The Democratization of the Scientific Researcher as a profession

...who is going to play the role of mentoring, the role of adviser? And my answer, today, don’t be shocked or surprised, is YouTubers on YouTube, with their carefully crafted videos...

The past weekend I updated the contents of an article I have published, here on substack, about my path and experience as a scientific researcher and Ph.D. student.
I already commented on Facebook, when on the news feed got this news article on a Portuguese newspaper. This is my take on these matters.


The title of the news article starts like this “Balada de despedida: a insustentabilidade das carreiras científicas em Portugal“. The truth is that even I, yesterday, came to the sad conclusion, about the way it has happening mentoring and supervision of scientific works for a degree, whether it is a master's degree or a Ph.D., it simply does not work anymore. It serves no purpose at all. And I leave it here, again, this time as a conclusion, and after 12 years as a student of a dying doctorate.

Today, in 2021, I can write a high-quality scientific article and submit it for publication in any international scientific journal. Furthermore, I can do it over and over to the point in time I will only be needing to send my CV and published scientific works to get an official MSc or even a Ph.D. certificate. But that’s not all, I can also do it at any university in a foreign country of my choice. This is the reality. And it is a good one. A step forward in the democratization of scientific activities as a profession.

Some may ask, rightfully, who is going to play the role of mentoring, the role of adviser? And my answer, today, don’t be shocked or surprised, is YouTubers on YouTube, with their carefully crafted videos, about any particular subject taught at university. Don’t waste time arguing the opposite or try to find the “don’t“. You can, you should, to only arrive at the same conclusion I arrived at some years back, to the same conclusion the European commission has on their websites and portals, in particular the one about open data and the one about safety and good practices on Artificial Intelligence. Both I recommend the reader to navigate and get acquainted with the terminology used on the websites and used them to google some more, and since is 2021, YouTube some more.

And what is the secret recipe, if one? Well, be yourself when recording and upload a video session, while always googling for ways to improve here and there on the next video. Why, because of how Youtube algorithms provide video results to its users. I’m not going to go into detail today, and explain its inner workings, at the end, the result is, video results presented on a search are more than a simple relation with similar videos, the results provided also have similarities on personality style of presentation. And this alone means a faster learning pace.

Another fear, I ear many times is the one of job loss, even when I worked at a startup here in Belgium, that was the main concern of workers. What if I lose my job because of this computer I have in front of me. Well, ponder the following for a while, Youtube has, today, 2.3 billion users and you can be assured, there will be more than the current number of students, you as a teacher, have in your classroom1. With all the advantages to a student when studying and viewing a recorded class. Fast forward when is getting boring, rewind when they got distracted. The number of times needed to really get the subjects being taught.

And it isn’t over.
The next step is to open the doors of the laboratory, take down* its exterior walls, connecting its daily activities to the world outside, and at the same time gaining access to all the bits and bytes being collected everywhere and ready to be dissected the way only a scientific researcher knows how to do it. … I’ll be getting on this matters later, in the next article about this subject.

Until next time, don’t forget to share, and if possible, subscribe for fairness of work2 and a fairer economy, or instead buy me a coffee and promote at the same time open source writing.

1

Those thinking right now, but how to monetize it to make a living at it, well, click on the yellow button “buy me a coffee“ and start learning one of the possible ways to do it…at least for now. And is OK this way. Again, for now.

2

This article took me about one hour to produce