A few thoughts on the peer-review process

How does the peer-review process work? How do scientists critically review each others’ work to ensure that the most robust results and thorough analyses are published and that only the best research proposals are awarded grants? How do scientists’ papers and articles change between submission and publication? It’s a process that has advantages and shortcomings, and maybe it’s time for us as a community to try to improve it. (I’m not the only person who’s written about this stuff, and you may be interested in other scientists’ perspectives, such as Sarah Kendrew, Andrew Pontzen, and Kelle Cruz. This blog on Guardian has interesting relating posts too.)

For us scientists, writing about our scientific research and writing proposals for planned research is a critically important aspect of the job. The ubiquity of the “publish or perish” maxim highlights its significance for advancing one’s career. Publishing research and evaluating and responding to others’ publications are crucial for scientists to try to debate and eventually reach a consensus on particular issues. We want to make sure that we are learning something new and converging on important ideas and questions rather than being led astray by poorly vetted results. Therefore, we want to make the peer-review process as effective and efficient as possible.

Female researcher taking notes

For readers unfamiliar with the process, it basically goes like this: scientist Dr. A and her colleagues are working on a research project. They obtain a preliminary result—which may be a detection of something, the development of a new model, the refutation of a previously held assumption, etc.—which they test and hone until they have something they deem publishable. Then Dr. A’s group write a paper explaining the research they conducted (so that it potentially could be repeated by an independent group) and lay out their arguments and conclusions while putting them in the context of other scientists’ work. If they can put together a sufficiently high-quality paper, they then submit it to a journal. An independent “referee” then reviews the work and writes a report. (Science is an international enterprise, so like the World Cup, referees can come from around the world.) The paper goes through a few or many iterations between the authors and referee(s) until it is either rejected or accepted for publication, and these interactions may be facilitated by an editor. At that point, the paper is typeset and the authors and copy editors check that the proof is accurate, and then a couple months later the paper is published online and in print.

(In my fields, people commonly publish their work in the Astrophysical Journal, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Physical Review D, and many others, including Nature, where they publish the most controversial and provocative results, which sometimes turn out later to be wrong.)

In general, this system works rather well, but there are inherent problems to it. For example, authors are dependent on the whim of a single referee, and some referees do not spend enough time and effort when reviewing papers and writing reports for authors. On the other hand, sometimes authors do not write sufficiently clearly or do not sufficiently double-check all of their work before submitting a paper. Also, sometimes great papers can be delayed for long periods because of nitpicking or unpunctual referees, while other papers may appear about they were not subjected to much critical scrutiny, though these things are often subjective and depend on one’s perspective.

There are other questions that are worthwhile discussing and considering. For example, how should a scientific editor select an appropriate referee to review a particular paper? When should a referee choose to remain anonymous or not? How should authors, referees, and editors deal with language barriers? What criteria should we use for accepting or rejecting a paper, and in a dispute, when and in what way should an editor intervene?

Some authors post their papers online for the community on arXiv.org (the astronomy page is here) before publication while others wait until a paper is in press. It’s important to get results out to the community, especially for junior scientists early in their careers. The early online posting of papers can yield interesting discussions and helpful feedback which can improve the quality of a paper before it is published. On the other hand, some of these discussions can be premature; some papers evolve significantly and quantitative and qualitative conclusions can change while a paper is being revised in the referee process. It is easy to jump to conclusions or to waste time with a paper that still needs further revision and analysis or maybe even is fundamentally flawed. Of course, this can also be said about some published papers as well.

implications for science journalists

These issues are also important to consider when scientists and journalists communicate and when journalists write or present scientific achievements or discoveries. Everyone is pressed for time, and journalists are under pressure to write copy within strict deadlines, but it’s very important to critically review the relevant science whenever possible. Also, in my opinion, it’s a good idea for journalists to talk to a scientists colleagues and competitors to try to learn about multiple perspectives and to determine which issues might be contentious. We should also keep in mind that achievements and discoveries are rarely accomplished by a single person but by a collaboration and were made possible by the work of other scientists upon which they’ve built. (Isaac Newton once said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”)

