Background: The crisis in research culture is well documented but there is still a tendency for quantity over quality, unhealthy competitive environments, and assessment based on publications, journal prestige and funding. Research institutions need to assess their own practices to promote and advocate for change in the current research ecosystem. To build an understanding of research culture and institution’s current practice, we conducted a review to address the questions ‘What does the evidence say about the ‘problem’ with ‘poor’ research culture, what are the benefits of ‘good’ research culture, and what does ‘good’ look like?
Aims: To examine the peer-reviewed and grey literature to explore the interplay between research culture, open research, career paths, recognition and rewards, and equality, diversity and inclusion, as part of a larger programme of activity at the University of Southampton.
Methods: A scoping review was undertaken. Six databases were searched along with grey literature. Eligible literature had relevance to academic research institutions, addressed research culture, and were published between January 2017 to May 2022. Evidence were mapped and themed to specific categories. The search strategy, screening and analysis took place between April-May 2022.
Results:1666 titles and abstracts, and 924 full text articles were assessed for eligibility. Of these, 254 articles met the eligibility criteria for inclusion. A purposive sampling of relevant websites was drawn from to complement the review. Key areas for consideration were identified across the four themes of job security, wellbeing and equality of opportunity, teamwork and interdisciplinary, and research quality and accountability.
Conclusions: There are opportunities for research institutions to improve their own practice, however institutional solutions cannot act in isolation. Research institutions and research funders need to work together to build a more sustainable and inclusive research culture that is diverse in nature and supports individuals’ well-being, career progression and performance.
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