It’s usually once a day that I browse through Twitter or other social media sites and see the word “top” connected to academia somehow. Most of the time, this word drives me completely mad. I stopped to think for a moment why that is.
Germany’s academic system is admired all over the world. It is almost entirely publicly funded, while studying at most of its higher education institutions is free of charge. However, the working conditions enjoyed by a vast majority of German academic staff do not seem to live up to the stellar reputation German science has internationally.
A a narrative reflection on the past, present, and future of the Early Career Higher Education Researchers (ECHER) network. Given its independent, informal, loosely structured, and voluntary character, we conceptualise it as an open-ended experiment in community building. We discuss the advantages, disadvantages, and challenges which accompany the said experiment.