Skip to main content

Depends on Where You Trained

Where you received your doctoral degree influences whether you land that coveted faculty job. A study appearing in Science Advancesfrom the University of Colorado, Boulder's Aaron Clauset and his colleagues examined faculty-hiring networks to find that they follow a steeply hierarchical structure and that the academic system overall follows a strong core-periphery pattern.

Clauset's team collected hiring data on some 19,000 tenure-track or tenured faculty members working in computer science, business, and history departments or units.

He and his colleagues note that a quarter of the doctoral degree-granting institutions they surveyed produced between 71 percent and 86 percent of tenure-track faculty, and the top 10 schools for each field produced between about one-and-a-half times and three times more faculty members than the next tier did.

The hiring patterns Clauset's team observed indicate "profound social inequality among institutions." That is, the more prestigious the institution where faculty members received their PhD, the more likely they were to land a more sought-after faculty position, despite limited differences in educational quality.

"We're not talking about a huge difference in quality between the top-10 institutions and the next 10," Clauset says in a statement. "And yet, in terms of the ability to place people in tenure-track faculty positions, it is a huge difference."

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

In a new poll, slightly more than half of US adults have a great deal or quite a lot of trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hill reports.

Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.