These are tough times for everybody and researchers are no exception. In the UK, for example, a recent report by Vitae suggests that although those with a doctoral qualification are more “recession proof,” they are increasingly being employed on shorter, fixed-term contracts. The Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) also found that Australian scientists are finding it difficult to find jobs in their fields of expertise after graduating, and those that do find work struggle to transition from short-term positions into permanent careers.
The difficulty is compounded by the fact that researchers have to constantly dedicate large chunks of their time to putting together grant applications, which jeopardises their ability to publish and therefore their chances of being awarded those grants.
In between projects, researchers can also find themselves denied access to published research, which is usually dependent on being employed within an institution. This could prove disastrous to their careers, as it can effectively stop their research in its tracks and make securing a job even more challenging.
This is why Elsevier is extending the Postdoc Free Access Program they piloted last year, which granted complimentary access to books and journals on ScienceDirect to 64 unemployed researchers. After taking on board feedback from researchers, Elsevier decided to expand and relax the inclusion criteria, meaning many more people will be able to benefit this time around.
If you completed your PhD within the past 5 years and don’t currently hold a research position, you have until August 31st, 2013 to apply for a Free Access Passport. You’ll need to fill in a form to verify your credentials, and you must have completed your last research position (either your PhD research or a postdoc or equivalent) on or after 31 December 2012 or have a position that will be completed before 31st August 2013. Applicants should submit a scanned image of a letter from their last academic mentor or advisor that states the position held and the date on which the position ended or will end. Once approved, you will receive a personal code granting free access to over 2,500 peer-reviewed journals and 11,000 books on ScienceDirect for up to 6 months. For more on the program and an application, visit elsevier.com/postdocfreeaccess
Read the full article on Elsevier Connect for more details on how to access the program and stories of researchers who’ve participated so far. We’d also like to hear your thoughts and suggestions on whether you think this type of initiative is helpful.