Press release: Three-quarters of PhD candidates are encouraged to participate in Open Science

The majority of PhD candidates are encouraged to practice Open Science (74.1%). This has emerged from the ninth and last report of PNN based on the PNN PhD Survey. In this survey 1,601 PhD candidates were asked about their PhD trajectory. The Open Science practice that is most often encouraged is publishing open access articles (63.3%), followed by sharing research data (34.1%).

Not all PhD candidates are equally encouraged to engage in Open Science. External PhD candidates in particular are seldom encouraged to engage in it, as are PhD candidates in law. PhD candidates in the technical sciences are most often encouraged to engage in Open Science. “The results are very promising. The report shows that the youngest generation of scientists is also engaged in Open Science. On the other hand, the results show a fairly limited view of Open Science. There is still much to be gained if open science practices other than open access publishing are also encouraged among PhD candidates” says PNN chair Rosanne Anholt.

The report further examines the criteria that PhD candidates must meet in order to obtain their title. For example, it turns out that 29% of the PhD candidates must meet criteria that have not been formally established, and that 21% do not know whether the criteria they must meet are formal or informal. The most common criteria are obtaining a number of credits (usually 30) and publishing a number of articles (2.9 on average). Whether these criteria are formal or informal does not matter for the required number of credits or publications.

PhD candidates were also asked which subjects they would like to include in the assessment of their PhD trajectory. In addition to research as a criterion, which was chosen by almost all PhD candidates, PhD candidates think teaching, coursework and valorisation should also be taken into account in the assessment of their PhD trajectory. Open Science is considered a less important criterion: only 27% of PhD students selected this option, after management tasks (44.1%) and other additional activities (35.4%).

Finally, the report shows that 60% of PhD candidates do not receive career training. More than half of those would, however, like to receive career training. Of the PhD candidates who do receive career training, the majority (51.1%) is satisfied with the training. PhD candidates often aspire to careers in research, both within (61.1%) and outside of academia (66.6%). Compared to men, women are less likely to indicate that they aspire to a career in science and more often see a career outside of research as an option.

This report concludes the publication series on the results of the PNN PhD survey. Earlier reports dealt with, among other things, the well-being of PhD candidates, contract characteristics and supervision.