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    Could Blockchain provide the technical fix to solve science’s reproducibility crisis?

Could Blockchain provide the technical fix to solve science’s reproducibility crisis?

Blockchain technology has the capacity to make digital goods immutable, transparent, and provable. Sönke Bartling and Benedikt Fecher look at the technical aspects of blockchain and also discuss its application in the research world. Blockchain could strengthen science’s verification process, helping to make more research results reproducible, true, and useful.

Currently blockchain is being hyped. Many claim that the blockchain […]

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    What’s the point of open academic data? Redefining valuable research based on re-use and reproducibility.

What’s the point of open academic data? Redefining valuable research based on re-use and reproducibility.

The benefits of open research to both those who fund it and to wider society mean that academia is on a course which cannot be altered, or returned to a previous state. Mark Hahnel discusses the momentum behind making all research outputs openly available online and what changes may be in store for universities in this transition. Funder mandates could shift […]

The work of Walter Benjamin in the age of digital reproducibility

On the run from the Nazis in 1940, the philosopher, literary critic and essayist Walter Benjamin committed suicide in the Spanish border town of Portbou. In 2011, over 70 years later, his writings enter the public domain in many countries around the world. Anca Pusca, author of Walter Benjamin: The Aesthetics of Change, reflects on the relevance of Benjamin’s oeuvre in […]

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    Open science is all very well but how do you make it FAIR in practice?

Open science is all very well but how do you make it FAIR in practice?

Open science is about increasing the reuse of research, and making sure that publicly funded research is accessible to all. Key to achieving this is adhering to FAIR principles: ensuring the findings and data behind research results are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. Rachel Bruce and Bas Cordewener share findings from a recent report which takes stock of how […]

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    Contrary to common belief, randomised controlled trials inevitably produce biased results

Contrary to common belief, randomised controlled trials inevitably produce biased results

Much of the social and medical sciences depend on randomised control trials. But while this may be considered the foundational experimental method, a certain degree of bias inevitably arises in any trial; whether this is sample bias, selection bias, or measurement bias. This is important as the level of validity of a trial’s causal claims can be a matter […]

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    An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

Just as some journals support open science by adding badges to those research papers for which the authors have shared the data, Adrian Barnett suggests journals might similarly recognise those authors who uphold research integrity by publishing their results despite attempts at suppression or sanitisation. To do so would require evidence of the attempted suppression but ultimately draw attention […]

Funder open access platforms – a welcome innovation?

Funding organisations commissioning their own open access publishing platforms is a relatively recent development in the OA environment, with the European Commission following the Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation in financing such an initiative. But in what ways, for better or worse, do these new platforms disrupt or complement the scholarly communications landscape? Tony Ross-Hellauer, Birgit Schmidt and […]

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    Unhelpful, caustic and slow: the academic community should rethink the way publications are reviewed

Unhelpful, caustic and slow: the academic community should rethink the way publications are reviewed

The current review system for many academic articles is flawed, hindering the publication of excellent, timely research. There is a lack of education for peer reviewers, either during PhD programmes or from journal publishers, and the lack of incentives to review compounds the problem. Thomas Wagenknecht offers up some solutions to the current system, including encouraging associate editors to […]

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    Journal data sharing policies are moving the scientific community towards greater openness but clearly more work remains

Journal data sharing policies are moving the scientific community towards greater openness but clearly more work remains

Data sharing is a key part of the drive towards greater openness in scientific research, allowing readers to reproduce and confirm an article’s findings, or even reuse its data as part of a new study. Many journals have policies requiring researchers to share their data in full, with PLOS being a forerunner in this area. But how effective has […]

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    Six principles for assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

Six principles for assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

The negative consequences of relying too heavily on metrics to assess research quality are well known, potentially fostering practices harmful to scientific research such as p-hacking, salami science, or selective reporting. The “flourish or perish” culture defined by these metrics in turn drives the system of career advancement in academia, a system that empirical evidence has shown to be […]

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    The benefits of open access books are clear but challenges around funding remain

The benefits of open access books are clear but challenges around funding remain

As part of Academic Book Week 2018, last week Springer Nature hosted an event exploring open access books featuring representatives from the researcher, funder, and publisher communities. Mithu Lucraft reports on the presentations and panel discussions which revealed that the benefits of publishing open access books are clear, with more downloads, citations, and online mentions, in addition to an […]

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    Random audits could shift the incentive for researchers from quantity to quality

Random audits could shift the incentive for researchers from quantity to quality

The drive to publish papers has created a hyper-competitive research environment in which researchers who take care to produce relatively few high-quality papers are out-competed by those who cut corners so their bibliometrics look good. Adrian Barnett suggests one way to push back against the pressure to “publish or perish” is to randomly audit a small proportion of researchers […]

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    We need more carrots: give academic researchers the support and incentives to share data

We need more carrots: give academic researchers the support and incentives to share data

Making data available for other researchers to find, use, reuse, and reproduce is fundamental to open science, and ultimately makes research more efficient and effective. Yet despite funder policies that encourage and require data sharing, researchers in both the UK and the US report lower percentages of data sharing than the global average. In addition to progressive policies, Grace […]

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    Tautology, antithesis, rallying cry, or business model? “Open science” is open to interpretation

Tautology, antithesis, rallying cry, or business model? “Open science” is open to interpretation

The term “open science” is often deployed in the scholarly discourse without much thought about its meaning and use. Benedikt Fecher and Tony Ross-Hellauer unpack the term and find it to be understood in a variety of ways; as a new framework for what has always been expected of science, as a political slogan to motivate change, as a […]

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    Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

The case for open data is increasingly inarguable. Improved data practice can help to address concerns about reproducibility and research integrity, reducing fraud and improving patient outcomes, for example. Research also shows good data practice can lead to improved productivity and increased citations. However, as Grace Baynes reports, recent survey data shows that while the research community recognises the […]

Starter tips on sharing data and analysis scripts

Researchers are increasingly encouraged to make their data openly accessible and usable for others. To early-career researchers in particular, this can seem daunting, with different considerations when posting data publicly rather than retaining it solely for internal use. Katherine Wood has compiled a short open data starter guide to make the process less overwhelming and help researchers do their bit […]

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    Survey findings suggest both individuals and institutions can do more to promote open science practices in India

Survey findings suggest both individuals and institutions can do more to promote open science practices in India

How much have the open science movement’s practices and principles permeated researcher behaviour and attitudes in India? Arul George Scaria, Satheesh Menon and Shreyashi Ray have conducted a survey among researchers working across five different disciplines in India and reveal that more can be done to promote open science within its research institutions. While a majority of respondents believe open […]

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    Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research. Peer review remains the gold standard for ensuring that quality […]

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    More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

Is the problem with contemporary academia really one of constant acceleration? Ulrike Felt argues that focusing too much on acceleration overlooks a more complex phenomenon at work. What is needed is careful investigation of “time generators”, the key sites in academia that create binding temporal requirements and regulations. Many of academia’s recent reforms – to funding structures, assessment exercises, […]

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    Book Review: The Data Librarian’s Handbook by Robin Rice and John Southall

Book Review: The Data Librarian’s Handbook by Robin Rice and John Southall

In The Data Librarian’s Handbook, Robin Rice and John Southall examine the role of the data librarian, an emergent profession increasingly vital for academic libraries to support activities around Research Data Management (RDM). This is an accessible and engaging book full of interesting case studies and insights that will be essential for any information professional looking to broaden their knowledge of data […]

This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.