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How to grow a healthy lab

A healthy research environment is fundamental to good science. But it is an aspect that is rarely discussed. That’s partly because a lab’s ‘health’ is complex and difficult to assess — it is the product of a whole host of factors, such as inclusivity, communication, expectations and training. In this special issue, Nature explores how the working environment shapes research quality and morale — and what can be done to strengthen the research enterprise. From our survey of more than 3,000 researchers to first-hand experiences of how to nurture and improve research culture, we unpick the issues that can derail a lab and that can help make it the best place to work.

Special

  • Nature | Comment

    Academic leaders must audit departments for flaws and strengths, then tailor practices to build good behaviour, say C. K. Gunsalus and Aaron D. Robinson.

    • C. K. Gunsalus
    •  &  Aaron D. Robinson
  • Nature | Comment

    Ambiguity in expectations and evaluations harms progress, say Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton and colleagues.

    • Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton
    • , Colette Patt
    •  &  Mark Richards
  • Nature | Comment

    Nature asked scientists to recommend one thing that institutional and laboratory leaders could do to make science more productive, rigorous and happy.

    • David Norris
    • , Ulrich Dirnagl
    • , Michael J. Zigmond
    • , Katherine Thompson-Peer
    •  &  Tracy T. Chow

Researchers

Institutions