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    From invisibility to impact: radically different measures are needed to capture the true impact of research

From invisibility to impact: radically different measures are needed to capture the true impact of research

Academics are increasingly expected to produce directly applicable solutions to hard-to-solve “real-world” problems such as poverty, development, and environmental degradation. However, conventional assessments of science have not yet been adequately adapted to capture the diverse effects of this type of problem-centred research. Examining a prominent recent example of multidisciplinary research on consumption, environment and sustainability in Ireland, Henrike Rau, […]

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    Why going to university in the UK is still a wise investment

Why going to university in the UK is still a wise investment

The argument has been made that there is no return on investment in higher education in the UK. Whilst there is no guarantee that all graduates will have higher incomes, Dennis A. Ahlburg makes the case that for a large subset this will indeed be the case. What is important is helping students to make more informed decisions about which university to […]

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February 16th, 2018|Higher education|0 Comments|
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    Science community blogs: recognising value and measuring reach

Science community blogs: recognising value and measuring reach

Blogs have evolved into an established academic genre and a valuable forum for alternative journalism and public education. Manu Saunders draws a distinction between science communication blogs and science community blogs, with the latter offering academics the opportunity to strengthen writing skills and develop new collaborations, while also being a source of advice and mentorship for students, women, and […]

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    Without urgent action big and open data may widen existing inequalities and social divides

Without urgent action big and open data may widen existing inequalities and social divides

The juncture of big and open data informs areas as diverse as artificial intelligence, agriculture, and public health, and promises to transform our ability to tackle global challenges. However, Sabina Leonelli highlights three major concerns over how big and open data are currently managed: the unsustainable nature of the digital data landscape; the quality and credibility of the data […]

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    The RAE/REF have engendered evaluation selectivity and strategic behaviour, reinforced scientific norms, and further stratified UK higher education

The RAE/REF have engendered evaluation selectivity and strategic behaviour, reinforced scientific norms, and further stratified UK higher education

The UK’s periodic research assessment exercise has grown larger and more formalised since its first iteration in 1986. Marcelo Marques, Justin J.W. Powell, Mike Zapp and Gert Biesta have examined what effects it has had on the submitting behaviour of institutions, considering the intended and unintended consequences in the field of education research. Findings reveal growing strategic behaviour, including […]

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    Analysing Altmetric data on research citations in policy literature – the case of the University of Sheffield

Analysing Altmetric data on research citations in policy literature – the case of the University of Sheffield

One of the sources of attention Altmetric.com tracks is the number of times research outputs have been cited in policy literature. Andy Tattersall and Chris Carroll explored the case of the University of Sheffield and what the data says about the impact of its research on national and international policy. The percentage of outputs with at least one policy […]

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    More room for greater depth and detail: implications for academic research of Twitter’s expanded character limit

More room for greater depth and detail: implications for academic research of Twitter’s expanded character limit

Twitter makes its data available in real-time and at no cost, making it a popular data source for many academic researchers. Wasim Ahmed discusses some of the implications of the decision to expand the character limit from 140 to 280. Greater space makes for greater depth and detail, addressing the difficulties of interpretation that 140-character tweets would sometimes present. […]

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    Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

The difficulty of reaching practitioners and experts is one of the main challenges faced by early-career researchers in particular, and one that can overshadow fieldwork experiences and attempts to produce new knowledge. While researchers might feel that they are being ignored or treated as a nuisance by experts, the latter often have a different view of researchers’ attempt to […]

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    An emerging iron cage? Understanding the risks of increased use of big data applications in social policy

An emerging iron cage? Understanding the risks of increased use of big data applications in social policy

Big data technologies are increasingly being utilised in the field of social policy. Although big data methods and strategies are often preferred as a form of evidence-based policy development, big data techniques do not necessarily guarantee scientific objectivity. Hamish Robertson and Joanne Travaglia discuss concerns about the rapid growth in big data methods being used to inform and shape […]

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    Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

The appeal of collaborating with a government agency, or an organisation funded by one, seems obvious. It provides researchers with much needed resources and information, while also offering practitioners and policymakers a way of generating the evidence needed to design better programmes. In practice, however, it’s not always easy to make collaborative research work well. Susan Dodsworth and Nic […]

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    More data or better data? Using statistical decision theory to guide data collection

More data or better data? Using statistical decision theory to guide data collection

When designing data collection, researchers must take important decisions on how much data to collect and what resources to devote to enhancing the quality of the collected data. But the threshold for choosing better over bigger data may be reached long before the sample numbers in the thousands, write Jeff Dominitz and Charles F. Manski.

Big data has become an […]

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    “Publishing is not just about technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports.” The evolution of the megajournal as PeerJ turns five

“Publishing is not just about technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports.” The evolution of the megajournal as PeerJ turns five

As the “megajournal” has become more familiar as a concept, the term itself has come to feel more nebulous and limiting. Digital technology has enabled a shift both in the scope of published research and also in who can access it. But publishing is not just about the technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports. Jason […]

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    Male authors outnumber their female counterparts on international relations course reading lists by more than five to one

Male authors outnumber their female counterparts on international relations course reading lists by more than five to one

Do scholars produce and reproduce a biased representation of the academy when compiling their taught course reading lists? Following a year-long mapping exercise of the university’s entire international relations curriculum by a group of PhD students at the LSE, Gustav Meibauer, Kiran Phull and Gokhan Ciflikli found that male authors continue to significantly outnumber their female counterparts, with little […]

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    All journals should have a policy defining authorship – here’s what to include

All journals should have a policy defining authorship – here’s what to include

Scientific research papers with large numbers of authors have become more commonplace, increasing the likelihood of authorship disputes. Danielle Padula, Theresa Somerville and Ben Mudrak emphasise the importance of journals clearly defining and communicating authorship criteria to researchers. As well as having a policy for inclusion, journals should also indicate unethical authorship practices, clarify the order of authors at […]

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    The future for academic publishers lies in navigating research, not distributing it

The future for academic publishers lies in navigating research, not distributing it

The world of scholarly publishing is in upheaval. As the open science and open research movements rapidly gain momentum, the access restrictions and paywalls of many publishers put them at odds with growing parts of the research community. Mattias Björnmalm suggests there is one way for publishers to once again become central, valued members of the research community: by […]

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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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Do we (mis)recognise the political power of Twitter?

We are told that Twitter is the new public sphere, the place where we hold government accountable, encourage diverse voices, and provide resources for public benefit like education, healthcare, and welfare. Using the #metoo campaign as a case study, Naomi Barnes and Huw Davies question whether Twitter really is a public sphere or if it is simply a platform […]

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January 24th, 2018|Social media|2 Comments|
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    Quantity does matter as citation impact increases with productivity

Quantity does matter as citation impact increases with productivity

Many scholars are encouraged to focus on the quality not the quantity of their publications, the rationale being that becoming too focused on productivity risks reducing the quality of one’s work. But is this, in fact, the case? Peter van den Besselaar and Ulf Sandström have studied a large sample of researchers and found that, while results vary by […]

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    Adoption of open access is rising – but so too are its costs

Adoption of open access is rising – but so too are its costs

Options available to authors to make their work open access are on the rise. Adoption of open access itself is also rising, and usage of open-access materials is similarly increasing. However, alongside rising access levels another, less positive rise can also be observed: the costs of open access are increasing and at a rate considerably above inflation. Stephen Pinfield […]

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