Extramural Work: To Serve or Not to Serve. Kwok, R. 523(7562):627–629.
Extramural Work: To Serve or Not to Serve [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
[Excerpt] When committees come knocking, scientists need to know which requests will benefit them and which will only steal their time nd how to tell the difference. Anastasia Ailamaki fondly remembers her first experience serving on a grant-application review committee for the US National Science Foundation [...] She credits it with helping her to prepare her own successful application for an NSF early-career-development grant. [] But like many researchers, Ailamaki has at times been overloaded with requests for her service. ” First reaction is that I'm very flattered that I have been invited,” she says. ” Second is that I realize I really don't have time, by any possible measure, to be on that committee. And the third reaction is to say yes.” [...] [] Committee work is tricky for scientists to navigate. On the one hand, it can offer many benefits: opportunities to network, learn about the state of the field, get ideas to improve research and influence funding decisions or policy. On the other hand, some researchers become overburdened – they sacrifice research time to sit in meetings, they draft recommendations that go unused or they get dragged into political disputes. And institutions may lack concrete guidelines for service requirements, making it difficult for researchers to gauge whether their workload is fair. [...] [] Junior researchers might feel obligated to accept every committee request. At some institutions, women or researchers from under-represented minorities, in particular, may be recruited more often than their peers to increase diversity on a panel, and so might feel pressure to serve as a representative voice. But before deciding, scientists should consider whether the assignment is worthwhile for them personally. ” You've got to get something out of it as well,” says Patricia Molina, head of the physiology department at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. She also chairs the National Hispanic Science Network, a virtual organization that promotes research on issues important to the Hispanic community and fosters development of Hispanic scientists. [...] [] For some scientists, the chance to influence important issues might be worth the risk of wasting time. In 2011-13, geophysicist Steve Hickman served on a committee that advised the US Department of the Interior on improving safety of offshore development of oil and gas. Hickman, who now directs the US Geological Survey Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, California, did not know whether the group's advice would be followed. ” It is a gamble,” he says. ” But if we don't get involved, decisions will be made in the absence of scientific input.” Their work paid off – some of the group's recommendations, such as setting up an ocean energy-safety institute, are now in place. [] Service can also pay off in networking opportunities. Members of a department seminar committee, for example, have a chance to invite speakers in their field whom they would like to meet. These visitors might give the scientist feedback on ongoing projects or write reference letters in the future. Serving with a professional association could enable graduate students and postdocs to meet potential employers, and organizing a conference will earn a researcher name recognition in the field. [...] [] Researchers may also volunteer for committees that appeal to them, instead of waiting for requests. ” The worst thing is to get assigned to some random committee that you have no passion for,” says Cech. Once they have chosen committees for themselves, scientists can use those service obligations as reasons to decline less-desirable assignments. [...] [] Scientists should discuss committee-service expectations during their job-offer negotiations. A supervisor might even be able to provide precise requirements. Molina expects junior researchers in her department to spend no more than 5\,% of their time on committee work; mid-level researchers are expected to spend 10-15\,%. [] Ultimately, science cannot run without service. Researchers need to review each other's proposals, contribute to professional organizations and help universities to foster strong research and student development. Faculty members who avoid all committees risk isolating themselves from the community or being perceived as slackers. ” In science, people are expected to be givers and sharers,” says Molina. Still, that is no reason to feel guilty for setting boundaries. ” I believe in participating and volunteering,” she says, ” but there's a limit.”
@article{kwokExtramuralWorkServe2015,
  title = {Extramural Work: To Serve or Not to Serve},
  author = {Kwok, Roberta},
  date = {2015-07},
  journaltitle = {Nature},
  volume = {523},
  pages = {627--629},
  issn = {0028-0836},
  doi = {10.1038/nj7562-627a},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/13689278},
  abstract = {[Excerpt] When committees come knocking, scientists need to know which requests will benefit them and which will only steal their time nd how to tell the difference. Anastasia Ailamaki fondly remembers her first experience serving on a grant-application review committee for the US National Science Foundation [...] She credits it with helping her to prepare her own successful application for an NSF early-career-development grant.

[] But like many researchers, Ailamaki has at times been overloaded with requests for her service. ” First reaction is that I'm very flattered that I have been invited,” she says. ” Second is that I realize I really don't have time, by any possible measure, to be on that committee. And the third reaction is to say yes.” [...] 

[] Committee work is tricky for scientists to navigate. On the one hand, it can offer many benefits: opportunities to network, learn about the state of the field, get ideas to improve research and influence funding decisions or policy. On the other hand, some researchers become overburdened -- they sacrifice research time to sit in meetings, they draft recommendations that go unused or they get dragged into political disputes. And institutions may lack concrete guidelines for service requirements, making it difficult for researchers to gauge whether their workload is fair. [...] 

[] Junior researchers might feel obligated to accept every committee request. At some institutions, women or researchers from under-represented minorities, in particular, may be recruited more often than their peers to increase diversity on a panel, and so might feel pressure to serve as a representative voice. But before deciding, scientists should consider whether the assignment is worthwhile for them personally. ” You've got to get something out of it as well,” says Patricia Molina, head of the physiology department at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. She also chairs the National Hispanic Science Network, a virtual organization that promotes research on issues important to the Hispanic community and fosters development of Hispanic scientists. [...]

[] For some scientists, the chance to influence important issues might be worth the risk of wasting time. In 2011-13, geophysicist Steve Hickman served on a committee that advised the US Department of the Interior on improving safety of offshore development of oil and gas. Hickman, who now directs the US Geological Survey Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, California, did not know whether the group's advice would be followed. ” It is a gamble,” he says. ” But if we don't get involved, decisions will be made in the absence of scientific input.” Their work paid off -- some of the group's recommendations, such as setting up an ocean energy-safety institute, are now in place.

[] Service can also pay off in networking opportunities. Members of a department seminar committee, for example, have a chance to invite speakers in their field whom they would like to meet. These visitors might give the scientist feedback on ongoing projects or write reference letters in the future. Serving with a professional association could enable graduate students and postdocs to meet potential employers, and organizing a conference will earn a researcher name recognition in the field. [...]

[] Researchers may also volunteer for committees that appeal to them, instead of waiting for requests. ” The worst thing is to get assigned to some random committee that you have no passion for,” says Cech. Once they have chosen committees for themselves, scientists can use those service obligations as reasons to decline less-desirable assignments. [...]

[] Scientists should discuss committee-service expectations during their job-offer negotiations. A supervisor might even be able to provide precise requirements. Molina expects junior researchers in her department to spend no more than 5\,\% of their time on committee work; mid-level researchers are expected to spend 10-15\,\%.

[] Ultimately, science cannot run without service. Researchers need to review each other's proposals, contribute to professional organizations and help universities to foster strong research and student development. Faculty members who avoid all committees risk isolating themselves from the community or being perceived as slackers. ” In science, people are expected to be givers and sharers,” says Molina. Still, that is no reason to feel guilty for setting boundaries. ” I believe in participating and volunteering,” she says, ” but there's a limit.”},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-13689278,~to-add-doi-URL,research-funding,research-management,research-metrics,rewarding-best-research-practices},
  number = {7562}
}
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