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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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    Book Review: The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology by John Smyth

Book Review: The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology by John Smyth

In The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology, John Smyth offers a critical reading of the pathological state of higher education today, diagnosing this as the effect of commodification, marketisation and managerialism. While those looking for a minute analysis of the crisis of the university may at times wish for more nuanced and detailed insight, this is an outstanding […]

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Women ask fewer questions than men in academic seminars

During academic seminars, any given question is 2.5 times more likely to be asked by a male than a female audience member. Alecia Carter reports on this research, which suggests that internalised gender stereotypes are at least partly responsible for the observed imbalance, both in men’s participation and women’s lack of it. The findings are important as having models […]

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    Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Most European countries have followed the UK’s lead in developing performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) for their universities. However, what these countries have not done is adopt the same system, the Research Excellence Framework being its most recent iteration. Instead, many use indicators of institutional performance for funding decisions rather than panel evaluation and peer review. Gunnar Sivertsen has […]

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The scholarly commons must be developed on public standards

Access to scholarship is becoming ever more dependent on one’s (or one’s institution’s) financial means. Björn Brembs and Guy Geltner argue that one solution to these growing problems is for scholarship to have open, public standards; both for its Web 1.0 tasks, like reading, writing, and citing, but also, crucially, for its Web 2.0 functionalities too. Scholarship is a […]

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    New research must be better reported, the future of society depends on it

New research must be better reported, the future of society depends on it

Academics looking to communicate the findings and value of their research to wider audiences are increasingly going through the media to do so. But, argues Andy Tattersall, poor or incomplete reporting can undermine respect for experts by misrepresenting research, especially by trivialising or sensationalising it, or publishing under inappropriate headlines and with cherry-picked statistics. Proper and accurate communication of […]

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    Approaches to assessing impacts in the humanities and social sciences: recommendations from the Canadian research community

Approaches to assessing impacts in the humanities and social sciences: recommendations from the Canadian research community

Conversations about the assessment of scholarly impacts are frequently hindered by uncertainty, anxiety, or suspicion. Peter Severinson reports on work published by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Canada that it is hoped will provide guidance to university administrators, public servants, and other members of the research community undertaking the demanding work of impact assessment. Efforts […]

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January 10th, 2018|Impact|0 Comments|
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    The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the UK. The authors highlight four core elements that comprise […]

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    Engaging with Parliament: what is good Select Committee evidence?

Engaging with Parliament: what is good Select Committee evidence?

One way of trying to make an impact with one’s research is to use it to provide evidence and information to one of Parliament’s Select Committees. Victoria Honour offers some insight into how these committees and their inquiries work, and how academics can engage with them; including practical advice on how to structure and present written evidence, and information […]

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2017 in review: top posts of the year

As 2017 nears its end and before our focus is drawn to whatever the new year might have in store, now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on the last twelve months on the Impact Blog. Editor Kieran Booluck reports on another year in which our readership has grown, and also shares a selection of the […]

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    2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges
Challenges posed by events such as Brexit highlight the importance of excellent research programmes. Moreover, they represent a broader context in which the next Research Excellence Framework must consider “impact”. But do current REF proposals go far enough towards doing this? Matthew Guest argues that there […]

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    2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on communicating your research with social media

2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on communicating your research with social media

Twitter can help with scientific dissemination but its influence on citation impact is less clear
Researchers have long been encouraged to use Twitter. But does researchers’ presence on Twitter influence citations to their papers? José Luis Ortega explored to what extent the participation of scholars on Twitter can influence the tweeting of their articles and found that although the relationship between tweets […]

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2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on open access

Announcing Unpaywall: unlocking #openaccess versions of paywalled research articles as you browse
Unpaywall, a web browser extension that links users directly to free full-text versions of research articles, was launched in April. Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem of Impactstory, the team behind Unpaywall, report on the successful pre-release phase, and explain how two decades of investment, a slew of new tools, and a flurry […]

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2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on peer review

What are the barriers to post-publication peer review?
Post-publication peer review emerged in response to increased calls for continuous moderation of the published research literature, consistent questioning of the functionality of the traditional peer review model, and a recognition that scientific discourse does not stop at the point of publication. However, uptake remains low overall. Jon Tennant sets out what the barriers […]

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2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on metrics

Mendeley reader counts offer early evidence of the scholarly impact of academic articles
Although the use of citation counts as indicators of scholarly impact has well-documented limitations, it does offer insight into what articles are read and valued. However, one major disadvantage of citation counts is that they are slow to accumulate. Mike Thelwall has examined reader counts from Mendeley and found them […]

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