Kindness in Science
January 19, 2018 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Should we steer clear of the winner-takes-all approach? Looking to build a more inclusive culture and environment, scientists in New Zealand held a 'Kindness in Science' workshop in Dec 2017. Nature interviews seven scientists to discuss what this culture-shift would mean for them. The essay by Emily Bernhardt that helped inspire the workshop is also a fantastic read ('Being Kind').
posted by phigmov (5 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Emily Bernhardt is brilliant and tough and suffers no foolishness, but she is absolutely kind, cares hugely about young scientists, and her leadership in freshwater science the past few years has been amazing. I'm glad that she started this movement, and I'm hopeful to see where it goes.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:24 PM on January 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

This sounds lovely. It's like the no-jerks rule - one of my favourite things to hear at a job interview - but for science. I wonder if grad school will get less depression-inducing if this takes off.

Is this the Being Kind essay mentioned in the FPP?
posted by clawsoon at 5:22 PM on January 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thats the one. I actually meant to link it in the description but managed to botch the hyper-link.
posted by phigmov at 6:00 PM on January 19, 2018

When I was a research associate I was barely hanging on, working month-to-month on soft money from industry. It looked like curtains for me. Then, due to some minor help I gave a couple of international colleagues, I was made a co-author on one of their papers. It turned out to be a really good paper, and my resume suddenly looked a lot better. I managed to get a permanent job. Not a week goes by when I don't think of that kindness. Whenever I review a manuscript for a journal or get asked for a favor, I remember that.
posted by acrasis at 6:16 PM on January 19, 2018 [14 favorites]

This reminded me of a piece on the Thesis Whisperer blog a few years ago.

I work in academic philosophy, where all too often the importance of argumentative rigor is an excuse for treating each other badly. Criticism of others' work is also much more closely tied to criticism of their personal qualities or lack thereof, either because philosophy is supposedly about how intelligent someone is, or because it involves normative claims that are tied to personally held beliefs and values. Maybe more than in any other academic discipline, "cleverness is a form of currency" in philosophy, and it makes for culture of discussion that at times can feel alienating and oppressive.
posted by Desertshore at 10:31 AM on January 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

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