I recently wrote a blog post for the Union of Concerned Scientists as part of their annual Early Career Scientists (ECS) Month. As an ECS myself, and as a passionate science communicator, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about – providing more incentives for ECS to participate in science communication and outreach.
Nowadays, it’s incredibly hard to “make it” in the academic world – you need to spend upwards of 60 of 70 hours working every week and publish lots of papers. All of that means there’s less time for other enjoyable activities, like outreach. Currently, many positions in the academic track don’t credit outreach work. In fact, that time spent on outreach might ultimately penalize you because you ended up publishing fewer papers in the end! I strongly believe that outreach work should be rewarded and encouraged, at the very least to give back to the people whose tax dollars we’re using to do our work.