• Change Academia


  • 声明


    For better working environments and the equality of opportunities for researchers which forms the base of the sustainable society


    For a stable life for every researcher




    Change Academia works to improve the living conditions and the security standard of the research environments of postgraduate students and early career researchers (※) in order to achieve a sustainable society which respects individual dignity.


    For the equality of opportunities




    Change Academia also proposes that we must reconsider the tuition fees, scholarships, student loans, social insurance and social security under the current system so that everyone, regardless of differences such as family income, gender, sexuality, race, hometown, nationality, age and disability, can have rights to maintain a wholesome and cultured living and to the pursuit of happiness.



    ※We define early career researchers as students and scholars who are at the early stage of their research career and/or those who work in temporary academic positions.




    Change Academiaのメンバーが取材に協力し、過剰に同調化・均質化する日本のアカデミアの問題点を指摘しました。

  • なぜ?



    Why do we have to question the current working environment and research opportunities for researchers in our society?


    Q. Why do we need researchers?


    A. The research outcomes are to benefit everyone in society




    When we look around in Japanese society, it is notable that many people’s living conditions are getting worse and worse in the past few decades. One of the fundamental causes of this situation is the lack of the recognition of expertise; many of our policies have been formulated by non-experts without essential knowledge or research skills. At this moment, our society is on the verge of collapse, barely surviving thanks to the hidden experts who are making enormous efforts. So, how can we make a difference? Who are the experts? Where are they?


    Working at various academic institutions and all other places, researchers are the experts in their specialisation. Although they are often misunderstood that “staying at a university forever having fun of studying”, they are in fact, “the experts/living dictionaries researching topics which are not necessary economically rewording in a capitalist society but essential for society regarding the future and our well-being”. Therefore, respecting researchers in their fields and guaranteeing research and living environments are the essential investment for the social infrastructure which benefits everyone.


    Q. Who should do research?


    A. Everyone who wants to should have an opportunity


    研究はみんなのためのものです。日本国憲法 第23条では学問の自由が保障されています。しかし現行の仕組みでは、家庭が豊かでないと大学や大学院に進学し研究を続けることは難しいです。まして研究者になるまでとても持ちません。現在の奨学金や助成金の制度は不十分であり、高い利子付きの奨学金や学生ローンの返済に追われている人は予想以上にたくさん存在します。ジェンダー、出身地、国籍、セクシャリティ、人種、年齢、障害など、様々な差別や、特権階級が再生産されていく仕組みによって生まれた知的な成果物のみを「人類」の知の遺産であると呼ぶのは極めて歪であると感ぜざるを得ません。また、本当は研究がしたいけどお金がないからアカデミアの社会の慣習にあわなかったからという理由で研究活動から離れてしまう人が出てくるのは社会にとっても大変な損失です。誰もが平等に研究の機会や動機を持てる社会の実現を目指すべきです。


    Research is not for one but for all. In Japan, academic freedom is guaranteed by article 23 of the constitution. However, in reality, going to universities is not easy for those who cannot receive financial support from their families. Moreover, the opportunities to continue research in postgraduate schools and after completing a doctorate degree is further limited. The currently available scholarships, student loans and research grants have many limitations, and quite a few students are suffering from student loan debt.


    In addition, academic freedom is not only limited by one’s financial background but also restricted by discriminations against gender, hometown, nationality, sexuality, race, age, disability etc. As a consequence, there has been a structure in academia which reproduces and reinforces the privileged classes. How can we call the outcome produced under such unequal system intellectual heritage of “human beings”? Furthermore, the condition that losing people from academia for reasons such as the lack of finance or being uncomfortable with the customs of the academic society despite their passion for conducting research is doing society a great disservice. We must, therefore, strive for a society where everyone can have equal opportunities to conduct research and to raise motivation.


    Q. What is the current condition of postgraduate students and doctorate holders like?


    A. Many postgraduate students and early career researchers are either in poverty or decided to leave academia.



    The current situation no longer allows postgraduate students or early career researchers to hope to make a living as a researcher in the future. No matter how much they keep working hard, the availability of tenure track positions (i.e. stable permanent position) is rather limited, and many researchers are in poverty and in shabby treatment.


    Q. What is the real ability of postgraduate students in Japan? How are they evaluated?


    A. Postgraduate students are quite productive that they produce 4/1 of research papers from Japan as the first author. However, many are not financially rewarded and suffering from student loan debt.



    出典:科学における知識生産プロセスの研究-日本の研究者を対象とした大規模調査からの基礎的発見事実- 平成22年10月 科学技術政策研究所/一橋大学イノベーション研究センター共同研究チーム



    In Japan, there are about 70,000 postgraduate students, and the number of researchers is about 850,000, excluding postgraduate students. When we simply compare the number of publications, postgraduate students are about three times as productive as non-student researchers on average as 4/1 of research papers from Japan are produced by postgraduate students being the first author.


    However, the majority of postgraduate students are required to pay tuition fees and have to finance living expenses by themselves. Why are they not being paid?


    Although many countries recognise postgraduate students as labourers to engage essential research work in academic institutions, the important roles of such students are still under-recognised in Japan. As a consequence, even basic labour rights are not guaranteed for postgraduate students. Additionally, the inequality of opportunities, as well as discriminations against gender and other characteristics, are the severe issues to be recognised.


    Q. What shall we do about brain-drain?


    A. Highly skilled people are leaving from academia to unrelated jobs and/or foreign companies. This situation has been a massive loss to the Japanese economy and academic research.




    今、そんな彼らの専門性を評価し超厚遇を与え救いの手を伸ばしてくる存在がいます。GAFA[※Google Amazon Facebook Apple] です。諸先進国は皆その手の頭脳流出を恐れ、研究者に高給と十分な研究環境を整えています。もしも外国から研究者が来てくれたら、ラッキーなので高給で雇います。自国の税金を使って育てたわけでもないのに、自国の国際競争力や公益に貢献してくれるからです。せっかく育った専門家が無関係の仕事をするのはコスパが悪いので、高給を約束し専門職で活躍させます。研究者には研究をさせます。



    Despite the huge investment to ensure high educational standards, the Japanese government withdraws support for postgraduate students who are just about to become internationally competitive human resources. Subsequently, as there is no salary or social insurance during postgraduate programmes, many postgraduate students and/or doctorate holders have no other choice than working in non-academic environments (convenience stores, office work, etc.). Some of them also leave the country seeking better working environments.


    Investing on exceptional working conditions and salaries as recognising their expertise and accomplishments, dominant multinational companies such as GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) have become some of the most attractive destinations for researchers. To prevent such brain drain, many developed countries are willing to invest in high salary standards and sufficient research environments for researchers. At the same time, those countries do their best to attract highly educated human resources (i.e.researchers) from abroad as such immigrants will contribute to winning the international competition as well as to the public benefits. Considering the cost of raising highly educated human resources, countries make sure that experts work on their professions by ensuring a high salary, and researchers are encouraged to conduct research.


    To the contrary, an exactly opposite situation is observable in Japan. What shall we do?


    Q. Can we keep the policy of “selection and concentration”?


    A. Impossible.




    The economic rationality principle of the competitive market is not perfect. In Japan, governmental expenses for science and technology research as well as university grants have been reduced for the last few decades. Therefore, the competition for “selection and concentration” is more and more intensified. In addition, the government has a strong tendency to invest in “currently highly demanded research” which would bring easily recognisable benefits in the short term. Such policies are insufficient to maintain high academic standards and the base of the sustainable society. Hence, securing stable financing for academic research is essential for the sustainable society regardless of the potential of short term benefits.

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