Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Junior scientists: Senior scientists as allies for equity

Asking the scientific system to fix itself from the bottom up could place an unacceptable burden on junior scientists (see J. Tregoning Nature 545, 7; 2017). Moreover, their efforts are likely to make little difference without the participation of senior colleagues.

Young researchers, especially women and those from ethnic minorities, are already forced to challenge the existing culture if they are to advance professionally. They face overt and unconscious bias, barriers to recruitment and unequal pay. They receive fewer grants and citations and must work harder for recognition than those with similar qualifications (see Nature 495, 22–24; 2013).

Such inequity could be corrected with the support of peers, as Tregoning proposes. But without higher-ranking allies, the efforts of young scientists face obstacles. To bring about change, senior scientists should couple their insight, experience and enthusiasm to that of younger colleagues. This would highlight problem areas, implement policy solutions and lead to cultural reform.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Christina Simkanin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Simkanin, C., Cawood, A. Junior scientists: Senior scientists as allies for equity. Nature 546, 352 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing