It is the time of the year for PhD. registration at Catalan universities and predoctoral researchers are being asked to pay a thesis supervision fee of 400 euros. These prices are fixed autonomously by the Generalitat de Catalunya - the Catalan autonomous government - and it has decided to increase them to a 380,95% of last year's fees (from 105€ payed last year to the current 400€).
Besides the obvious and most serious economic inconvenience this is going to cause for many if not all predoctoral researchers, these fees are absolutely unjustified, unjustifiable and abusive. On one hand they are abusive because the price of a service is being raised arbitrarily with no improvement of the service at all. On the other hand they are the last straw in the story of charging for a service that many consider almost non-existent.
Furthermore, since such high fees are being introduced only in Catalonia, they constitute an unfair disadvantage of the predoctoral researchers in Catalonia in front of the ones in the rest of Spain.
Also, these fees contribute to put annual registration out of the reach of the average predoctoral researcher and come to represent the fact that formal public postgraduate education is being reserved by the Generalitat, with an aid in the passivity of Catalan universities, for the economically privilegiate.
Even more, these fees are but a direct aggression to research, given that many candidates considering to pursue a PhD. will choose other options coming without a "droit de signeur" that in practice translates into paying for working, for carrying out a valuable work that contributes to the benefit and financial resources of research groups.
It is enough already of unfairly charging highly qualified workers that have invested their time, effort and money in being able to work for the good of society and in most cases with remarkably low incomes. Are predoctoral researchers being punished for giving their best to science and society?
Since all this has been carried out discreetly by the Generalitat and the Catalan universities, the only - though with absolute credibility - information about this matter is the DOGC - the official journal of the Generalitat de Catalunya, in its Catalan acronym. The editions that set the fees for this year and the past year are linked here, for the information and fair indignation of every predoctoral researcher.
The collective of predoctoral researchers of Catalonia has in this blog a place to centralize information from the different local groups that have started to express their disconformity with this government action and their adhesion to the initiatives that are starting to come from groups as D-Recerca and the diverse predoctoral researchers collectives of research institutes and universities.
Readers are encouraged to think about these questions:
How much does it cost for universities to keep predoctoral researchers academic files?
What do predoctoral researchers get in exchange for the newly introduced payment of 400€?
Will they get what they are suppoused to? With wich warranties?
Is this imposed fee fair?
What is that money used for in the end?