This is a provocative post which could be appreciated or hated depending on the reader´s role or attitude.

When young researchers submit an application or a proposal, it is requested to provide a recommendation letter written by the actual or former supervisor or to provide some reference names able to support your application. In the same way at the end of a project (or during it) the supervisor must submit an evaluation of the researcher´s activity. This is good to monitor the quality of the researcher and the research but who knows about the supervisor´s activity and behavior? Is just his/her position the certification of his integrity and good quality as supervisor?

I have had many really good supervisors, and people formally supervising me who did not have any idea about supervision. I talked to many young researchers having troubles with their supervisors, needing good suggestions and not receiving any support. I was (unfortunately) witness of supervisors calling the students “monkey” and threating them as stupid people. This is a real bug for the research community. A bad supervisor is depressing and frustrating and for young researchers it could very likely end up with leaving the research activity or not starting it at all.

EU invests a lot in attracting young generations to the research field, but it takes a few days with such kind of people to give up the research.

Is there any solution?

Supervisors should be evaluated during and after research projects and these evaluations should be archived to profile them. In the same way when senior scientists apply for new positions the names of former students and postdocs should be used and called for recommendations. Good supervisors will certainly remain good, fake supervisors should be avoided.

Have you had any bad or good experience? Write it to me in private; we can collect them anonymously to track the best and worst countries/institutes according to supervisors´ attitude.