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    Activism or research communication? Research organisations could be muzzled by UK charity anti-advocacy clause.

Activism or research communication? Research organisations could be muzzled by UK charity anti-advocacy clause.

Think tanks and research organisations should not ignore the row that has broken out over the recent announcement by the UK government to introduce an anti-advocacy clause into all charity grants. James Georgalakis argues that this move, if fully implemented could have serious consequences for research-based charities seeking to support evidence based policy making, despite the government’s focus on research […]

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    Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

What does “interdisciplinarity” actually mean? Gabriele Bammer argues lumping interdisciplinary work together may be prohibiting an effective evaluation of how this kind of research is faring. A much more intuitive approach is needed to distinguishing between aspects of diverse research practices. Furthermore, developing effective professional organisations is also a key task for moving interdisciplinary research forward.

In a recent special issue of the journal […]

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    85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

Trish Groves reflects on the scandal of waste, error, and misconduct in clinical and public health research and describes a new effort to tackle research and publication integrity from both ends. This challenge matters everywhere, but it’s specially urgent in low and middle income countries. The University of California, San Francisco and BMJ have teamed up to develop an eLearning programme for […]

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    Research Resilience: Why academics and funders alike should care about #RIPTwitter

Research Resilience: Why academics and funders alike should care about #RIPTwitter

Twitter is under close scrutiny these days with news that its timeline could be subject to further algorithmic control. Farida Vis looks at what such dramatic changes could mean for research. There is a great need for both funding councils and researchers to better understand the potential impact of these data and platform politics. Strategies must be developed to encourage lesser reliance […]

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    Challenging the print paradigm: Web-powered scholarship is set to advance the creation and distribution of research.

Challenging the print paradigm: Web-powered scholarship is set to advance the creation and distribution of research.

Our containers for scholarly works – papers, monographs, PDFs – are anachronistic. Marcus A. Banks argues the Web is flexible enough to facilitate far more opportunities for scholarship in a way that print could never do. A print piece is necessarily reductive, while Web-oriented scholarship can be as capacious as required. He highlights three innovations in particular that are set to transform […]

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    Book Review: The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind

Book Review: The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind

In The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind give a descriptive, predictive and normative argument for the impending dissolution of our professional institutions in their current state. Although she questions the decision to leave issues of privacy, confidentiality and online security unexamined, Jennifer Miller positions this book as […]

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    Improving the lack of racial diversity amongst academic staff: will the Race Equality Charter make a difference?

Improving the lack of racial diversity amongst academic staff: will the Race Equality Charter make a difference?

The numbers on diversity in academia are discouraging. There are currently only 70 black professors in the UK; of these, only 17 of are female. As part of ongoing efforts to address these disappointing numbers, the Race Equality Charter mark was recently introduced by the Equality Challenge Unit. But will it make academia more diverse? Kalwant Bhopal explains how the process works and writes […]

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February 5th, 2016|Higher Education|2 Comments|
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    Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors.

Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors.

A series of studies across countries and disciplines in higher education confirm that student evaluations of teaching (SET) are significantly correlated with instructor gender, with students regularly rating female instructors lower than male peers. Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark argue the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure on universities to measure teaching effectiveness. Given the unreliability […]

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    Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

In the daily practice of doing research, it is easy to confuse what is being done. There is often confusion over whether a study is exploratory (hypothesis-generating) research or confirmatory (hypothesis-testing) research. By defining how a hypothesis or research question will be tested at the outset of research, preregistration eliminates this ambiguity. David Mellor outlines the value of preregistration for […]

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    Policy impact and online attention: Tracking the path from research to public policy on the social web.

Policy impact and online attention: Tracking the path from research to public policy on the social web.

The process by which research gets put into action is far from clear cut, argues Stacy Konkiel. Extracting references to research from policy documents is a step towards illuminating the murky path. But we should be careful not to disregard other forms of evidence like online and media mentions as they are closely interrelated and may even lead to quicker impacts […]

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    Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.

Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.

Reflecting on the recent surge of criticism about the commercial motives of scholarly social media platform Academia.edu, Paolo Mangiafico argues this is now an ideal opportunity for scholars to make informed choices about their work. If you are comfortable with the trade-offs and risks, and willing to exchange those for the service provided, then don’t #DeleteAcademiaEdu. But consider whether alternatives exist that will meet […]

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    How to think like a neoliberal: Can every decision and choice really be conceived as a market decision?

How to think like a neoliberal: Can every decision and choice really be conceived as a market decision?

Kean Birch reflects on a classroom exercise introducing students to the reach of market-driven actions in everyday life. He finds the exercise is also helpful for his own engagement with an intellectual tradition with which he disagrees. According to Hayek, Friedman and Becker, every decision and choice can be conceived as a market decision. But in the process of negotiating and renegotiating every action in […]

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    Libraries and Open Journal Systems: Hosting and facilitating the creation of Open Access scholarship

Libraries and Open Journal Systems: Hosting and facilitating the creation of Open Access scholarship

There is a growing availability of free tools and software for academic publishing. How might libraries leverage existing platforms? Anna R. Craft describes one experience of an academic library hosting locally-produced open access journals through Open Journals Systems (OJS). But even “free” software is not without costs in relation to time and expertise. Care should be taken in facilitating a […]

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    Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientists using language aimed at convincing editors and reviewers to publish their work? Joeri Tijdink, Christiaan Vinkers and Wim Otte present findings which suggest a rise in potentially exaggerated language. Potentially conflicting with the core values of science, the pressure to publish in high impact publications may be contributing to a paradigm of over-interpretation, overstatement and misreporting of scientific results.

Our perception […]

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    How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps.

How to write a blogpost from your journal article in eleven easy steps.

You’ve just published a research article – why should you bother writing a blog post about it? Patrick Dunleavy argues that if you’ve devoted months to writing the paper, dealing with comments, doing rewrites and hacking through the publishing process, why would you not spend the extra couple of hours crafting an accessible blogpost? Here he breaks down in eleven easy […]

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    Book Review: Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise by Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox

Book Review: Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise by Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox

In Roads: An Anthropology of Infrastructure and Expertise, Penny Harvey and Hannah Knox not only show why roads matter, but also attend to the material processes that bring roads into being through two South American case studies. Luke Heslop praises this book for showing how attention to the complexities of infrastructure projects sheds new light on the parameters of […]

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    Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

When researchers reach the point of actually writing up their analyses, the writing can often centre around the data itself. Howard Aldrich argues this kind of “data first” strategy to writing goes against the spirit of disciplined inquiry and also severely limits creativity and imagination. Literature reviews and conceptual planning phases in particular would benefit if researchers explored the range of ideas […]

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    Writing the introduction to a journal article: Say what the reader is going to encounter and why it is important.

Writing the introduction to a journal article: Say what the reader is going to encounter and why it is important.

An introduction has a lot of work to do in few words. Pat Thomson clarifies the core components of a journal article introduction and argues it should be thought of as a kind of mini-thesis statement, with the what, why and how of the argument spelled out in advance of the extended version. Writing a good introduction typically means “straightforward” […]

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    Conversing with ghosts: Prefigurative talk and the shifting contours of intellectual debate.

Conversing with ghosts: Prefigurative talk and the shifting contours of intellectual debate.

Next in our #AcWri2016 series is a reflection on conversational writing and academic thought. Academic discussion typically appears as clustered conversations. Davina Cooper focuses on the dilemma posed by prefigurative contributions, where academics respond to a discussion as if it is taking place, treating it as if it were the one that ought to be taking place, even though speakers know the […]

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