News: Walsh Paper Featured in Recent Voice of America Article

John Walsh

Posted January 28, 2019

John Walsh, School of Public Policy professor, was recently featured in a Voice of America (VOA) article on US doctoral degrees. The article discussed a study Dr. Walsh recently published on how much time scientists worked on publishing academic research. The study looked at works published by over 100,000 scientists between 1900 and 2015.

Dr. Walsh and his colleagues found that on average, it took about 35 years for half of a group of scientists in the 1960s to reach a point where they were no longer publishing academic research. Currently, it takes an average of five years, for half a group of scientists to stop publishing. Dr. Walsh explains that many people are leaving research positions at colleges and universities like the problems facing the humanities. Walsh adds that there are fewer chances for growth. 

Many research projects are larger than they were in past, but these projects continue to only be led by one researcher, usually a tenured professor. These researchers are the ones who get the most recognition for the work. Walsh says that most of the post-doctoral researchers who help with these larger projects are highly skilled. However, they are less likely to progress in their careers because they receive less attention and their positions often only last a few years. This results in them moving from project to project or even leave higher education completely.

Walsh says that failing to create special positions for researchers in higher education may push students away from seeking Ph.D.s in the first place. This could potential result in less important scientific discoveries coming from the United States.

Click here to read the Voice of America article.