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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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    Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Researchers everywhere are being pushed to collaborate. Individual academics are being urged to join teams, small teams are encouraged to merge with others to become bigger teams, and institution-wide and inter-institutional collaborations are spreading. With potential benefits including increased chances of funding, visibility, and impact, why, asks Jenny M. Lewis, are social scientists not embracing collaboration more? Might it […]

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    The next stage of SocArXiv’s development: bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the peer review process

The next stage of SocArXiv’s development: bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the peer review process

Almost 1,500 papers have been uploaded to SocArXiv since its launch last year. Up to now the platform has operated alongside the peer-review journal system rather than seriously disrupting it. Looking ahead to the next stage of its development, Philip Cohen considers how SocArXiv might challenge the peer review system to be more efficient and transparent, firstly by confronting […]

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Materiality of Research: Without End: Documents of Research

What are the parameters of the academic document? And how can its myriad forms deepen and shape the process of being in research? Ahead of upcoming postgraduate symposium Without End: Documents of Research (University of Northampton, 16 February 2018), Meghann Hillier-Broadley and Francis Blore reflect on the generative potential of the various fragments – from post-it notes to notebooks to highlighted texts – that form the material substances inspiring […]

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    Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Among the ways social sciences research can have impact is by influencing public policy. Duncan Green recently attended an event at which this subject was much discussed, with a leading government research analyst offering clear advice on what officials are looking for. Comparative work highlighting a range of possible solutions is valued, as are multidisciplinary approaches. Most useful is […]

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    Open-source, commercial, non-profit, for-profit: what power have you got?

Open-source, commercial, non-profit, for-profit: what power have you got?

A previous Impact Blog post expressed the view that scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open but non-profit too. Mark Hahnel responds to that contention, highlighting the technical and financial considerations that render many of the academic-led, grant-funded initiatives unsustainable. Moreover, the non-profit vs. for-profit dichotomy itself may be too simplistic; non-profit is not synonymous with good, and for-profit is not […]

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    Systemic changes within institutions are needed to promote greater gender equity in STEM

Systemic changes within institutions are needed to promote greater gender equity in STEM

As part of a new report published today to coincide with Ada Lovelace Day, the annual celebration of the achievements of women working in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), Rhianna Goozee considers why so many women drop out from science on their way up the academic ladder and what can be done to address the situation. Long-term, holistic […]

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    New web services are helping authors make data-driven decisions when choosing which journal to submit to

New web services are helping authors make data-driven decisions when choosing which journal to submit to

With more than 34,000 active scholarly peer-reviewed journals, how do authors choose which one to submit to? Amy Forrester, Bo-Christer Björk and Carol Tenopir liken this process to a long-term investment decision, with access to critical information on a variety of factors being imperative. A new generation of web tools and services can help authors to find data on journals […]

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    Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, editors Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean offer a collection that seeks to open up the possibilities for ethnographic research by approaching writing as a “material adventure”. As the volume grapples with longstanding questions regarding the ethical challenges of capturing one’s subjects in language, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani nonetheless finds this a moving reminder of the power of words to enable entry […]

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    The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in how games and simulations might be applied to higher education learning. Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Agoritsa Makri have reviewed the literature on the subject and here outline the positive learning effects of games and simulations; from cognitive outcomes such as improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to behavioural outcomes […]

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    Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Modern scientific expertise rests heavily upon work carried out by teams, rather than scholars working on their own. Proper preparation is key, with some research suggesting that the effectiveness of collaborative work is determined before any of the work is carried out. Howard Aldrich and Akram Al-Turk have identified four structural elements that increase the likelihood of creating and […]

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    New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

For what reasons do academics follow one another on Twitter? Robert Jäschke, Stephanie B. Linek and Christian P. Hoffmann analysed the Twitter activity of computer scientists and found that while the quality of information provided by a Twitter account is a key motive for following academic colleagues, there is also evidence of a career planning motive. As well as […]

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    Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

There is an argument that the best way for governments to allocate resources for research is to prioritise those areas most likely to deliver economic returns. Andrew Gibson and Ellen Hazelkorn explain how, shortly after its Great Recession, Ireland prioritised research fields aligned with industrial sectors rather than disciplinary excellence or societal challenges. By starting with an orientation toward […]

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    Book Review: We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold

Book Review: We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves by John Cheney-Lippold

In We Are Data: Algorithms and the Making of Our Digital Selves, John Cheney-Lippold examines how algorithms increasingly interpret and influence our behaviour. With the author concluding with some pragmatic suggestions for challenging the digital status quo, Daniel Zwi welcomes the book for both capably elucidating the problem of algorithmic regulation and forearming us to tackle this issue.
This review originally appeared on LSE Review of […]

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    To wear many different hats: how do scholar-practitioners span boundaries between academia and practice?

To wear many different hats: how do scholar-practitioners span boundaries between academia and practice?

Scholar-practitioners are those individuals who succeed in spanning the boundaries between academia and practice. Guillaume Carton and Paula Ungureanu’s research sought to better understand scholar-practitioners; the multiple roles they perform across each world, the perceived synergies and tensions, and the strategies employed to manage them. A key tension exists between institutional pressures for hyper-specialisation and scholar-practitioners’ personal aspirations that […]

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    How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

Previous posts in our series on the Impact of LSE Blogs project examined the effects of blogging on the academic sphere, looking more closely at citations to the original research outputs and also to the blog posts themselves. But what about the effects of blogging beyond academia, on the public sphere? In the final post of the series, Kieran […]

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The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers. Findings reveal that many diverse factors, from funding […]

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