The effects of the COVID19 pandemic on scientists

This short article of Kyle R. Myers et al. about the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on scientists is worth sharing. The survey study, although indicative and probably not statistically unbiased, is still analyzing a good amount of people in academia and research.

The general situation is definitely pretty worrying.

The good news for our problem-solving discipline(s) (maths, applied maths, cs) is that we are probably the least hit, as we are not too equipment-dependent and we were more ready to use tools of tele-colaboration. Of course, we are talking about aggregate findings that by definition hide the troubles of specific individuals.

Bad news is, though, that we and our colleagues are not affected uniformly, because one may at the same time belong to other subgroups that affect “horizontally” scientists across all disciplines (e.g. gender, having very young kids, or problems with personal space that is not sufficient or optimized for work).

The article points out a natural concern: how this situation can affect the personal careers of scientists in mid- and long-term. Even further, I would say, if we limit the discussion to our discipline(s), then the difference between those experiencing big problems (indicated as a minority) and the others that had little or no change in the time they spent working will be accumulated to highly unequal effects. Moreover, in this environment, the stress to those losing speed can be higher compared to disciplines that altogether present a slow-down.

I hope that the discussion of such collateral problems of the pandemic becomes more active among academics and scientists in the coming period and to help us have better understanding to each other and solidarity.

Figures from the survey paper