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We want you… to tell us about your research

With the COVID-19 pandemic still present in our society, but now more manageable and under control, academics have been able to return to classrooms and labs. Within Academia, the pandemic has been especially difficult for ECRs, making data collecting and lab work more difficult, and for some impossible when universities and societies went into lockdown. 

For some this has worked out well but for others this proved to be more difficult. Together, these are now unique ECRs experiences that we want to know more about in order to be better prepared in the future. That’s why we here at the PLOS ECR blog want to hear from you and therefore call on ECRs all over the world to share their stories and experiences with academic life during the COVID-19-pandemic, or academic life in general, and navigating in a research community increasingly prioritizing open science and data sharing. Some topics of interest could be:

  • How was it like to do a PhD during COVID-19 lockdown and maybe defend your master thesis from home in front of a screen? 
  • Did you get the support that you needed during the pandemic? 
  • How was it to attend conferences instead of going and meet other ECRs in real life?
  • Does your university have an active discussion on open science, data sharing and transparency or is it something that you as an ECR have to navigate on your own? 
  • Are you encouraged by your university to prioritize open access journals or is it of you own choosing? 

As an outlet for promising writers who are currently studying a science discipline at the undergrad, graduate, or post-doctoral levels (up to 5 yrs. post PhD), the PLOS ECR (Early Career Researcher) Communityis a forum for the next generation of scientists and science writers. In 2016, we changed the name of this blog site on PLOS Blogs Network from The Student Blog to the PLOS ECR Community. Here we gather junior researchers’ or grad students’ experiences or research projects and overall experience of the academic journey. 

Many posts on the PLOS ECR blog have touched upon the importance of mentoring and a supportive PI; aspects that cannot be stressed enough how vital they are when trying to establish a scientific career. We have also constantly highlighted the importance of open scienceopen access, peer review and scientific engagement.

Open Science is the same as trusted science and practicing transparency in research communication and the peer review process demonstrates credibility, reduces bias, and creates trust—both in individual studies and scientific research more generally. Making each phase of the research process public empowers individual researchers to join the conversation proactively, forging new connections and contributing their insights without waiting for a reviewer invitation or an opportunity to attend a conference. 

And there is more to research than articles. Open Science practices recognize that scientific documentation isn’t merely a by-product of preparing a research article. Resources like study designs, protocols, code and methods; raw data and images; preprints, peer reviews and commentary are research in and of themselves—and researchers deserve academic credit for their contributions in these areas. 

Open Science thereby creates opportunity. When more of the research workflow is available to more people—including those outside the authors’ immediate circle, discipline, or institution—the work has the potential to inspire new creative extension and reuse, driving collaboration and advancing the field. In this process ECRs have an important role to play and to move this development further. 

Here at the PLOS ECR Community we want you give you the opportunity to share these experinces or to write more freely of your own research or a recent research study, your own or someone else’s.

Please share your ECR experience with us by contacting us at community@plos.org.

Photo from Markus Winkler on Pixabay

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