scientists. Building upon and extending the 4-year longitudinal Harbingers study of ECRs we will be studying the work lives, prospects and scholarly communication behaviours and attitudes of today’s novice researchers. However, Harbingers-2 will do so with the express purpose of discovering how the pandemic will have impacted on the cohort that constitutes the biggest and most vulnerable generation of researchers.
Thus, the longitudinal work CIBER have conducted with ECRs in helping to determine whether their millennial beliefs are changing the face of scholarly communication will be continued over the next two years (2020–2022) to include the monitoring of the effects of the pandemic and whether it is accelerating or hindering change, altering the nature of change or giving rise to additional and different changes. We shall also seek to establish how the challenges to the scholarly undertaking, brought about by the pandemic, affected the diverse populations among the ECRs and how they were dealt with in different countries: have the rich become richer and the poor even poorer? How do developed/developing countries fare in result? What lessons can be learnt from different national and institutional policies aimed at warding off the danger of the present-day cohort of ECRs being rendered the lost generation of the pandemic-riddled scholarly world? Where, in these circumstances, do ‘best practices’ lie? The study will feature three sets of repeat interviews, conducted periodically over two years with around 170 ECRs from the sciences and social sciences from the US, UK, China, France, Poland, Malaysia, Spain and Russia, capped by a questionnaire survey to scale up the interview findings to a larger and more international and discipline-diverse population of ECRs.
Impact & pressure
Writing for the LSE Impact Blog David Nicholas suggests that where pressures from the pandemic have been felt most acutely, particularly in the UK, US and France, it has often aligned with perceptions of ongoing structural issues within academia.
These are direct and personal comments from the our ‘foreign
correspondents’ regarding how they think things are in their
country in terms of the impact of the pandemic on
universities and researchers. We shall of course being investigating the
situation more thoroughly over the next two years and monitoring
change and will provides updates here.
Our eight national interviewers were asked to reflect on the past 12 months in regard to the impact the pandemic has had on their own universities and, where possible, generally also in regard to universities in their country…
Harbingers-2 Early Insights June 2021 The first round of interviews were completed in early 2021. After preparing transcipts and translations our correspondents were asked to provide an informal summary prior to encoding and analysis. This documment presents those first impressions, which vary in length and emphasis from eight countries.
Harbingers-2 has been funded by a grant (2020-14034) from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to the University of Tennessee to study the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the scholarly communication practices of early career researchers around the world.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of General Motors, the foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economic performance.