* don't have time for feedback
* have no interest in their PhD students' work
* are known to steal results (and put their names on it)
* are ideologically/religiously driven and judge you and everybody else accordingly
* don't open their network to their PhD students
* jump from one hot/trendy topic to the next and burn their PhD students on it
* blame others/circumstances for anything bad
* members pride themselves for devoting their lives to the cause
* members do long work days, have little sleep
* has little budget it spends on its PhD students
* feels toxic (Sayre's Law: "Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.")
* do overtime
* rarely/never publish
* publish in irrelevant magazines
* publish with their names on the nth position (after doing all the work)
* don't or rarely attend conferences
* don't or rarely work on what they signed up for
* take long to finish (or don't finish at all)
* blame others/circumstances for their bad situation
Talk to PhD students, ask on the net, listen to speeches and lectures the professors gave.
A lot of advice given at HN about whether to join a startup applies to academia as well. Unnecessary work, little pay, vague promises, inconsistent management, insider circles. I wonder what academia's equivalent of stock options is. Aiming for tenureship perhaps?
I hated it at the time, but my lying, psychopathic "project advisor" where I got my Bachelor's in Physics did me a big favor by helping me realize the last thing I wanted was people like him in control of my life.
Related - "Don't Do For Money What Others Do For Love" - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16792942
At the moment no matter how much you protest there's a stream of chumps happy to take your spot. We need to start examining the ROI of academia the way we would for anything else demanding such a huge chunk of your life and sanity.
I cannot really recommend it, mainly because of the workload. However there are things to be learnt both from academia and from the private sector. Moreover, being a PhD student won't make you earn any real money any time soon, nor give you any valuable work experience, IMO.
> You can work on whatever you want with no pressure.
Nor being a PhD candidate, nor being a freelancer guarantee that you can work on whatever you want with no pressure. And doing both at the same time will only make things harder to manage your time and actually do it "with no pressure".
Or do you mean, just don't do research on your own?
I believe the problem is that you cannot well concentrate on either, constant switching of completely different mental tasks will be very taxing.
Also, when you're "in the flow" in one area it's difficult to suddenly switch to the other. So it's hard to manage that time split.
I can only imagine him showing off how influential his work was when he asks for more grant money... maybe he was even funding this "campaign" of his with leftover grant money as an investment...
I believe this to be a somewhat clear example of how measuring people can lead to strange behaviour and rushed work at the cost of quality.
The best solution is for a committee of disinterested objective people to make a holistic decision based on their intuition and experience.
That way, nothing can go wrong.
Granted, most of that only applies to a few fields. Still kind of sucked if you are in medicine or engineering or whatever.
But what I wonder about is if it's actually turned around and started getting worse? We certainly signal a lot that we are good today... but we have always focused a lot on signalling that we are good, it's just the trends and fashions of what makes someone good changes... Where are we actually going?
1 - https://www.propublica.org/article/how-the-red-cross-raised-...
That being said there are still labs where you can enjoy your PhD. You just need to be very thorough when talking to PIs and people in each lab about what life there is like.
That being said, I doubt that's the missing element. I'd blame it on the fact that most researchers are not free. They need the job; their peers also want the job. The brain only has so many cycles. I don't see how anyone can do their best work in a state of perpetual vigilance--so much backstabbing!
Scientists used to be natural philosophers. Rigorous philosophical discussion has been slowly removed from the sciences in favor of consensus & presenting a unified political front. Pragmatics & predetermined social agendas has taken over.
The synical side of me says: "this is by design. Science coopted to become a tool of propaganda."
Giving the practitioners of Science the benefit of the doubt: "science is not practiced in a cultural vacuum. We build models based on our common understanding & interpret results based on our models."