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Career resources for PhD students

The PhD is used to train most research scientists around the world and provides evidence of a gruelling period of independent study. But critics say many graduate student programmes have not adapted to accommodate changes in the workplace. Do PhDs need a rethink? This collection of articles and resources from across Nature Research looks at the PhD from a range of different perspectives.

Articles

If you’re starting a doctoral programme later this year, particularly if your institution is still facing COVID-19 restrictions, Ciara O’Brien has some advice.

Career Column | | Nature

Instead of looking for PhD positions, designing your own project offers advantages and challenges, says Jesko Becker.

Career Column | | Nature

Nature’s survey of more than 6,000 graduate students reveals the turbulent nature of doctoral research.

Career Feature | | Nature

Nature spoke to three US researchers who have built academic careers after they were released.

Career Feature | | Nature

Overcoming my initial struggles after leaving China to start my PhD has been like riding a bike.

Career Column | | Nature

Taking a break from research can give you so much more than just a well-earned rest, says Janani Hariharan.

Career Column | | Nature

Podcasts

Scientific research is not the endeavour of a single person. It requires a team of people. How can this be better reflected in graduate student training, asks Julie Gould.

Nature Careers Podcast | | Nature

At Nature Research

Publications are commonly used to evaluate PhD students’ aptitude and have the appeal of a single, ‘objective’ measure. A collection of World Views in this issue, however, suggests that this creates only an illusion of true meritocracy. Not only assessments but PhD training per se require substantive improvements to benefit science and scientists.

Editorial | | Nature Human Behaviour

PhD students produce more than publications; they create a wealth of resources as a means to their research. Matt Crump, Associate Professor at the City University of New York, argues that PhDs should share these resources as portfolios that demonstrate their skills and to benefit the scientific community.

World View | | Nature Human Behaviour

Publishing novel, eye-grabbing results is rewarded in academia; whether publishing robust replications will be rewarded by graduation committees and future employers is yet to be determined. Andrea Stoevenbelt calls on committees to consider how different publications are weighed on candidates’ CVs.

World View | | Nature Human Behaviour

Evaluating PhD students by their publications may have the outward appearance of a meritocracy, but as long as students from minority groups do not enjoy the same privileges as their peers, the playing field is anything but level, argues Alon Zivony.

World View | | Nature Human Behaviour

Setting publication targets for students is corrosive for scientific culture and instils the wrong values in PhD students, argues Nick Yeung. A culture shift in PhD student evaluation criteria is needed, away from publications as the key proxy for student success.

World View | | Nature Human Behaviour