Mariana Gkliati calls for a reconsideration of traditional research methods in legal studies and how these methods are communicated. Most legal scholars seek to fit their conceptual analysis into narrow and strictly legal boxes, often relying on tacit knowledge from the field. Drawing on the metaphor of elephant paths, or an overlaying system for going from place to place, and behavioural […]
Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?
Change in higher education often progresses slowly. If scholars are serious about wanting to change disciplinary and institutional cultures and not merely to wait for Cultural Change to magically happen, Cameron Neylon argues we need to consider the differing approaches to how certain cultures operate, interact and eventually change. Ultimately, change in higher education requires a variety of levers […]
Each year OpenCon brings together students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. Nick Shockey and Joseph McArthur announce here the next OpenCon dates. In addition, Chris Hartgerink takes a look back at OpenCon 2015 and reflects on how the conference became the catalyst for a variety of deliberate actions […]
With language studies in decline, we need a relevant and integrated approach to foreign languages in the classroom.
There has been a rapid decline in the number of university language departments since the early 2000s. Michael Tavares provides wider context on the state of language teaching and learning in Britain and looks in particular at how universities might boost the relevance of language studies in other degree programmes. By incorporating language exercises and materials for specific purposes, the teaching of foreign […]
Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?
The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]
What makes research excellent? Digging into the measures aimed at quantifying and promoting research excellence.
“Research excellence” is a tricky concept in theory and arguably trickier to capture in practice. Toni Pustovrh shares findings from a recent study which looks at how research is currently quantified and evaluated in Slovenia. In-depth interviews with scientists reveal a variety of views on the concept and the current mechanisms in place. The analysis suggests that neither a predominantly peer-review based […]
How to deal with being “scooped”: The vast majority of science is a process of derivative, incremental advance.
Researchers are under increasing pressure to deliver novel research findings and as such, it can be incredibly disheartening when another team publishes ahead of you on a similar topic. But is this competitive mentality true to the scientific process? Chris Chambers argues there are several positive sides to being “scooped” and by focusing on these positives, researchers can overcome […]
Academic work may have impact in a variety of ways, depending on purpose, audience and field, but this is most likely to happen when your work resonates in meaningful ways with people. Ninna Meier encourages a more systematic investigation of the role of writing in achieving impact. Impact through writing means getting your readers to understand and remember your message […]
The Materiality of Motherhood in Academic Research: Notes on ”Workflow” from a Mid-Life Doctoral Mother
In this feature essay, Helen Butlin reflects on the process of rethinking the notion of ‘workflow’ as a mid-life doctoral mother concurrently working in front-line healthcare. She describes how this has meant apprenticing to writing as a craft, redefining one’s understanding of ‘the good PhD student’ and accepting the inevitable messiness of both life and academic research.
This essay originally appeared […]
‘We need to speak about race’: Examining the barriers to full and equal participation in university life
Looking to examine and address the barriers facing black and minority ethnic academic staff, the LSE is funding a project entitled ‘Race in the Academy’ investigating why so few black and ethnic minority academics are attracted to the LSE and why it struggles to retain black and ethnic minority academic staff. The project is led by Caroline Howarth and Akile Ahmet. […]
Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?
Having a funding application rejected does not necessarily mean the research is unsupportable by funders – maybe just unlucky. There is a significant risk to wider society in the rejection of unlucky but otherwise sound applications: good ideas may slip through the cracks, or be re-worked and dulled-down to sound more likely to provide reliable results. Oli Preston looks at […]
Drawing on a range of evidence-based principles that underpin impact delivery, The Research Impact Handbook by Mark Reed aims to equip researchers with the skills and confidence needed to embed impact in their own research. Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy at HEFCE, finds the text a valuable contribution and welcomes the mixture of theoretical and practical approaches for researchers […]
The social and material conditions of data collection have a significant bearing on how we think about and understand data. Sandeep Mertia looks at the history of data collection in India and how the conditions have changed over time. From the work of the eminent statistician and founder of the Indian Statistical Institute, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, to the now large scale surveys conducted […]
How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.
Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]
Metrics in academia are often an opaque mess, filled with biases and ill-judged assumptions that are used in overly deterministic ways. By getting involved with their design, academics can productively push metrics in a more transparent direction. Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber introduce an example of designing metrics within their own institution. Using the metric of grant income, their tool ResViz […]
Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.
It is impossible to work in a university and avoid coming into contact with copyright at some point, especially given the ease with which online content can be copied, pasted, streamed, downloaded and shared. Chris Morrison and Jane Secker provide a helpful explainer of copyright in universities and break down the complexity of how copyright works in practice.
The Association […]