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A Survey to Assess Issues Faced by Indian Researchers: Gap and Need Analysis

Zill-e-Anam & Shantala Hari Dass

IndiaBioscience has recently launched a nationwide survey to assess the current status of independent life science researchers in India and to create actionable insights about the same. In this article, we highlight the intent and expected outcomes of the survey. We also answer common queries related to the survey. The survey can be accessed here.

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IndiaBioscience continues and envisions to engage with independent life science researchers/​faculty as they embark their journeys of being independent researchers, settle in, lead and build research groups across India. They have been our supporters, recipients of our work and experts to guide us in our journey. 

In order for IndiaBioscience to continue serving the Indian scientific community, it is imperative that we make an effort to understand the critical needs and gaps that independent scientists in the Indian academic system currently face. For this, we have launched a long-form survey to be circulated to scientists working in life sciences across the country within our network as well as outside it. The survey contains questions on hiring and evaluation process, receiving and providing mentorship, funding, infrastructure and administrative support, and work environment. 

The results of this survey will help us assess the current status of independent researchers as well as provide us with clues on what might be some pressing issues that IndiaBioscience can help address in coming years. This will also help us tailor our activities to the needs of the community and ensure that we are focusing our attention where it is most needed. The community’s response is very important to us and we feel that this dataset would be a great resource to the Indian scientific community in the years to come. 

The survey can be accessed here: https://​bit​.ly/​F​a​c​u​l​t​y​_​S​u​r​v​e​y​_​I​n​d​i​a​B​i​o​s​c​ience

Objectives of the survey:

  1. To understand the issues/​gaps faced by independent researchers in the current scientific ecosystem.

  2. To gather suggestions on what can be done to fill these gaps.

  3. To assess whether and how IndiaBioscience has been useful to the Indian scientific community.

  4. To understand how IndiaBioscience can continue to serve as a platform to provide a voice to the scientific community.


Proposed outcomes:

  1. Based on the analysis of the data obtained through this survey, a report will be put together which can be shared with the funding bodies and other decision making bodies. This may help guide policy decisions by these bodies. 

  2. The results of the survey will help us shape the direction of our activities at IndiaBioscience.

  3. The survey and its results can be used as a starting point to understand and enquire about the status of independent researchers in disciplines beyond life sciences.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Who can participate in this survey?
    Independent Indian life science researchers or faculty members working in the area of life sciences can participate in the survey.
  2. Is it mandatory to complete the survey within a single go?
    We recognize that this is a fairly long survey, and made a conscious decision to create a single survey instead of a multiple short surveys in order to gain a holistic view of the environment that an independent researcher functions within in Indian academia, and the challenges that they face. In case you are unable to complete the survey in a single go, you can choose to submit it with partial responses, and edit it later. After completing a section, you can save your work by submitting the form and coming back to edit it at a later time. Upon submitting the form, you will receive an email confirmation which will contain the link that will allow you to edit your responses. PLEASE DON’T DELETE THIS EMAIL as it will not be possible to edit your responses without it. 
  3. How can I retrieve back my unfinished responses and complete the survey?
    You can re-commence filling or editing responses using the edit link received via the email. On retrieving the form, keep clicking next” (you should be able to see your filled in responses in these sections) until you reach the section where you breaked. Here, change the answer to the last question (“Would you like to submit the form now and come back to fill the rest later? You will need to click the link in the email you receive after submitting the form in order to edit”) to No, I would like to continue taking the survey” and then click Next.” Thereafter, you will be redirected to the subsequent section. 
  4. I have filled a few sections of the survey, will these responses be counted in?
    No, such responses will fall under incomplete data. We strongly urge you to fill in the complete survey for the responses to be incorporated in the analysis. 
  5. Is the survey open for faculty working only in the area of life sciences or biological sciences?
    Yes
  6. Can students (undergraduate, masters, PhD), postdoctoral fellows or science professionals participate in the survey?
    No, this particular survey is only for independent researchers or scientists who have their own labs and are leading research groups in India.
  7. Will I be quoted or my answers used verbatim?
    Please be aware that we take your privacy seriously. Any personally identifiable information collected through this survey (names, email ids etc.) will be kept confidential and not be shared outside the organization. For the purpose of analysis, the survey data will be both anonymized and aggregated. We will not sell, rent or exchange any personal information supplied by you with any third party. 
  8. How much time will it take to complete the survey?
    We estimate that it will take about 20 – 30 minutes to fill. 
  9. Why is the survey so long?
    We made a conscious decision to create a single survey instead of a multiple short surveys in order to gain a holistic view of the environment that an independent researcher functions within in Indian academia, and the challenges that they face. Hence, the survey is long.
  10. I think this survey is a great idea, how can I contribute beyond filling in the answers?
    We encourage you to share the survey within your network, publicize it within your institutions by putting up posters (we will be happy to provide you with these), discussing at events/​meetings and giving small talks on it. 
  11. I have queries about the survey, where can I write?
    If you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please email us at data@​indiabioscience.​org