1. Reviewed by PREreview
    In this preprint, Michael D. Schaller shares a cost-benefit analysis of shifting the balance of the research workforce to include more staff scientists. Proponents of this intervention (myself included) argue this would simultaneously address concerns about overproduction of trainees and also promote more durable institutional knowledge. However, the costs of employing staff scientists seem to present a serious barrier to implementation. As a consequence, an economic analysis of the type presented here is sorely needed. This paper thus represents a valuable contribution to the literature.Major pointsThe benefit calculated may be an underestimate since staff scientists likely affect the overall productivity of the laboratory. For example, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the approach taken by a group analyzing productivity at MIT, which you cite (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048733315000037). Would it be possible to implement this approach with your data?In table 5, could citations to all papers be included (not just those for first and senior authors?) Again, since staff scientists might be contributing to the general efficiency of the lab (or, as a manager of a core facility, as a significant fraction of R50 recipients are, they might not be leading research projects at all). It seems important to consider all outputs, not just those with first and senior authorship, and to emphasize this figure (rather than 'primary' publications) throughout the discussion.Minor pointsIt might be helpful for readers to highlight more prominently the use of K99 data to draw conclusions about R50 awardees.Would another label (rather than "trainees") be more appropriate for tables that include R50 awardees, as they are not trainees?Missing reference: "The workforce in the biological and biomedical sciences in academia in 2018 was comprised of 52,627 predoctoral trainees, 21,533 postdoctoral trainees and 8,250 nonfaculty researchers (ref)"
    Read the original source
    Was this evaluation helpful?