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    Using citation metrics as part of academic recruitment decisions leads to an increase in self-citations

Using citation metrics as part of academic recruitment decisions leads to an increase in self-citations

The use of citation metrics in academic hiring and promotion decisions was intended as a response to important and legitimate concerns over the meritocracy of recruitment procedures. However, evidence suggests that doing so distorts scientists’ behaviour and increases the risk that these measures become unreliable. Marco Seeber, Mattia Cattaneo, Michele Meoli and Paolo Malighetti investigated the use of citation […]

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    A PhD by publication is a great way to build your academic profile, but be mindful of its challenges

A PhD by publication is a great way to build your academic profile, but be mindful of its challenges

The PhD by publication is an option increasingly available to doctoral candidates. This model can be a great way to build an academic profile but has unique challenges of its own too. Shannon Mason and Margaret K. Merga anticipate and offer answers to some of the questions candidates considering this model might ask; including advice on co-authorship with a […]

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To move towards a more open science, we must free the data

Data sharing is a key principle of open science, and research funders are increasingly including this as a condition of grant awards. Despite this, Jessica Couture reports on research that found little more than a quarter of relevant research projects to be compliant. While there are valid reasons for certain data not to be made available – its sensitivity […]

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    Despite becoming increasing institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

Despite becoming increasing institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

The active use of metrics in everyday research activities suggests academics have accepted them as standards of evaluation, that they are “thinking with indicators”. Yet when asked, many academics profess concern about the limitations of evaluative metrics and the extent of their use. Why is there such a discrepancy between principle and practices pertaining to metrics? Lai Ma suggests […]

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    Learning to live with one another: lessons from an interdisciplinary research project

Learning to live with one another: lessons from an interdisciplinary research project

There is an increasing push from funders for researchers to undertake interdisciplinary projects. But while many want to do interdisciplinary research, few truly know quite how to. Ajoy Datta shares lessons from a recent interdisciplinary research project: understand that an ability to work well with others is as crucial as a researcher’s expertise, make time for regular collective reflection […]

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August 14th, 2018|Research methods|1 Comment|
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    Lining up the dominoes: lessons from art research on how to evidence impact

Lining up the dominoes: lessons from art research on how to evidence impact

For research to have impact is becoming more and more important, so being able to convincingly evidence that impact is a valuable skill. Lesley Brook has studied how the impact of art research was evidenced during the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and shares lessons also applicable to a broader range of disciplines. While achieving impact is not a simple […]

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August 13th, 2018|Impact, REF2014|0 Comments|
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    In the era of Brexit and fake news, scientists need to embrace social media

In the era of Brexit and fake news, scientists need to embrace social media

Despite the near-constant clamour to do so, many academics remain understandably reluctant to use social media to communicate their research. But as well as increasing the diversity of the audiences academics reach with their work, Andy Tattersall suggests social media can also serve an important purpose in the present era of Brexit and “fake news”. Social media can promote […]

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    A vicious circle of gender bias has meant differences between men’s and women’s scholarly productivity have not changed since the 1960s

A vicious circle of gender bias has meant differences between men’s and women’s scholarly productivity have not changed since the 1960s

Gender differences in scholarly productivity have proved a persistent problem. But to what extent is the situation improving for younger generations of female academics? Ulf Sandström and Peter van den Besselaar report on research showing that overall productivity for female researchers is about two thirds of male productivity, a ratio that had actually already been established by the end […]

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August 7th, 2018|Gender bias|0 Comments|
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    So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers

So you want to make an impact? Some practical suggestions for early-career researchers

One way for researchers to meet the growing requirement to demonstrate that their work has had an impact is by evidencing the degree to which it has influenced public policy. But for many early-career researchers, the practicalities of how to successfully influence policy processes can be elusive, a problem often compounded by job insecurity or by having reputation and […]

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    Beyond #FakeScience: how to overcome shallow certainty in scholarly communication

Beyond #FakeScience: how to overcome shallow certainty in scholarly communication

Recent media reports in Germany have brought renewed focus on predatory publishing practices and seen a notably increased use of the term “fake science”. But to what extent is this a worsening problem? Lambert Heller argues that predatory publishing has never really become a big thing, and that it became a thing at all is largely attributable to the simple […]

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    Embracing the chaos: by transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations

Embracing the chaos: by transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations

Issues of the scale of mass species extinctions or climate change are never going to be solved by a single discipline acting alone. Cecily Maller argues that what is needed is greater dialogue, conversation, and collaboration across the social and natural sciences, as they currently exist in their traditional, divided modes. In order to shift the binary, at times […]

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    How small open access monograph presses can make the most of an increasingly rich data landscape

How small open access monograph presses can make the most of an increasingly rich data landscape

Until relatively recently the ability to exploit new data for open access books was restricted to large publishers or content aggregators with the resources to invest in its collection, management, and analysis. However, Lucy Montgomery, Cameron Neylon, Alkim Ozaygen and Tama Leaver describe how barriers to engaging with data are falling, with open access monograph publishers now having growing […]

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    We need our scientists to build models that frame our policies, not to tell stories that shape them

We need our scientists to build models that frame our policies, not to tell stories that shape them

One of the principal ways in which research can be said to have had an impact on society is when it is judged to have shaped public policy. Storytelling is increasingly presented as an effective way of doing this, with researchers encouraged to construct narratives that point towards a clear “moral”, something to be done. Thomas Basbøll argues that […]

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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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    There is an absence of scientific authority over research assessment as a professional practice, leaving a gap that has been filled by database providers

There is an absence of scientific authority over research assessment as a professional practice, leaving a gap that has been filled by database providers

Research metrics have become more established as a means to assess research performance. This is understandable given research institutions’ and funders’ demand for assessment techniques that are relatively cheap and universally applicable, even though use of such metrics remains strongly contested within scientific communities. But to what extent does the academic research field of evaluative citation analysis confer legitimacy […]

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    Establishing trust between researchers, government and the public: proposing an integrated process for evidence synthesis and policy development

Establishing trust between researchers, government and the public: proposing an integrated process for evidence synthesis and policy development

The journey from evidence to policy is inevitably complex and frequently becomes divisive as arguments rage about the validity and worth of the evidence presented. This is especially true in the “post-truth” era, where the opinions of experts are viewed with scepticism, opposing views (and evidence) are dismissed as “fake news”, and social media algorithms have fostered an “echo […]

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    A variety of strategies and funding approaches are required to accelerate the transition to open access. But in all, authors are key

A variety of strategies and funding approaches are required to accelerate the transition to open access. But in all, authors are key

More than two decades of work towards liberating scholarly publishing from paywalled constraints has left many within the scholarly community exploring ways to accelerate the transition to open access. Not all institutions or author communities will agree upon which strategies or funding approaches to undertake, and nor do they need to. But whichever strategy is pursued, having university faculty […]

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    What can interdisciplinary collaborations learn from the science of team science?

What can interdisciplinary collaborations learn from the science of team science?

Teamwork makes the dream work, and for interdisciplinary collaborations there are many lessons to be learned from the science of team science. Suzi Spitzer shares ten such lessons here: start by assembling participants with a variety of social skills, such as negotiation and social perceptiveness; avoid jargon and make sure shared words have shared meaning; and accept that conflict, […]

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    Mastering the art of the narrative: using stories to shape public policy

Mastering the art of the narrative: using stories to shape public policy

There can be little doubt people believe narratives are important and that crafting, manipulating, or influencing them likely shapes public policy. But how does one actually do this? To Michael D. Jones and Deserai Crow, it starts by understanding the component parts of a narrative and configuring those in a way that maximises your chances of success. Setting the […]

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