Does Digitalization Contribute to Career Advancement of Early Career Researchers?

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:35
Oral Presentation
Irina GEWINNER, Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany
While most studies focus on social networks in the private sector of economy, the importance of social resources for academia, in general, and for early career researchers, in particular, is less addressed. In fact, it is postulated that networking and accumulation of social resources can also yield success in scientific career in terms of obtaining professorship or demonstrating academic achievement (Bozeman & Corley 2003, Besio 2011, Heinze 2012, Sagebiel 2014, Gewinner 2017). Yet, the issue of spatial location of social actors in creating academic networks has not enjoyed much attention so far. To this end, this contribution aims at reducing the existing research gap and seeks to explore, to what extent spatial location of early career academics affects establishment of their scientific networks and, more broadly, contributes to career advancement in academia. Do digital modes of communication and hence, diminishment of spatial distance constraints, make it less difficult to shape scientific networks and benefit from them in terms of career promotions?

This contribution exemplifies publication related networking activities of young German researches at the early career stage. German highly competitive academic labour market incorporates the scarcity of resources and a lack of employment opportunities. For this reason, the qualification phase is becoming increasingly important for a career progression. For junior scientists, this status passage is usually the key to further career advancement and professional success.

This paper extends our knowledge by investigating the effects of different types of PhD, since it takes into account individual doctorate and graduate schools. Drawing upon an interpretative research perspective, the contribution rests upon a series of telephone interviews with early career researchers in social sciences and the humanities. Additionally, it thematises gender related differences in publication strategies of young researchers.