Furthermore, while one might tweet about a new unpublished scientific result, for more investigative journalism, it’s better of course to avoid rushing the analysis. We all like to learn about and comment on that new scientific study that everyone’s talking about, but unfortunately people will generally pay most attention to what they hear first rather than retractions or corrections that might be issued later on. We’re living in a fast-paced society and there is often demand for a quick turnaround for “content”, but the scientific enterprise goes on for generations—a much longer time-scale than the meme of the week.

improving the peer-review process

And how can this peer-review system be improved? I’ve heard a variety of suggestions, some of which are probably worthwhile to experiment with. We could consider having more than one person review papers, with the extra referees providing an advisory role. We could consider paying scientists for fulfilling their refereeing duties. We could make it possible for the scientific to comment on papers on the arXiv (or VoxCharta or elsewhere), thus making these archives of papers and proceedings more like social media (or rather like a “social medium”, but I never hear anyone say that).

Another related issue is that of “open-access journals” as opposed to journals that have paywalls making papers inaccessible to people. Public access to scientific research is very important, and there are many advantages of promoting open journals and of scientists using them more often. Scientists (including me) should think more seriously about how we can move in that direction.

And the science budget debates continue…

Senator Coburn (R-OK) doesn’t like political science. (Is that why he’s retiring from politics this year? I doubt it.) In fact, he doesn’t seem to like the social sciences in general and would prefer to eliminate their funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). His recent attempt at an amendment that would restrict political science funding was defeated, but we can’t always count on that happening, especially considering Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a few others share his views. Science budgets can fluctuate year by year, which has real consequences for scientists who depend on that funding and who have students and long-term projects that require consistent funding.

A couple months ago, I participated in the Congressional Visit Day with colleagues from the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Our goal was to talk to our Congress members about the importance of stable funding and investment in scientific research, telescopes, education, and outreach, and to encourage them to make these a priority. We focused on astronomy and astrophysics funding from the NSF and NASA, though there are other relevant agencies and departments, such as the Department of Energy. Although most Congress members and their staff seemed receptive to our message (including Coburn’s staff, who had nothing against the physical sciences), unfortunately the spending restrictions and numerous budget priorities make this a particularly complicated situation. This year’s story begins with the president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget, which leaves many agencies with sub-inflation budgets (without the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative), so how will the story end? What’s a scientist to do?

Since we can agree that investing in science is critically important, we should follow the process in which these budgets are put together and negotiated. To do so though, we need to look into how the proverbial sausage is made—and it’s really more of a dubious hot dog than a gourmet bratwurst. The budget negotiation process is seemingly transparent, but to me it seems opaque in some ways and rather precarious—a good idea can get shot down and an unfortunate amendment could get stuck in the draft, for example. It’s kind of scary that the state of science in this country (and the fate of many scientists and their research programs) depends on so many unpredictable and capricious factors, though we can hope that the important issues are ironed out by the time a budget is finalized. We’re also affected by prior budget constraints, especially from the spending caps due to the Budget Control Act (which gave us the universally reviled “sequestration”).


I’ll give a brief description of the current state of affairs, but if you want more information, I refer you to the experts, especially Matt Hourihan (director of R&D Budget and Policy Program at AAAS) and Josh Shiode (Public Policy Fellow of AAS). And if you’re interested in seeing how our R&D funding compares to other countries, it shows total R&D (circle size) and as a function of GDP (x-axis) (the figure is taken from this).


First, we started with the Obama administration’s proposed FY 2015 budget request (PBR). At that point, the budget had to be negotiated by the House Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, which included a “markup” process. The bill that emerged included increases to NASA and NSF’s budgets relative to the PBR and FY 2015 as well as smaller increases to education and human resources. The NSF budget certainly could have been worse, since there were lower funding levels in the controversial Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science, and Technology Act (FIRST Act)—previously passed by the same committee—which was strongly opposed by university and science groups. The CJS bill also included small decreases to the budgets of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) relative to the inflation rate. (More details are here.)

The budget then went to the House floor in May, and a modified budget was passed at the end of the month. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA, who was defeated in a primary election) and House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) narrowly passed an amendment that reduced funding to the NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economics (SBE). In another development, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ, one of the only scientists in Congress), tried to restore funding for NOAA climate research that was cut by the Appropriations Committee, but this amendment failed. (For more details about the House budget bill, look here and here.)

