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Proposal to rescue postdocs from limbo draws darts

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Science  20 Apr 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6386, pp. 253
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6386.253

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  • The poorly paid postdoc problem is solvable

    I don’t understand why an expert panel cannot solve the problem of poorly paid postdocs (1). Postdocs have been paid not as salary but as stipend. Therefore, a postdoc has been essentially high-quality cheap labor for years (2). Principle investigators with institute rules are in charge of determining the postdoc payment (3, 4). In order to improve the minimum payment to postdocs, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) imposes a salary minimum for exempt employees (this includes postdocs) of $23,660 (4). In order to solve the postdoc problem, the salary minimum should be raised. We understand that the institutes would like to use high-quality cheap labor (postdoc). However, the institutes are inherently responsible for caring postdocs and their futures. In additions, we need to carefully watch the relationship between institutes and postdocs.

    References:
    1. Michael Price, Proposal to rescue postdocs from limbo draws darts, Science 20 Apr 2018: Vol. 360, Issue 6386, pp. 253
    2. Devin Powell , The price of doing a postdocs, doi:10.1126/science.caredit.a1700003
    3. Chris Woolston, Pay for US postdocs varies wildly by institution
    https://www.nature.com/news/pay-for-us-postdocs-varies-wildly-by-institu...
    4. http://futureofresearch.org/investigating-postdoc-salarie...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.