Postdoctoral Apprenticeship Research: Past, Present and Future
The impact of postdoctoral research and the effects of postdoctoral fellowships from all over the world has increased the interest of leading universities, research institutions and the business sector in the recruitment of postdocs. The opening of new positions and the implementation of new training programs makes postdocs an important, but very particular group of scholars in the scientific community; a group who face many challenges and uncertainties. The temporal nature of postdoctoral positions transforms this category of academic researchers into scientific ambassadors and creative, independent, mobile, and engaged insiders of the global research landscape. The title of the most famous book about postdocs is “The postdoc landscape: The invisible scholar” (2018) edited by Jaeger and Dinin, however one can assert that due to the increasing attention to PhD graduate research, postdocs have definitely become visible and become one of the top topics on the research agenda. Many researchers have contributed to the overview of different aspects of the postdoctoral phenomenon in terms of policy, the labor market, the academic landscape and the economy. Features, including position specificity, career prospects, research productivity, collaboration development, non-academic options, and the commercialization of research, have been investigated by contemporary scholars. In this reading list, we offer some of the most cited, well-known, and newest articles representing the latest surveys of postdoctoral issues. Earlier scientific works focus on the study of postdocs’ backgrounds, their expectations and career prospects regarding different research fields and gender. The actual research of postdocs has moved from general to specific issues: postdoctoral research productivity, the commercialization of postdoctoral programs and postdoc technology transfer into the non-academic sector. Commercialization goals predetermine the necessity for the multiplicity of postdoctoral programs (startup postdoc program), the internationality of postdocs (scientific networks) and the improvement of postdoc support (supervision, mentoring etc.). This reading list is a useful tool for the administrative development of postdoctoral programs at universities, and other research and non-academic institutions. The papers listed below include unique autobiographical stories of postdocs published in Science and Nature. These authors, except for the paper by Nerad and Cerny, share their viewpoints and professional insights into different postdoc issues. Based on personal experience, the scholars represent the postdoc not only as an abstract subject, but also as a real living actor in academic society. Reported successes and failures of postdocs can help young researchers better plan their career and managers raise the efficacy of postdoctoral programs.