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    Against REFonomics: Quantification cannot satisfy the demands of rationality, equity and tolerability.

Against REFonomics: Quantification cannot satisfy the demands of rationality, equity and tolerability.

Academics are assured by government ministers and institutional heads that research assessment is designed on their behalf. Liz Morrish looks at whether the assessment tools created have extended their reach and left academics exposed. At its best, the REF distorts research agendas and priorities. However, a graver hazard is that a new selective and competitive academic will be formed, whose […]

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    UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

The UK government’s Science and Innovation Strategy released earlier this week fails to recognise the challenges facing UK research sustainability. Athene Donald considers the enthusiastic spin in light of wider funding issues. Surprisingly, a new review of the research councils is suggested. More effective cross-council working is certainly needed, but an overhaul or further consolidation could do more harm than good.

There has […]

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    In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

Love it or loathe it, impact is fast becoming the buzz word in UK academia.  To coincide with the release of the REF2014 results on 18 December 2014, which will demonstrate how well (or otherwise) UK academia is creating impact from its research beyond the academy, LSE is joining the growing number of UK higher education institutions to showcase […]

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    Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Head of Research Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Steven Hill, presents an overview of the work HEFCE are currently commissioning which they are hoping will build a robust evidence base for research assessment. He argues that attention on the costs, benefits, problems and solutions of the REF are an obvious starting point, but it is also important that the […]

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    Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Can metrics be used instead of peer review for REF-type assessments? With the stakes so high, any replacement would have to be extremely accurate. Olesya Mryglod, Ralph Kenna, Yurij Holovatch and Bertrand Berche looked at two metric candidates, including the departmental h-index, and four subject areas: biology, chemistry, physics and sociology. The correlations are significant, but comparisons with RAE indicate that […]

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    Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Zoë Sheppard, Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijlingen and Paul Thompson of Bournemouth University present the challenges of impact in healthcare recently discussed at a symposium held by the Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education at Bournemouth University. Given the imminent results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the summarised findings and issues raised on the implementation of impact point to further collaborations needed on […]

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December 15th, 2014|Government, Impact, REF 2014|0 Comments|
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    Book Review: Sharing Our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media by David R. Brake

Book Review: Sharing Our Lives Online: Risks and Exposure in Social Media by David R. Brake

The growth of social media sees us heading towards a radically open society. David R. Brake aims to provide an overview of the harms that can be posed by unwary social media use for both adults and children. He then draws on in-depth interviews, and a range of related theories of human behaviour to consider why this happens. This […]

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    Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Matt Vidal calls for clear distinctions to be made between qualitative and quantitative research. Using as an example the impartial data generated by surveys, Vidal argues that such quantitative data are fundamentally important, but incomplete. Data based on methods of prolonged engagement with respondents are qualitative, also important, but incomplete. Both are united in their goal of advancing knowledge and […]

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    Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of  an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard […]

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    Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Rebecca Lawrence shares her response to the Nuffield Council on Biothetics’ report on the culture of scientific research. The report raised important issues that publishers across the industry are actively working towards. But further collaboration is needed amongst research funders, universities and publishers to tackle the many issues in quality assessment, recognition of negative findings, and adequate peer review. Otherwise we […]

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    Poor citation practices are continuing to harm the humanities and social sciences.

Poor citation practices are continuing to harm the humanities and social sciences.

Citation and referencing patterns are not trivial things but solid and important indications of the presence of primary academic virtues. Patrick Dunleavy looks at disciplinary differences and argues the poor citation practices in the humanities and social sciences are therefore not just harmful to academics, but to all who read their works or follow after them. To break past such attitudes requires a […]

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    Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.

This piece originally appeared on LSE […]

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    Taking pleasure in small numbers: How intimately are social media stats governing us?

Taking pleasure in small numbers: How intimately are social media stats governing us?

Critical academics have long been wary of the way formal quantitative data get used to rank, assess and differentially value universities, departments and people. Do similar concerns apply to social networking statistics? Or, is this data on likes, views and followers quite a different matter? At a time when pressures exist to grow one’s numbers, Davina Cooper asks whether there […]

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    The best things in life aren’t always free, but they are freely available.

The best things in life aren’t always free, but they are freely available.

Digital publishing in the humanities is set to be discussed at this year’s American Historical Association Annual Meeting. Ahead of the event, Cecy Marden explores how open access outlets provide more than just wider access, but can provide new avenues for this scholarship to be taken. From long-form journalism to Pinterest boards, freely available research is just the starting point.

There […]

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    Philosophy of Data Science series – Noortje Marres: Technology and culture are becoming more and more entangled.

Philosophy of Data Science series – Noortje Marres: Technology and culture are becoming more and more entangled.

Mark Carrigan continues his investigation of data science with this latest interview with Noortje Marres on Digital Sociology. Growing digital awareness means lots of opportunities for collaboration between sociology and related fields and there is also a chance for sociologists to challenge the deeply-rooted narrative of a clash between technology and democracy.

This interview is part of an ongoing series on the Philosophy of […]

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    Is Nature’s “free to view” a magnanimous gesture or a cynical ploy?

Is Nature’s “free to view” a magnanimous gesture or a cynical ploy?

The big announcement from academic publisher Macmillan Science and Education this week is that subscribers can now share links to nature.com articles. But is this move as groundbreaking as purported? Michael Eisen argues that it is more likely Nature are promoting free access, while doing nothing to address the real obstacle to wider access – the subscription model. So, really, what they’re doing is not making […]

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    Striving for gender equity in science: Conference participation behaviour contributes to gender disparity in academia

Striving for gender equity in science: Conference participation behaviour contributes to gender disparity in academia

The issue of gender equity in science (and other areas of academia) is not new; however, it is remarkably persistent. In a recent paper, Kerry Fanson, Therésa Jones, Matthew Symonds, and Megan Higgie found evidence that women may inadvertently contribute to observed gender disparities in conference presentations through their decision to request lower profile roles. In conjunction with efforts to end gender […]

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Book Review: Psychology in the Bathroom by Nick Haslam

The toilet is a focus of intense emotions, unseemly interests, strange afflictions and earthy humour. Psychology in the Bathroom looks to survey a variety of embarrassing processes, shameful disorders and disgusting habits. Elizabeth Cotton recommends this book to anyone curious about the politics and psychology of ‘dirty protests’ and ‘defensive flatulence’.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books.

Psychology in the Bathroom. Nick Haslam. Palgrave […]

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November 30th, 2014|Book Reviews, Impact|0 Comments|
This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.