The GYA is pleased to share a new working paper titled “Reviewing research on researchers: Our knowledge of early-career researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean“, which highlights how early-career researchers (ECRs) are key players in advancing knowledge societies. The paper is a collaboration between Global State of Young Scientists in Latin America and the Caribbean (GloSYS LAC) project members and the research team consisting of Alejandro Miranda-Nieto (GloSYS LAC Researcher), Lynn McAlpine (University of Oxford and McGill University), Franziska F. N. Schreiber (GloSYS LAC Research Assistant) and Matt Keane (former GloSYS Africa and GloSYS LAC Research Assistant). Seminal input from the GloSYS LAC working group is gratefully acknowledged.
Alejandro notes that “Despite the key role of ECRs, we know little about them in Latin America and the Caribbean. The scant literature that examines them is silent about their actual experience. It is crucial to understand how different social contexts shape their careers and how they act upon those challenges. This Working Paper provides a clear agenda for future research.”
The aim of this working paper is to develop a solid knowledge base to conduct further empirical research on the topic. This review was carried out with the conviction that examining how ECRs have been addressed in the scholarly literature can help make future studies about the global state of young researchers robust, critical and insightful.
The GYA Working Paper Series is intended to facilitate the rapid dissemination of research findings and work in progress by researchers and collaborators of the GYA. These papers seek to stimulate debate among GYA members, scholars and policymakers. Since they are not refereed, their form and content are the responsibility of the authors.
Working Paper Abstract
This working paper is a systematic review of 101 articles dealing with early-career researchers (ECRs) in Latin America and the Caribbean. While the social study of science and higher education in this region has developed for several decades, the social contexts in which ECRs’ trajectories take place have been scarcely explored. In analysing the ways in which the literature has studied this issue, we found that the most dominant themes are growth and transformation in research and higher education, academic productivity and efficiency, issues in the labour market and job insecurity, international mobility and, to a lesser extent, gender and diversity. Strikingly, by examining these themes regarding the intersection between micro-, meso- and macro-dimensions of social activity and individual agency, we demonstrate that this literature is silent about the actual experience of ECRs. Thus, this literature overlooks the interactions between individuals’ capacity to act as social agents and the structural affordances and constraints that shape their career trajectories. The paper signals the most significant gaps in this body of literature, including empirical, methodological and conceptual issues, which we argue have influenced the present state of the evidence. This results in a clear agenda for future research.