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    Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

The whole reasoning around open access for books is now aligned to a commercial agenda, where authors invest in openness with the prospect of greater downloads, citations, and impact in return. Marcel Knöchelmann argues that the free market paradigm is particularly ill-suited to humanities and social sciences book publishing and its many diverse scholarly communities. Equitable foundations for open […]

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Do we need to “fail fast” to achieve open access?

Progress to open access has stalled. After two decades of trying, the proportion of born-free articles is stuck at 20%. Kicking off the Impact Blog’s Open Access Week coverage, Toby Green suggests the solution to our financially unsustainable scholarly publishing system may lie in rethinking traditional processes using internet-era norms. Embracing the principle of “fail fast”, all papers should […]

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    Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder

Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder

Assessing research impact is complex and challenging, but essential for understanding the link between research funding investments and outcomes both within and beyond academia. Julia Langton provides an overview of how a Canadian health research funder approaches impact assessment; urging caution in the use of quantitative data, highlighting the importance of organisation-wide capacity-building, and outlining the value of a […]

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    Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success. Chris Smith reports on research investigating the tools and systems academics from all career stages use to keep writing and publishing. Age, experience, and having a sense of certainty about what sort of writing system suits you and your life are all important to productivity and overall […]

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    Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

The “gold standard” of impactful international development research involves equitable north-south partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and co-production with non-academic actors, ideally including local communities. Such participatory and collaborative approaches are intended to have longer-term benefits, strengthening capacity for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Admirable though this may sound, it’s easy to see how it might appear overwhelming to researchers expected […]

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    More than optimism, institutional reform is needed to improve evidence use in policy and practice

More than optimism, institutional reform is needed to improve evidence use in policy and practice

While optimism can inspire efforts to connect the spheres of science, policy, and practice, it does little to remove the real boundaries between them. Systematic investigation of “bright spots” – or success stories – would likely yield some interesting learning points but, as David Christian Rose suggests, it may be unwise to cherry-pick evidence of what works by only […]

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    Sandpits can develop cross-disciplinary projects, but funders need to be as open-minded as researchers

Sandpits can develop cross-disciplinary projects, but funders need to be as open-minded as researchers

The research “sandpit”, where a cross-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners come together for a short time to create new projects around a given theme, is gaining ground as a way to foster innovation and creativity in research design. While sandpits can spark ideas for novel projects better suited to tackling grand challenges and urgent questions, research from Kate […]

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    What are the implications of complex systems thinking for policymaking?

What are the implications of complex systems thinking for policymaking?

Can a concept derived from the natural sciences be applied to the political and social sciences? Sarah Quarmby consider whether complex systems thinking, currently enjoying a moment of popularity in the policy research and practice worlds despite having no single accepted definition, can add to our understanding of policy. And is it really a new approach?

Complex systems thinking is […]

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    Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Most PhD students think of their doctorate as a lone undertaking. This may be why a high proportion leave graduate school without finishing, and has also been identified as a contributing factor to the mental health problems experienced by many PhD students. Julian Kirchherr argues that tackling the PhD as a team project would be more beneficial. The team […]

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    How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

PhD graduates make valuable contributions to society and its organisations. But what of the value of the doctorate to the graduates themselves? Kay Guccione and Billy Bryan questioned how graduates, as individuals, experience benefit from their doctorate and how they perceive its value. Findings reveal that graduates do consider their doctorate to have been worth it – in ways […]

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    It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

In debates on the validity of academic research findings, focus has been drawn to so-called questionable research practices, commonly understood to encompass a laundry list of behaviours that can increase the likelihood of statistically significant (and so more publishable) results. Anand Krishna and Sebastian M. Peter report on research examining attitudes to questionable research practices among students who have […]

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    It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts: how the process of applying for competitive grants is of benefit to researchers

It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts: how the process of applying for competitive grants is of benefit to researchers

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.” So goes the famous saying by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of modern Olympic Games. But does the same apply for competitive research grants? Charles Ayoubi, Michele Pezzoni and Fabiana Visentin report on their study which finds that simply taking part in an application process […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

In the second and final part of a series considering the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out why seeking advancement internally might be a more attractive option, again highlighting seven specific reasons. The series concludes with some more general tips for promotion applications, including how to harness your experience submitting to academic journals.

The […]

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    Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing

Knowledge Unlatched, failed transparency, and the commercialisation of open access book publishing

Over recent years, Knowledge Unlatched has harnessed the effectiveness of its consortial funding model to become the largest gatekeeper to open access for scholarly books. But as Marcel Knöchelmann describes, the changing of its status from that of a community interest company to a German GmbH or public limited company, and that it is now fully owned by the […]

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    The expansion of open access is being driven by commercialisation, where private benefit is adopting the mantle of public value

The expansion of open access is being driven by commercialisation, where private benefit is adopting the mantle of public value

Plan S is the latest initiative to propose that all publicly funded science should be available in open access formats from the day of first publication. However, John Holmwood argues it is important to recognise that open access is itself being promoted in the name of commercial interests, including new, for-profit disrupters but also the large publishing conglomerates capturing the […]

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    Replication is both possible and desirable in the humanities, just as it is in the sciences

Replication is both possible and desirable in the humanities, just as it is in the sciences

Some scholars have claimed that replication – the independent repetition of an earlier study, answering the same study question, using the same or similar methods under the same or similar circumstances – is not possible in the humanities. The reasoning is that the humanities search for cultural meaning can yield multiple valid answers, and that research objects are people […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Climbing the academic career ladder can be a slow, frustrating, and opaque process. Some academics may be unsure whether to seek promotion within their own institutions or to look to another university for advancement opportunities. In the first of a two-part series, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions. This first instalment outlines […]

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    Better, fairer, more meaningful research evaluation – in seven hashtags

Better, fairer, more meaningful research evaluation – in seven hashtags

Considering the future of research assessment, Elizabeth Gadd outlines how she believes research evaluation could be made better, fairer, and more meaningful. The resulting seven guiding principles, neatly framed as hashtags, range from understanding our responsibilities to researchers as people, through to ensuring our evaluations are a more formative process, offering valuable, constructive feedback.

Imperial College recently held an event […]

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