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Tell Us Something We Don’t Know

This post has been updated to correct where the original news story was published.

When the Washington Post published a front-and-center story covering the PhD job crisis — that "there are too many laboratory scientists for too few jobs," as it said — science blogs lit up with commentary.

Science's Beryl Benderly said that the reporter who wrote the story, Brian Vastag, "deserves credit for getting onto the front page a story that contradicts the prevailing media narrative" — that scientists are in short supply, and that the US ought to make every effort to train more.

At Cosmic Variance, Julianne Dalcanton says that "difficulty finding a long term academic position is not the same thing as difficulty finding a job." While the Washington Post did make mention of the low unemployment rate experienced by scientists, Dalcanton notes that information was buried. "To me, what this implies is that most of the skills mastered by PhD-level lab-based scientists are not readily transferable to other jobs, and are not easily generalized (or at least, are not perceived as generalizable by employers)," she adds.

Gene Expression's Razib Khan adds that "if a tenure track position is your goal, and you aren't going to be happy with anything else, then you should know that all things equal the odds are going to be against you." Still, he says, "in the real world everyone has to hustle now, and often it is better to hustle with a doctorate than not."

The Scan

NFTs for Genome Sharing

Nature News writes that non-fungible tokens could be a way for people to profit from sharing genomic data.

Wastewater Warning System

Time magazine writes that cities and college campuses are monitoring sewage for SARS-CoV-2, an approach officials hope lasts beyond COVID-19.

Networks to Boost Surveillance

Scientific American writes that new organizations and networks aim to improve the ability of developing countries to conduct SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Genome Biology Papers on Gastric Cancer Epimutations, BUTTERFLY, GUNC Tool

In Genome Biology this week: recurrent epigenetic mutations in gastric cancer, correction tool for unique molecular identifier-based assays, and more.