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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

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.