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But It's When There's Free Time

Academic researchers often work right through the holidays, the New York Times reports.

In a new analysis appearing in The BMJ, Queensland University of Technology's Adrian Barnett and his colleagues examined the timing of when researchers submitted manuscripts and peer reviews to The BMJ and BMJ Open. In all, 49,000 manuscripts and 76, 000 peer reviews were submitted between 2012 and 2019 to those journals, and the researchers found an average 0.08 to 0.13 probability for work on holidays compared with other days the same week, and average probabilities of 0.14 to 0.18 for work on the weekends.

Barnett tells the Times that activities like submitting a manuscript or reviewing a paper might be pushed to the weekends and holidays as they are less likely to be viewed as "actual work."

Additionally, he and his colleagues note that the likelihood of a researcher working on the weekend of over a holiday varied by the country, with some countries exhibiting a culture of overwork, especially China. Scandinavian researchers, by contrast, are more likely to submit during a workday.

As the Times notes, the study has a number of limitations, as it only examines two tasks academic researchers have to do and focuses on biomedical researchers, and doesn't consider career stage.