Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Pandemic, Productivity, and Optimism

Both the productivity and mental health of scientists have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nature News reports.

A team led by Northwestern University's Dashun Wang has conducted two surveys of scientists in the US and Europe nine months to find that, early on, scientists reported a decrease in the amount of time they spent on research, but by January 2021, that largely rebounded.

However, as the team reported recently in Nature Communications, scientists have started fewer new research projects. For example, about 9 percent of scientists didn't start any new projects in 2019, but about 27 percent said didn't start any new projects in 2020. Another analysis of Brazilian researchers found that scientists of color or scientists who are mothers were especially hard hit by the pandemic's effect on productivity, Nature News adds.

Meanwhile, a survey of staff at UK institutes of higher education conducted by the charity Education Support found that about two-thirds of respondents felt emotionally drained at least once a week, Nature News says. That survey additionally found that only 17 percent of respondents felt optimistic often or all the time.

"If people are facing so much anxiety and stress and their mental health is not good, it's not the ideal circumstance to be dreaming up one's most innovative, high-impact, rigorous research-study designs for the next year," the University of Michigan's Reshma Jagsi tells it.