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A platform where PhD supervisors are reviewed

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Antonio Carusillo
Antonio Carusillo Sep 22, 2020
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Doing a PhD can be sometimes very challenging and this is accompanied also by high-stress levels. Sometimes, a PhD project is more difficult than others and in this case, the support of guidance is needed. This is the role of the supervisor, who should direct and help an early-stage scientist through this path. However, not always things go as they should. Often there can be misunderstandings between the supervisor and the fellow, leading even to a toxic relationship because of which - at the end - the PhD student either survives on his/ her own - with a great deal of stress accumulation - or he/ she reaches a point beyond which it is impossible to go on without the lack of any support and decides to give up. PhD students are characterised by an extremely high-stress level and even suicidal tendencies. What if we could develop a platform where PhD supervisors are reviewed? This, on the one hand, may help the PhD students to decide whether to go to a certain lab or not and on the other hand, it may also make more aware the supervisors themself - but also the all scientific community - that not only papers matter but also the quality of the supervision as well as the psychological welfare of the PhD students.

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General comments

Spook Louw
Spook Louw3 years ago
I don't think this has to be restricted to professors. There are many platforms available to rate and review products and businesses, but professionals seem to be able to escape this.
A platform of this kind could rate professors, lawyers, doctors, financial advisors or any person who provides a service. You'd obviously have to risk getting bad reviews from unfair customers or even competitors, but that is the norm with these types of platforms like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
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Manel Lladó Santaeularia
Manel Lladó Santaeularia3 years ago
Great idea Antonio Carusillo! I think all PhD students have thought of something like this during their PhD adventure. In Spain we used to have a similar platform for university students where there was discussion about different university teachers and courses, and people could give feedback or "warn" about some teacher being particularly "complicated". However, being university, it tended more to humor that to serious reviews. Nonetheless, I believe the platform you propose could be really interesting. Young students who want to start a PhD normally look at PIs publications, h-index and stuff like that when choosing a lab, and don't consider the extreme importante of good quality of life, good management of the lab and good motivation in order to have a successful PhD. We all think we can deal with everything, and the scary truth is that 66% of PhD students have some sort of mental disorder caused by the PhD, from depression to impostor syndrome to high stress. This leads to a high abandonment rate, and a high rate of people who finish their PhD and don't wany anything else to do with research.

A lot of that stems from a very negative culture in the academic research world which includes high pressure and expectations and negligible positive reinforcement from PIs. Knowing ahead of time what a PI is like in that front would probably help people make better choices. Additionally, by reducing the amount of people who want to work for particularly "toxic" PIs, it may force those PIs to change their methods at least a bit.

While I think the point Shubhankar Kulkarni made about current students, I can tell you most PIs have been the same for the last 20-30 years, and people who studied under them then could perfectly well write reviews to tell what their experience was like. It would be important to add a range of years in which the person was working there just to give a bit of context, but in my experience PIs don't normally change that much once something works for their interests.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
It is a good idea Antonio Carusillo ! Who would review the professor? The professor's students? Even if we make the reviews anonymous, the professor may be easily able to guess the student who wrote the review since a student is with a professor for at least 3 years and incidences that can propel a student to write a review and the reviews can be matched by the professor (they happen in a very smaller time frame than 3 years). No student will write a review regarding an incident that happened a year ago - it is pointless and the student may forget the details. Is there a way around it?
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jnikola4 years ago
The idea seems nice, it could help many! The problem would arise when an embittered student (I guess anonymously) starts the public embarrassment of a mentor. The speech of hate would not be tolerated, the same as the dislike function on Facebook was never implemented. We had similar problems in my institution and to solve it, free soft skills courses were held for both, Ph.D. candidates and mentors. They were about the techniques of a successful presentation, communication, and problem-solving. The idea could be to "force" mentors to participate in courses like that.
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Subash Chapagain
Subash Chapagain4 years ago
I think ratemyprofessors.com is something of this sort.
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