DION statement on NTNU’s funding of open access publishing

On January 6th, 2021, NTNU library announced that it would no longer be possible to apply for support for open access from NTNU’s publishing fund. No warning or prior announcement were made, leaving many temporary scientific employees with limited options when it came to the work they had submitted or were about to submit to a publication which publication cost (APC) was formerly covered by this fund. Meanwhile, no extension or increase of quotas have been negotiated as part of the UNIT agreement, to compensate for the loss of support from the NTNU publishing fund.  

While some faculties or departments are exploring solutions to replace the support provided by the NTNU publishing fund, other are unable to do so, leaving the cost of open access publishing to the employee, their project budget or their supervisors. It should also be noted under Plan S, many temporary scientific employees not only want to publish in open access but have to, under the funding their position is based. Moreover, due to the nature of their contract (e.g. PhD thesis) many temporary scientific employees have to get their work published in the near future and cannot afford any delays (e.g. having to withdraws and re-submit or wait for a new funding mechanism to be created next year).  

DION is greatly concerned about the inequalities between employees, departments and faculties this situation is leading to, and the risk it presents to employees whose thesis or contract depends on having their work published within the year. Therefore, DION urges NTNU faculties, NTNU board and the prorector for research to act: 

  • In the short term, DION urges NTNU to ensure equitable funding solutions for 2021 for temporary scientific employees publishing in open access publications formerly covered by the NTNU publishing fund. 
  • In the long term, DION calls on NTNU to build and extend sustainable mechanisms and agreements to support open access publishing amongst temporary scientific employees. 

New Strategy from the Government Considers PhD and Research

The Norwegian Government is proposing a new program, which among other highlights a research pilot program that aims to increase the labour market relevance of a PhD where the 4th year (“pliktåret” of a 4 year PhD with 25% work duties) can be used for more career oriented activities other than teaching. There are two ways of implementation of this goal:

a)       Practice in a business/organization/institution

b)      Work done on behalf of a business/organization/institution, doing project work for these.

Fall 2021 will see the implementation of this program.

The Norwegian Government is also in collaboration with the universities developing a strategy for research recruit and career ways, which will be public in Spring 2021. The strategy will serve as information which decisions on researcher recruitment and career development can be made by the universities. It will also focus on: temporal employment, unclear an diffuse career ways, low amount of Norwegians in technology.

Call for DION Board Members for 2021

Are you interested in a leadership position representing around 3000 of your colleagues? Do you want to influence the working situation of the academic temporary staff and get insights into how the university works?

Then the DION board could be just the thing for you!DION is the only organization at NTNU which represents PhDs, post-docs and temporary academic staff from across the university. We are a contact point for PhDs, Post-Docs and other temporary scientific staff, sit in important committees and hold social events. And now is your chance to become part of this!How can you become part of the DION board? A new board will be elected at the online annual general meeting (AGM) on the 12th of April 2021.

We encourage all PhD candidates, post-docs and temporary scientific employees from across NTNU to consider joining the board! If you are interested in running for the board, email us at post@dion.ntnu.no or introduce yourself at the meeting. A board position on DION can be credited as up to one month of duty work, or one month extension of the PhD project period; whilst the president receives two months (Forskrift om stipendiater ved NTNU, §2).The DION Board consists of 5 to 8 members, including DION president, who serve for 12 months (until spring 2022). We hold monthly board meetings and discuss wide-ranging questions we receive from PhD students, post-docs, institutes, and the NTNU Board. This is an opportunity to influence the work situation of academic temporary staff and get insights into how the university works. We also serve as an important social arena, and hold events targeted at different groups throughout the year. All PhD students, post-docs, and temporary scientific employees are eligible to run for a DION board position! What is needed from the candidates is:All candidates must be employed at NTNU as a temporary scientific employee (such as PhD student and Post-doc) and have a contract for at least until spring 2022;For the president position, Norwegian proficiency is required.

Send your short application including name, affiliation, short bio and motivation (1 page max) to post@dion.ntnu.no if you’d like to join next year’s DION Board. This information will be published on our website. It is always possible to step forward as a candidate at the AGM itself. However, due to the current situation we strongly encourage you to do this well ahead in time.

This year the AGM will take place online. Candidates will have the opportunity to present themselves. More details about the process, and the meeting link, will be uploaded shortly.

COVID-19 Extension Survey Report

In the autumn semester of 2020, DION has collaborated with SiN  and other fellow organizations across Norway and ran a short survey regarding the extraordinary difficulties provoked by COVID-19 that PhDs, Postdocs and temporary staff had to deal with. On this backdrop, the objective was to assess how the universities responded to this situation and in particular, the contract extensions. You can read the findings of the survey at national level here and the report at NTNU level here.

NTNU Board Election

To voters and prospective candidates,

The NTNU Board election takes place the week before Easter. Local elections at Faculty and Department levels follow in May-June. You must be listed in the register of voters and have at least a 50 % position at NTNU in order to vote at the upcoming elections.

Check that you are correctly listed in the electronic election system valgweb. The register of voters will not be updated after the deadline for complaints 5 March. You find the link to “valgweb” here: https://innsida.ntnu.no/wiki/-/wiki/English/Check+the+register+of+voters

Do you know someone who could do a good job on the Board? Candidates must master Norwegian sufficiently to engage in the deliberations of the Board. You find more information about the NTNU Board elections and nomination of candidates on the website for the NTNU Board Elections. Deadline for candidate proposals: 4 March.