The Appropriations bill also included an amendment proposed by Rep. Alan Grayson’s (D-FL) that would provide protection for journalists against compulsory disclosure of their confidential sources. “That right is recognized in 49 states, but it’s not codified at the federal level,” Grayson said. The amendment passed by a vote of 225-183.

current status

The Senate Appropriations Committee produced a modified budget bill last week and a series of reports about individual agencies. This article describes the budget differences for NASA in the Senate bill vs the House bill and vs the previous year (FY 2014). Although the total NASA budget are similar in the Senate and House bills, the Senate allocates funding within the Science Mission Directorate (SMD) differently: the Senate bill includes more for exploration and less for aeronautics, space technology, and space operations. Unfortunately, both bills have decreased funding for education, though the funding levels are not as low as in the Obama Administration’s PBR.

Fortunately, both bills rejected the President’s proposal to cut the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). The allocated funding would be enough for NASA to continue to cover its share of the operating costs. The Senate committee also provided funding for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which is planned to launch in the mid-2020s.


This article describes the Senate vs House budget differences for the NSF. Unfortunately, the Senate Appropriations Committee gave the NSF a lower funding level by 2.1% than the House, but it’s possible that this may change. I’ll also mention that a couple months ago the Senate confirmed France Córdova as the new director of the NSF. She said that better communicating the importance of the basic research that the NSF supports is one of her priorities. Córdova is an astrophysicist, the former president of Purdue University, and now the second women to head the agency.

Now the “minibus” (as opposed to “omnibus”) bill heads to the Senate floor this week, so the next steps depend on these 100 people:
(Note that the various budget bills are being considered separately; for example, Labor, Health and Human Services bill, which funds the Affordable Care Act, will be more controversial and likely will take more time.) We may see important changes and amendments in the near future, and I will try to keep this page updated. The differences between the House and Senate budget bills will need to be resolved, and that can be a contentious process. We hope that the Senate will be less stingy with NSF funding and that it will continue with the Appropriations Committee’s funding levels for NOAA and NIST. There was some disagreement about the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research’s work on climate research and ocean acidification, and these will have to be resolved as well. To be continued…

Climate Change Resilience and Governance: Preparing for the Effects of Global Warming

I just came back from Washington, DC, where I attended an AAAS meeting on Climate Change Resilience and Governance, which included speakers from local governments and federal government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), industry, and academic researchers. The meeting’s program is here. I’ll summarize the presentations and debates that I found interesting, but if there are others you’d like to hear more about, let me know. By the way, I should do this more often when I write about conferences, but the hashtag participants used is #RGR14.

First I’ll tell you what we mean by resilience and governance, then I’ll mention a couple important new developments that people talked about throughout the conference, and then I’ll tell you about some of the major issues and themes we discussed. If you don’t want to read all the details below, the major issues included these: the framing of climate change with different people; water issues, including droughts and floods; responding and recovering from disasters; and economic issues.

Before I continue, I’d also like to point out that, thanks to the efforts of the organizers, the program was very diverse, with speakers and participants with a variety of backgrounds and coming from a variety of places. In addition, women constituted nearly two thirds of the speakers, and more than 10% of the speakers were people of color. There were even back-to-back sessions of all-women speakers. (This is much better than the physics and astrophysics conferences I usually attend; see this post for more on diversity issues in science.)

key terms and definitions

If you’re interested in my previous posts about climate change issues, including an introduction to the concept and implications of climate change, look here. I and others usually focus on climate change mitigation, since we’re working to avoid the worst of climate change and reduce its many potentially harmful effects. Nonetheless, we know that the climate is changing and our planet is warming. Even with radical and politically unlikely changes to our fossil fuel-based economic system, we still have to contend with the greenhouse gases we’ve already emitted, which will warm the planet by an average of at least 1.5 or 2 C this century, according to the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Therefore, we need to adapt to the expected consequences. Let’s be clear though: we need to work on both mitigation and adaptation simultaneously (a point explicitly made by Susan Ruffo, of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality).

