Nav: Home

Study busts 9 to 5 model for academic work

December 19, 2019

An observational study of academic working hours has identified large differences in how researchers around the world manage their work-life balance.

QUT's Professor Adrian Barnett led the research which examined more than 49,000 manuscript and 76,000 peer review online submissions to The BMJ and The BMJ Open, measuring whether the submissions were made on weekends, national holidays or late at night.

The study is published in the Christmas edition of The BMJ (link), which is a special issue of light-hearted studies of health.

"Clear and consistent differences were seen between countries," Professor Barnett said.

"Chinese researchers most often worked at weekends and after midnight, whereas researchers in Scandinavian countries, which have a greater focus on work-life balance, were more likely to submit their papers during 9 to 5 on weekdays."

"The differences between countries suggest that a 'culture of overwork' is a literal thing, and not just a figure of speech," Professor Barnett said.

China, which is known to have a hard-working academic culture, was the notable leader on the table of weekend workers, both for submitting manuscripts and peer reviews to both journals in the study.

India, Denmark and Norway were the countries in which academics were least likely to work on weekends.

"Australian researchers were in the middle of the pack for most outcomes, and so were never the worst nor the best," Professor Barnett said

Professor Barnett said there were limitations to the study.

The study recorded when people submitted their papers but did not identify when the academics spent the hours in writing those papers. Other limitations included the possibility that some academics submitted their papers while travelling away from their usual time zones, and that the practices of health and medical researchers who write for BMJ may not be representative of all academics.
-end-


Queensland University of Technology

Related Research Articles:

More Research News and Research Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.