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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Science Policy

Time to Tenure in Spanish Universities: An Event History Analysis
Published: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Author: Luis Sanz-Menéndez et al.

by Luis Sanz-Menéndez, Laura Cruz-Castro, Kenedy Alva

Understanding how institutional incentives and mechanisms for assigning recognition shape access to a permanent job is important. This study, based on data from questionnaire survey responses and publications of 1,257 university science, biomedical and engineering faculty in Spain, attempts to understand the timing of getting a permanent position and the relevant factors that account for this transition, in the context of dilemmas between mobility and permanence faced by organizations. Using event history analysis, the paper looks at the time to promotion and the effects of some relevant covariates associated to academic performance, social embeddedness and mobility. We find that research productivity contributes to career acceleration, but that other variables are also significantly associated to a faster transition. Factors associated to the social elements of academic life also play a role in reducing the time from PhD graduation to tenure. However, mobility significantly increases the duration of the non-tenure stage. In contrast with previous findings, the role of sex is minor. The variations in the length of time to promotion across different scientific domains is confirmed, with faster career advancement for those in the Engineering and Technological Sciences compared with academics in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Results show clear effects of seniority, and rewards to loyalty, in addition to some measurements of performance and quality of the university granting the PhD, as key elements speeding up career advancement. Findings suggest the existence of a system based on granting early permanent jobs to those that combine social embeddedness and team integration with some good credentials regarding past and potential future performance, rather than high levels of mobility.
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