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Covid-19: Message to all actionuni members

Dear actionuni members,

The current covid-19 pandemic is putting significant pressure on academic mid-level staff members. All physical teaching has been currently suspended, yet research and administrative activities are meant to continue as before in many universities across the country.

Those of us who have school-aged children are now faced with school closure and no concrete measures for alternative care-taking options. This exacerbates the already difficult situation at work and creates much stress and anxiety in a professional category that has its fair share of both on a regular basis.

This is an aspect that, in calmer times, will have to be raised on a national level. Expecting mid-level staff to work and, in some cases and at the same time, care for children without delegating to grandparents who are at a higher risk of severe complications, is simply incoherent and frankly incomprehensible.

Given the current severity of the situation, we are suspending all actionuni initiatives that would require board members and other delegates to travel to meet, effective immediately. Similarly and as many of you have already done, we urge you to reschedule all initiatives that are not absolutely essential, to safer times.

Yesterday’s governmental press conference underlined the necessity to do all we can, together, as a community, to stop spreading this infection to the more vulnerable and fragile among us.

We all have to:

  • wash our hands frequently
  • stay home if ill
  • keep a safe distance of at least 1 meter when engaged in social interaction
  • avoid inter-generational mixing as much as possible

We recommend you to:

  • engage in home-office activities whenever possible
  • modify commuting habits by avoiding public transportation if possible
  • collaborate with department and institute heads to facilitate operations while maintaining worktime flexibility
  • make use of the many available online tools to facilitate distance learning and teaching
  • encourage others, whenever possible and in line with contractual obligations, to work from home

We urge you to keep abreast of all developments by consulting the official website of the federal department of health (BAG). New measures such as a reduction in public mobility may be put in place in the near future so we advise you to stay updated. Uni Lausanne has adopted this policy yesterday already and other universities will likely follow soon.

We from actionuni wish you all the best in these trying times and look forward to getting back to our work in a safe and normalized environment.

 

With our best wishes,

actionuni Co-Presidents

Carmen Faso, Isabel Bolliger and Rashmi Rai-Rawat

UZH Summer School on the Fundamentals of Open Data, Research Data Management, and Open Access

Exciting news from the Graduate Campus at UZH:

“Are you unsure what FAIR data is, or how to write a data management plan?

Are you wondering about copyright, or how to manage sensitive data properly?

Do you want to know more about the various Open Access roads, and how you can avoid predatory journals?

Apply for the UZH Summer School on the fundamentals of Open Data, Research Data Management, and Open Access, and navigate Open Science with confidence! The Summer School takes place at the University of Zurich from June 29 to July 3, 2020. More information can be found in the attached flyer or on the website: www.openscience-summerschool.uzh.ch/en.html

Please also see the flyer here

Frauenstreik: where do we go from here?

Last June’s Frauenstreik marked a historical chapter in the constant struggle towards equality in academic environments.

Where is this leading us and which measures are now necessary to maintain momentum towards driving change towards equal opportunities for all?

Come and join men and women in sharing viewpoints and perspectives on Friday 27. March, in the main building of UniBern, for the event:

Geschichten des Gelingens_Flyer

 

Mental health and mid-level staff: a gloomy perspective

Mental health in academic working environments has become an increasingly important topic of discussion over the past few years. This issue is especially relevant to mid-level staff since it is almost inevitably associated with career precariousness, unhealthy pressure to perform and lack of long-term perspectives.

Please follow this link to an op-ed published by our colleagues at the University of Neuchatel on Le Temps.

Further reading on this perspective can be found in this excellent article published on the Tribune de Geneve.

Eurodoc 2020, Warsaw

The Eurodoc 2020 conference will take place in Warsaw, Poland, on April 22-23, 2020. The event is organised by Krajowa Reprezentacja Doktorantów (KRD) and Eurodoc, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers with the financial support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Republic of Poland.

The main aim of the Eurodoc annual conference is to provide a platform to bring together Eurodoc members i.e. National Association (NAs), early-career researchers (ECRs), higher education policy makers, universities, funding institutions, businesses, and other stakeholders to address issues relevant to ECRs, higher education, and research. The conference is a great opportunity to meet and network with other ECRs from across Europe.

A new opportunity from the Swiss Academies of Science

An exciting opportunity for networking and mentoring for mid-level academics has been developed by the Swiss Academies of Science.

The Swiss Young Academy gives young researchers the opportunity to carry out inter- and transdisciplinary projects. With their dedication and contributions, members pursue the early identification of challenges facing society, provide solutions for these challenges, and foster a dialogue between science and society.

The Swiss Young Academy offers its members the following benefits:

  1. networking platform focused on current issues and questions related to science policy
  2. Inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration on projects related to the thematic areas of focus set by the Academies and their associated institutions
  3. Mentoring and development programmes for young academics that strengthen their skills as well as their national and international networks
  4. Greater access to equal opportunities and a heightened awareness of issues related to society and its dialogue with science
  5. Individual support during the five years of membership, coupled with the overall benefits of joint projects for scholarship in Switzerland
  6. Members function as the Academy’s contacts abroad while also representing the diversity of the scientific field in Switzerland

 

The ongoing debate between universities and publishers on open access

Swissuniversities released this statement concerning its ongoing negotiations with major academic publishers for the promotion and adoption of open access practices

The 2019 round of negotiations between swissuniversities and Elsevier, Springer-Nature and Wiley came to an end on 13 December 2019. The results are as follows:

  • Access to content published by Wiley will remain unchanged in 2020. A memorandum of understanding has been signed with this publisher, and negotiations will continue in 2020 with the aim to conclude a “Read & Publish” contract in 2021.
  • Access to Elsevier content in 2020 is guaranteed by the signature of a “Read & Publish” contract announced for March 2020.We will inform you concerning the “Publish” conditions of this contract, which should allow you to publish your articles with Elsevier in Open Access.
  • No contract with Springer-Nature.The parties have left the negotiating table without a result. From January 2020, and until further notice, Swiss universities will no longer have an agreement with Springer Nature (non-contractual status).

The non-renewal of the contract with Springer Nature could at some point imply a lack of access to works published after January 2020 (previous publications will remain accessible). However, it is worth noting that researchers from Dutch and German universities have continued to have access to publications in the past, despite facing a similar contract discontinuation situation. Furthermore, swissuniversities argues that experience abroad has shown that the publication of research results is guaranteed even without a contract.

The worst-case scenario would certainly limit the access to literature but should not fundamentally hinder your research and teaching activities. Indeed, a series of options exist that provide access to scientific resources. swissuniversities has compiled a list in collaboration with the consortium of Swiss university libraries and is available as a factsheet. swissuniversities points out that “the illegal clandestine library Sci-Hub is not mentioned, even if its private use is authorised in Switzerland”.

Follow the link to view this great resource!