At the digital crossroads: How COVID-19 is changing the way researchers work

It’s been more than a year since the coronavirus pandemic brought economies around the world to a standstill — and the research sector is no exception. In a recent survey of more than 2,000 ResearchGate members, more than half of researchers surveyed reported that their work was significantly impacted by the pandemic. The results of this survey are outlined in our new report, Science hasn’t slowed, it’s just moved online.

The report explores the impact of the pandemic on STEM researchers, from changes in the work environment (more than 80% of respondents reported working from home) to job security and funding concerns. It also reveals the personal challenges many researchers are facing. The home office setting means that the boundaries between work and family life are blurred. The shift from in-person to online teaching means that many academics are spending far more time preparing lessons and online curricula. And travel restrictions stand in the way of traditional networking opportunities like conferences.
Read the report to gain more insights into the challenges researchers are facing.

New ways of working

Despite these challenges, researchers are finding ways to connect. Thirty-one percent of respondents reported spending more time collaborating than before the pandemic, and many events and conferences have moved online. The massive increase in new member signups on ResearchGate (from 1 million in 2019 to 3 million in 2020) speaks to this trend.

And while laboratory activity has declined significantly (38% of respondents reported spending less time doing experiments), researchers are still finding ways to be productive. Many respondents said they’re continuing to analyze previously collected data, and 40% reported spending more time reading scientific literature. Publishing-related activities have also picked up pace: over half of respondents said they’re spending more time writing and reviewing scientific papers.

Interested in learning more about how researchers are working during the pandemic? Read the report or watch our webinar.