On the Postdoc Plantation

Scientists should set up some system of assurances that funded scientists must behave as ethical employers. The practice that a 60- to 100-hour work week is required or an employee will be fired while being paid for 40 hours a week is an unfair labor practice. If an employer in the private sector paid 40 hours of wages to someone forced to work 80 hours, s/he would be considered a criminal. Yet this practice goes unnoticed in science every day.

Ethical scientists on university faculties cannot compete against huge teams of scientists that generate preliminary results over the whip-scarred backs of their postdocs. These PIs with large teams of postdocs have plenty of National Institutes of Health funding, and the PI may create more problems for society than they solve for science.

Unfortunately, the unethical scientists are not likely to have read beyond the title of...

Interested in reading more?

Magaizne Cover

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?