Academics work for free one day a week

Academics work for free one day a week

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June 7, 2023 | The average scientist gets paid a 40-hour week but works 48 hours a day. This is higher on average for scientists and professors, according to research by ScienceGuide in the recognition and appreciation program. Some academics fear that the program will only increase the workload and blur the line between HBO and WO because the competition will be lost.





Photo: Diane Serek


Structurally, academics work an extra day per week on average. This is evidenced by research conducted by ScienceGuide in Support of the Appreciation and Appreciation Program.

Academics work an average of 48 hours per week

While respondents have an average 40-hour contract, the three sub-areas of their assignment (research, education, etc.) that are used cost them about two days. In practice, they spend an average of 17 hours on research, 16 hours on teaching and 15 hours on other activities. This means that they work an average of 48 hours – one workday more than their contractual appointment.

Although all areas take about the same amount of time, academics’ performance evaluation is based 57 percent on research, 23 percent on teaching and 20 percent on other matters.

Lots of unpaid work for scientists and professors

On average, science scientists work in more unpaid work than their colleagues in other sectors. The average number of hours they actually work is 50 hours. Of this, 19 hours were spent on research, 17 hours on teaching and 14 hours on other tasks. Incidentally, on average, science scholars report that they are willing to work a lot of extra work, even under a recognition and appreciation program.

Figure 1: The number and distribution of actual working hours.

Distinguished for each position, these are professors who perform an above-average amount of unpaid work: at least 11 hours per week. On average, they work 51 hours per week; They spend 19 hours of this on activities other than research and education.

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Academics fear they are a sheep with five legs

Then the recognition and appreciation program itself. On average, academics are positive about the scientific culture within the appreciation framework, for example about the greater emphasis on collaboration and social and psychological safety advocated by the programme. At the same time, there are concerns about the impact on work pressure.

Academics should not become sheep with five legs, as has been emphasized many times in vision documents and speeches. However, some academics fear this exact scenario. “The idea behind E&W is fine, but if we really want to be recognized for other aspects of our academic appointment (such as collaboration and impact), we need to lower expectations about other aspects (such as teaching, grant applications, and research). Otherwise, we will only increase the workloadsays one respondent.

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One respondent with a similar concern called the recognition program “just a paper exercise” that has the effect of decreasing work pressure, competition, paperwork, and control rather than reducing it. In addition, many academics warn that the program is a fork with a lot of hay. For example, they advocate limiting it to the human resources policy of universities.

“In recognition and recognition, we must recognize that not everything can be solved with a magic wand of software. Often the topics are interconnected and jumbled. Science assessment, psychological well-being and inclusion are really different areas in a work culture. Improvements can be made in both, but E&W is not a solution to everything “.

Recognition and recognition blurs the boundaries between university and higher professional education

However, the recognition and recognition software itself could still use improvement, according to many participants. For example, 35 academics indicated that implementation could be improved, 34 participants would like to see a different approach to evaluation criteria and 17 participants fear that the program allows for too much subjectivity and arbitrariness.

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“You remain very dependent on the average person judging you (whether through or with promotions Grant) In the Old Boy Network.

The problem of subjectivity for some lies precisely in the evaluation criteria. “How do you measure ‘collaboration’ and ‘leadership’?” wrote one participant. “This will lead to nepotism within universities and thus to an unsafe work environment (and that on existing power relations).”

Many respondents wrote that abandoning research as the most important evaluation criterion also meant blurring the boundaries with regard to higher professional education. In their opinion, the competition within the current sciences and the fact that the faculty members do good research and can pass it on to the students is what distinguishes the university from the University of Applied Sciences.

You shouldn’t try this in the conservative culture of science

The chance of not implementing the recognition program is considered to be non-existent or unlikely by half of the respondents. For example, respondents point to the fact that board members have their name attached to it, and that it would move forward for that reason alone.

However, about two-thirds of respondents believe that it is possible or even likely that the E&W program may not be implemented. Two percent are sure. Respondents again say that the program wants to change a lot at once. “You shouldn’t try to do this in a culture as conservative as science,” said one respondent.

“I think it’s very likely that recognition and recognition will not happen, or that it will happen very poorly. The people who benefit from the current system because they fit in so well are the people who influence politics, and don’t always see the point in it. The people with other qualities, who are useful in the world Academic, and therefore they will be appreciated by E&W, have already dropped out or never quite made it up the ladder enough to actively influence policy.

The remaining 17 percent believe it will continue, but only in a diluted form. In addition, they expect a long process. Many respondents wrote that changing behavioral patterns that have been ingrained for decades requires at least an entirely new generation.

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“It will be many years before the new one Mentality become dominant. Not much will change before there is a complete generational change.”

Recognition and value as a cover for funding shortfalls

Many respondents emphasized that the biggest problems in science are not being solved by the recognition programme. They mention the “extreme hierarchy,” “Social Security,” and the “funding model.” It can change for the better more effectively through financing tools such as Renewable grantnotes one respondent.

“Engineering and electronics are (in part) an administrative ploy to not have to talk about structural underfunding, overtime, and other abuses at the university.”


This is the third article about our research into academic attitudes toward the recognition program. The first article (on public support) and the second article (on the relationships between scientific tasks and the impact of geometry and technology on science) can be found under the hyperlinks.

Justification and more information about the search can be found at the bottom of the first article.

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