Pressures Wearing Down Researchers

The pressures of practicing science in the 1990s are taking their toll on researchers in the United States and throughout the world. Some of the evidence is clear: rising unemployment and underemployment, as well as ferocious competition for rapidly dwindling resources. Other signs, scientists say, are less obvious --increased research misconduct, sexual discrimination, disrupted family and personal lives, and the creation of "serial postdocs" with less and less of a chance of ever obtaining a

Myrna Watanabe
Sep 17, 1995
The pressures of practicing science in the 1990s are taking their toll on researchers in the United States and throughout the world. Some of the evidence is clear: rising unemployment and underemployment, as well as ferocious competition for rapidly dwindling resources. Other signs, scientists say, are less obvious --increased research misconduct, sexual discrimination, disrupted family and personal lives, and the creation of "serial postdocs" with less and less of a chance of ever obtaining a laboratory of their own.

Much of their plight is told in cold facts and figures: in reports and surveys conducted by government agencies, society task forces, sociologists, psychologists, and employment analysts. But perhaps the most compelling testimony is given by the scientists themselves, in interviews, over the Internet, and in published accounts. Some of these tales take on an almost soap opera-like quality:

An experienced biochemist becomes a victim of a pharmaceutical company merger and...

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