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    The Global Challenges Research Fund: £1.5bn commitment is impressive in its ambition but would benefit from a tighter strategic focus

The Global Challenges Research Fund: £1.5bn commitment is impressive in its ambition but would benefit from a tighter strategic focus

The Global Challenges Research Fund aims to ensure UK research plays a leading role in addressing problems faced by developing countries. To Tina Fahm of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the fund represents a welcome increase in the UK’s ambition in development research, drawing on well-established mechanisms for identifying research excellence and promoting interdisciplinary work on complex development […]

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    Book Review: How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads by Steven Payson

Book Review: How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads by Steven Payson

In How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads, Steven Payson offers a US-focused critique of the professional practice of teaching and researching economics today, covering areas such as publishing, hiring, and promotion. As readers will likely find themselves nodding in recognition at many of the issues identified by Payson, Christopher May finds this a welcome voice contributing to the growing […]

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    Against “reductionism”: envisioning each piece of writing in its own right, not as a version of something else

Against “reductionism”: envisioning each piece of writing in its own right, not as a version of something else

It’s not uncommon for authors to be asked to submit a shortened version of a research article or piece of writing. This, says Thomas Basbøll, is too often looked upon as a problem of “reduction”, of pruning a longer text. Rather, the enormous surplus of knowledge that the longer text demonstrates the author has is a material resource for […]

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    Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

How universities allocate resources – and how academics allocate their own time – between research and teaching is a perennial problem in higher education. The labour market for research is intensely competitive and truly global; while the market for academics focused on teaching is notable by its lack of competition. An obvious result is that academics’ promotion prospects depend […]

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    Bridging the gap between research and policy: recommendations for social science research in low/middle-income countries

Bridging the gap between research and policy: recommendations for social science research in low/middle-income countries

Connecting research with policy is never easy, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where resources are often limited. Sarah Morton conducted an impact assessment of a research programme in Peru to examine how research uptake and use contributed to policy and practice change. A number of recommendations arising from this case study can be applied to future research […]

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    Does research evaluation in the sciences have a gender problem? What do altmetrics tell us?

Does research evaluation in the sciences have a gender problem? What do altmetrics tell us?

Many measures used for research evaulation, such as citations or research output, are hindered by an implicit gender bias. Stacy Konkiel examines whether or not altmetrics, which track how research is discussed, shared, reviewed, and reused by other researchers and the public, might be better suited to help understand the influence of research in a more gender-balanced way. Findings […]

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    Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

The metrics used to identify excellence, and on which current tenure and promotion decisions are based, have become a barrier to more exciting and innovative scholarship. Christopher P. Long suggests an overhaul of tenure and promotion practices, advocating a holistic approach in which structured mentoring plays a key role and values-based metrics that will empower faculty to tell more […]

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    The methodology used for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ citations metric can distort benchmarking

The methodology used for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ citations metric can distort benchmarking

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings can influence an institution’s reputation and even its future revenues. However, Avtar Natt argues that the methodology used to calculate its citation metrics can have the effect of distorting benchmarking exercises. The fractional counting approach applied to only a select number of papers with high author numbers has led to a situation […]

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    Research assessments based on journal rankings systematically marginalise knowledge from certain regions and subjects

Research assessments based on journal rankings systematically marginalise knowledge from certain regions and subjects

Many research evaluation systems continue to take a narrow view of excellence, judging the value of work based on the journal in which it is published. Recent research by Diego Chavarro, Ismael Ràfols and colleagues shows how such systems underestimate and prove detrimental to the production of research relevant to important social, economic, and environmental issues. These systems also reflect the […]

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    Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

Collaboration and concerted action are key to making open data a reality

The case for open data is increasingly inarguable. Improved data practice can help to address concerns about reproducibility and research integrity, reducing fraud and improving patient outcomes, for example. Research also shows good data practice can lead to improved productivity and increased citations. However, as Grace Baynes reports, recent survey data shows that while the research community recognises the […]

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The Publishing Trap! A game of scholarly communication

In a complex, evolving scholarly communications environment, it is more important than ever for researchers to have access to information and support resources relating to copyright and intellectual property rights. However, many among the academic community continue to view copyright as something of a problem and difficult to engage with. Experimenting with new ways to communicate and critically examine […]

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    The Radical Open Access Collective: building alliances for a progressive, scholar-led commons

The Radical Open Access Collective: building alliances for a progressive, scholar-led commons

The Radical Open Access Collective launched its new website earlier this week. Open access has always been about more than just improving access to research, and Janneke Adema and Samuel A. Moore here highlight what the Radical OA Collective can offer. A focus on experimentation with new forms of publishing and authorship; the promotion of traditionally underrepresented cultures, languages, […]

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    Journal flipping or a public open access infrastructure? What kind of open access future do we want?

Journal flipping or a public open access infrastructure? What kind of open access future do we want?

Open access debates are increasingly focused on “how” rather than “why”. Tony Ross-Hellauer and Benedikt Fecher present two possible scenarios for an open access future, consider the relative merits and viability of each, and invite your input to the discussion.

Open access (OA) is advocated by science funders, policymakers and researchers alike. It will most likely be the default way […]

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    LSE’s “request a copy” service: widening access to research both within and beyond academia

LSE’s “request a copy” service: widening access to research both within and beyond academia

The 2016 introduction of HEFCE’s open access research policy and specifically its “deposit on acceptance” message has led to a large volume of restricted-access items being placed in institutional repositories. Dimity Flanagan reports on how LSE Library’s “request a copy service” has offered would-be readers a way to overcome this obstacle to research, and how the data the service […]

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    It’s time for “pushmi-pullyu” open access: servicing the distinct needs of readers and authors

It’s time for “pushmi-pullyu” open access: servicing the distinct needs of readers and authors

The open access movement has failed. Self-archiving and open-access journals are struggling to deliver 100% open access and probably never will. Moreover, readers, the curious minds it was hoped research would be opened to, have been marginalised from the debate. Toby Green suggests an unbundling of the often disparate, distinct services required by readers and authors; a new model […]

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    Fair Open Access: returning control of scholarly journals to their communities

Fair Open Access: returning control of scholarly journals to their communities

The problem of how we should transition to open access is now urgent. The current situation is one of exorbitant subscription journals and expensive open-access ones, and to address it requires organised action from academics. The Fair Open Access Alliance, set up to facilitate the conversion of existing subscription journals to open access, is an example of such organisation. […]

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    Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

In Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology, Karen Head draws on a “view from inside” of developing and teaching a first-year writing massive open online course (MOOC) to critically interrogate the claim that such technology will fundamentally “disrupt” educational structures. This is an eloquent and intricate analysis that shows how personal experience and practice can add nuance to questions regarding the […]

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    Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

A predicted exodus of EU academics from UK universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the “brain drain” has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many […]

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    Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Despite the increased importance of demonstrating impact, it remains a concept many academics feel ill-equipped to measure or evidence. Clare Wilkinson reveals how researchers from a broad range of disciplines think about evidencing impact, what obstacles might stand in their way, and how they might be further supported in future. Knowledge around research impact continues to exist in siloes, […]

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