“Resilience” is similar to “adaptation,” though it sometimes refers to efforts to restore things back to normal after a weather-event or climate-related disaster, but as some speakers pointed out, in the future we may be adapting to a new normal. “Governance” refers to actions being taken by local, national, and international governments, and it’s of course related to politics and policy. At the meeting last week, it was Laura Petes (an advisor at OSTP) who defined these terms (and see this executive order for official government definitions).

the context

The US Global Change Research Program released its third National Climate Assessment (NCA) in May. The NCA was a major five-year undertaking by hundreds of climate scientists and is both comprehensive and detailed. It’s US focused, unlike the international IPCC reports, though both make for sober reading. It includes studies of the looming climate change effects across the US (such as effects on water resources, agriculture, transportation, urban systems, rural communities, etc.) and within particular regions of the country. (The report also received considerable media attention, such as Phil Plait’s article on Slate.) The NCA’s interactive website is very useful, well organized, and worth checking out. The last of its key findings is the following:

Planning for adaptation (to address and prepare for impacts) and mitigation (to reduce future climate change, for example by cutting emissions) is becoming more widespread, but current implementation efforts are insufficient to avoid increasingly negative social, environmental, and economic consequences.


The report includes an entire chapter dedicated to adaptation, which describes examples of actions being taken by federal agencies, states, cities, NGOs, and the private sector, and outlines the next steps, including the identification of critical adaption threshold or “breakpoints” beyond which social or ecological systems are unable to adapt to climate change.

In addition, a week ago the Environmental Protection Agenca (EPA) announced new power plant carbon standards. According to Ken Kimmell of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), this is a potential game changer. As you can see in the following graph, power plants, especially coal-fired ones, dominate our carbon emissions, and these standards could reduce those emissions by half by 2030 (to less than a million metric tons of CO2). The EPA and its administrator, Gina McCarthy, should be applauded for taking this important first step. The new standards must be combined with major efforts to ramp up renewable energy technologies and improved energy efficiency, and they will require strong leadership from the states. As argued by Vivian Thomson (professor at U. of Virginia) at the meeting, California, New York, and Washington are among the “active states” on climate change, and most of the rest of the country can do much much more.



A number of speakers argued that we should be careful about how we frame these issues when interacting with different communities and different sectors of the public. For example, some people react different when they hear “global warming” versus “climate change.” Some people can be turned off by hearing either of these, but they will be receptive when they hear about energy efficiency and ways to reduce their family’s gas and electricity bills. In addition, terms like “sustainability,” “smart growth,” and “resilience” may be too vague, but “risk reduction” in a specific context can be clearer, for example.


I’ve written before on water policy issues in the southwest , where we’re always talking about drought, but in the east, people are worried about floods and stormwater. Water issues are perhaps the most important of those facing us, and it’s no surprise that the NCA devoted two chapters to water resources and interactions between water, energy, and land use. I should note that climate change affects the food supply as well, through agriculture, fish catch, rising food prices, and so forth.


Many speakers spoke about water issues. Susan Leal (who co-authored a book, Running Out of Water) pointed out that most people take water and wastewater for granted, but maybe the shouldn’t. We should expect water rate payments to increase in the future. Pilar Thomas, who works with the Department of Energy, spoke about the water-energy nexus and the vulnerability of energy systems. She also spoke about water law and water rights, since disputes between states, tribal communities, and the private sector about water will surely increase in the future. I asked a question about preparing for future droughts, and these speakers argued that we can gain much from reduced water usage in agriculture and the food industry; water recycling in urban areas; and maybe we should try again to have “Meatless Mondays,” since producing a pound of animal protein requires, on average, about 100 times more water than producing a pound of vegetable protein (and beef is the worst).

environmental justice

I was happy and impressed that many speakers, especially Jalonne White-Newsome (WE ACT for Environmental Justice), Michael Dorsey (member of EPA’s National Advisory Committee), and Barbara Allen (professor at Virginia Tech) discussed important issues of environmental justice, injustice, and inequality. In my opinion, we don’t talk about these issues enough, and we certainly aren’t adequately addressing them. If you’re interested in learning more about environmental justice (EJ), see my recent post about the issues involved.

