Thousands of UK academics 'treated as second-class citizens"

Fresh off the press from The Guardian, the article reports on how UK academic institutions have created a pool of underpaid researchers and lecturers with little to no prospects of permanent employment and adequate retribution. This effectively creates a mass of highly-educated albeit abused academic workers who have voiced their anger and dismay.

For the full report, please click here.

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!

University.Now, an initiative concerning mid-level staff and the future of Swiss universities

Our board member Alexei Evstratov is part of the organizing committee for the event titled

University.Now, Quelle université aujourd’hui ? Forum de la relève suisse

which will be held in Lausanne on the 5th and 6th of December.

Please follow this link for more information in French and this link for more information in English.

We will post updates and further information in the coming days.