Perspectives

A blog series bringing together global voices on how we can tackle academic and social inequalities together

Social sciences research can play a huge role in tackling the global socio-economic disparities that have widened because of COVID-19. But to have maximum impact, the research environment must overcome disparities of its own.

In this series, experts discuss the issues around research disparities, and how the sector can evolve to enable global, diverse and underrepresented voices to be heard.

Join the conversation by sharing your experiences and opinions on how we can create change.

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How has the increase in remote working impacted mental health, connection and loneliness for academics? 

Our Time for Change 2021 report highlighted that academics are currently experiencing burnout and low energy which has been heightened over the turbulent past couple of years from a result in changes to lifestyles and ways of working through the pandemic. In this blog, we hear from Dr Janet C Kimeto on her experience of loneliness and how she overcame this.

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Is there enough support available for female academics from BAME backgrounds?

Recent online campaigns raising the profile of the work of academics of colour have brought widespread attention to universities’ failure to address the differential outcomes of staff of colour, the need to amplify academics of colour voices and the impact of universities’ colonial legacy on curricula and frame. Within the backdrop it has become increasingly clear that academics and students of colour require safe spaces to heal, regroup and share their lived experiences.

We hear from Dr Yaz Osho, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster and founder of the Black Academic Network (BAN) and Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Women in Academic Support Network (BAMEWA) on whether there is enough support available.

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What is preventing diversity on editorial boards?

For an editorial board to be effective, it must be as diverse as the research community it represents. However, in reality we are faced with boards that are still lacking representation of gender, geography and race.

In this article, we hear from Rania Sawalhi, Senior Academic Support Specialist and Lecturer in Honors Program at Qatar University, Gonzalo Díaz Meneses, Professor of Marketing, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and Sombo Muzata, a recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, on their thoughts of what is preventing diversity and what more can be done.

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What unique challenges do researchers face in developing countries and how has the pandemic affected their work?

COVID-19 has made existing socio-economic inequalities more obvious and severe. From access to healthcare, education and work, the gaps in disparities are widening. But, at a time when research is playing a pivotal part in combating the pandemic, it has also highlighted the disparities in conducting social sciences research.

We hear from Rania Sawalhi, Assistant Professor Ritu Srivastava and Professor Sigmar de Mello Rode on what it’s like to be a researcher in a developing country and whether the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges they face.

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Is COVID-19 widening the gender gap in academia? 

Women are especially vulnerable to the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. However, it is still too early to know the long-term effects, as well as the success of mitigation measures.

Dr Mariann Hardey at the University of Durham examines these issues in the context of women in academia. Drawing from existing research and her own experiences, she suggests key actions that individuals can take to address gender equality issues post-pandemic.

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How are citation metrics marginalising knowledge in developing countries

Primarily using citation metrics can marginalise knowledge in developing countries. We hear from Dr Kezia H Mkwizu and Dr Janet C Kimeto on their experience of metrics, their limitations and opportunities.

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