Currently EJ communities are not engaged in the process, argues Dr. White-Newsome, and the failure to mobilize the majority of Americans to want action on climate change is partly due to the fact that not everyone is part of the conversation. Many black, Latino, and Native American communities, as well as working class white communities, live closer to power plants, land fills, oil drilling platforms, polluting industries, etc., and are in more vulnerable areas, such as those that will be affected by rising sea levels, droughts, fires, hurricanes, and so on. Dr. Dorsey talked about the injustice of extreme weather events, such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, which should not be seen as “acts of God.” (He also had a way with words; at one point he referred to “persistent corporate sociopathy.”) Dr. Allen argued that we need endogenous ideas for transforming a community, such as when a community is rebuilding following a weather event, but if green technologies and buildings seem like too external to people, then they won’t “take” and will be less popular and successful.


A couple speakers, such as Sabrina McCormick (professor at George Washington U.) and Dr. Allen, talked about the benefits and perils of “disaster thinking.” It can be dangerous to think of climate change as a series of disasters; we might benefit from seeing the opportunities for improvement, such as by appealing to people’s self-interest. (For example, because of successful incentives, Germans now associate climate change and renewable energy with ways to make money.) Nonetheless, we can expect more weather events, flooding, and temperature extremes in the future. In fact, and this was new to me, heatwaves kill more people than all other weather events combined! Young children and people over 65, especially those on the top floors of poorly cooled buildings in dense urban areas, are among the most vulnerable. Simple solutions like white-painted roofs can save many lives.

“it’s the economy, stupid”

Finally, a few people, especially David Orr (author of seven books and professor at Oberlin), Kate Sheppard (reporter at Huffington Post), and Gar Alperovitz (writer and professor at U. of Maryland), talked about economic issues and policies. Dr. Orr discussed the relation between carbon emissions, climate change adaptation, and economic systems and unequal wealth distributions. He warned that, if the current political culture doesn’t change, “when times get rough, humans get nasty”—fairness goes out the window. Katrina is just an example of what’s to come. What will governments have to do when sea levels rise to get people out of harm’s way? It will help if we begin to think more like a community. We’re all in this together, but as it is now, the 7% richest people are responsible for half of carbon emissions, while the costs of climate change are being outsourced to the third world and future generations. Dr. Orr also asked a couple provocative questions: Is our capitalist system resilient and sustainable? Is democracy sustainable? (He asked this in the context of a point that Exxon-Mobil could legally burn all of their reserve fossil fuels and single handedly take us all past the tipping point.) While specific questions about responding to the next big storm are important, we should also be asking these big questions about systemic challenges, since climate change is likely the biggest crisis of our time.

Thoughts on the Academic Job Market in the Physical Sciences

I decided to add “Thoughts on…” at the beginning of the title to emphasize that, although I’ll present some facts, I’ll be expressing my personal opinions on the academic job market. These are my “2 cents”, and some people may disagree with them. And though there are some similar issues and concerns in the social sciences and humanities, most of my experience comes from the physical sciences, especially physics and astronomy, and I’ll focus on that. If you don’t have the time to read the whole post, my main (and obvious) point is this: for a number of reasons, the job market has been getting worse over the past decade or more, with detrimental effects to scientific research and education (and to scientists, educators, and students). This is just a brief intro to the issues involved, and I’m not sure what the best solutions might look like, but I’ll try to write about that more in another post.

Soft Money

For people with Ph.D.’s, in the past, they’d decide upon earning their degree (or earlier) whether to proceed with the “traditional” academic career or shift to another kind of career. Those who continue would consider moving to a tenure-track faculty or other long-term position at a college, university, or other institution. With the growth of “soft money, a euphemism for uncertain funding from external federal (e.g., National Science Foundation) or occasionally private sources, short-term postdoctoral positions and fellowships have proliferated. For various reasons, soft money has become a very important part of the funding landscape (see this article in Science in 2000 and this more recent article).

