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Slate Tackles Tenure

Slate's Christopher Beam argues his "case for getting rid of tenure" this week. "Tenure is a bad deal not just for universities, which are saddled with its costs, but also for professors, who are constrained by its conventions," he says. In the terms of costs, Beam says that while "university debt jumped 54 percent last year," institutions would "be in the black" if they "tenured about 15 fewer professors." Beam also says that the "publish or perish" modality pushed by tenure affects students negatively. "But the clincher for the anti-tenure argument may come from the very people it is supposed to benefit," Beam writes, highlighting the career path for young academics aspiring to obtain tenure. "For men, the timeline is inconvenient. But for women who want to have children, it's just about unworkable," he writes.

Over at her blog, Female Science Professor writes, "How can someone not factor research grants or the contributions to society of research of all sorts into the equation when discussing what professors bring to a university? It seems that we just take, take, take," noting that Slate is the most recent in a series of news outlets fueling debates about the tenets of tenure.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.