One consequence of this is that most people in astrophysics now need to work at two or three or even more postdoc/fellowship positions before potentially having a shot at a long-term or more secure position. In my case, I’ve already done two postdocs myself, at the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy in Heidelberg and at the University of Arizona, and now I’m a research scientist at UC San Diego and this and my previous position were funded by soft money. The job market for the tenure-track faculty positions has become increasingly worse, and it has worsened with the financial crisis. Note that there are other career options as well, such as those associated with particular projects or programs.

Another consequence is that every couple years people need to spend a considerable amount of time and effort applying for the next round of jobs. In addition, people spend a lot of time writing and submitting research grants—to try to obtain more soft money. As a result, grant acceptance rates are now very low (sometimes less than 10%) and senior positions are very competitive. All of these applications also take time away from research, outreach, and other activities, so one could argue that a lot of scientists’ time is thereby wasted in the current system.

Moreover, this system perpetuates inequalities in science, which I’ll describe more below. It also reinforces a workforce imbalance (as pointed out in this article by Casadevall & Fang) where the senior people are mostly well-known males and the larger number of people at the bottom of the hierarchy are more diverse. In addition, although it can be fun to travel and live in different places, for people in couples or with families, it becomes difficult to sustain an academic career. (See these posts for more on diversity and work-life balance issues.)

The Adjunct Crisis

The job market and economic situation at US colleges and universities has spawned the “adjunct crisis” in teaching and education. Much has been written about this subject—though maybe not enough, as it’s still a major problem. (There’s even a blog called “The Adjunct Crisis.”) The number and fraction of adjunctions continues to grow: the NY Times reported last year that 76% (and rising) of US university faculty are adjunct professors.

The problem is that adjuncts are like second-class faculty. Employers are able to exploit the “reserve army of labor” and create potentially temporary positions, but now adjuncts are relied upon much more heavily than before to serve as the majority of college instructors. According to this opinion piece on Al-Jazeera, most adjuncts teach at multiple universities while still not making enough to stay above the poverty line. Some adjuncts even depend on food stamps to get by. The plight of adjuncts received more media attention when Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct who taught French for 25 years at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, died broke and nearly homeless. Adjuncts clearly need better working conditions, rights, and a living wage.

Inequalities in Science

As I mentioned above, the current job market situation reinforces and exacerbates inequalities in science. The current issue of Science magazine has a special section on the “science of inequality,” which includes this very relevant article. The author writes that one source of inequality is what Robert Merton called the “Matthew effect,” such that the rich get richer: well-known scientists receive disproportionately greater recognition and rewards than lesser-known scientists for comparable contributions. As a result, a talented few can parlay early successes into resources for future successes, accumulating advantages over time. (If you’re interested, Robert Merton was a sociologist of science whose work is relevant to this post.) From the other side of things, we’re all busy, and it’s easy to hire, cite the work of, award funding to, etc. people who know are successful scientists, even though many lesser known scientists may be able to accomplish the same thing with that grant or position or may have published equally important work; but then more time needs to be spent to research all of the lesser known people, who can publish and still perish.

The author, Yu Xie, also points out that the inequality in academics’ salaries has intensified, some academic labor is being outsourced, and one can be effected down the road by one’s location in global collaborative networks. If one does not obtain a degree at a top-tier university, then this can be detrimental in the future regardless of how impressive one’s work and accomplishments are. We can attempt to get around this last point by spending the time to recognize those who aren’t the most well-known in a field or at the most well-known institutions but who have considerable achievements and produced important work.

“Love What You Do”

Finally, I’ll end by talking about the “Do what you love. Love what you do” (DWYL) nonsense. While this seems like good advice, since it’s great to try to follow your passions if you can, nonetheless it’s both elitist and denigrates work. (I recommend checking out this recent article in Jacobin magazine.) People are encouraged to identify with the work that they love, even if the working conditions and job insecurity shouldn’t be tolerated. The author argues that there are many factors that keep PhDs providing such high-skilled labor for such extremely low wages, including path dependency and the sunk costs of earning a PhD, but one of the strongest is how pervasively the DWYL doctrine is embedded in academia. The DWYL ideology hides the fact that if we acknowledged all of our work as work, we could set appropriate limits for it, demanding fair compensation and humane schedules that allow for family and leisure time. These are things that every worker, including workers in academia, deserve.