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    The messy business of impact for the social sciences: fear and failure, stealth and seeds

The messy business of impact for the social sciences: fear and failure, stealth and seeds

Failure is an inevitable part of any academic career. This may feel especially true for those researchers working to have an impact on politics and policy, with research work always vulnerable to rejection or disregard. Matthew Flinders explains how such precarity brings into sharp focus the messy business of impact for the social sciences: the great problem of sowing […]

September 21st, 2018|Higher education, Impact|0 Comments|
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    Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Scientific research has changed, now being largely conducted in collaborative teams. However, undergraduate student training has not necessarily kept pace with these changes. In order to work effectively in collaborative settings, students need to develop not only the technical skills related to their discipline, but also communication and interpersonal skills needed to work in teams. Nora J. Casson reports […]

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    How information about library collections represents a treasure trove for research in the humanities and social sciences

How information about library collections represents a treasure trove for research in the humanities and social sciences

WorldCat, an aggregate database of library catalogues worldwide, was primarily set up to aid libraries in carrying out their work in areas such as cataloguing or resource sharing. But the information it carries about much of the world’s accumulated published output is also a a unique source of information for answering a wide range of questions about world literature […]

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    Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong

Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong

The attrition of women from STEM careers has been attributed to many factors, such as work/life balance, biased hiring committees, and prejudiced editorial boards. But might it also be that women still do not see themselves as “real” scientists, or lack female role models? Miranda Hart reports on research examining women’s visibility in two high-profile scientific publications. Not only […]

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    In a globalised and networked world, what is the unique value a university can bring? Introducing Open Knowledge Institutions

In a globalised and networked world, what is the unique value a university can bring? Introducing Open Knowledge Institutions

Digital ubiquity has disrupted the traditional university model. The internet has shifted the balance of a tension between control and disorder in knowledge production, with many of the opportunities the web brings leading directly to many of the challenges we now need to address. Lucy Montgomery and Cameron Neylon advocate for the idea of universities as Open Knowledge Institutions, […]

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    Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

In How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching, Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa aim to support fellow academic workers at all career stages to become more efficient, successful and happier through focusing on fostering good habits over and above talent or skills. Eddy Li welcomes this insider perspective on seeing, doing and – most importantly […]

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    Not all academics are comfortable with the idea of open peer review

Not all academics are comfortable with the idea of open peer review

There are many arguments in favour of open peer review, from anticipated improvements to the speed and quality of reviews brought about by the greater accountability, through to the likely reduction in unfair or illogical decisions because of the system’s transparency. Despite this, not all academics are comfortable with open peer review and remain fearful of their comments and […]

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    Reading list: a selection of posts on peer review to celebrate #PeerReviewWeek18

Reading list: a selection of posts on peer review to celebrate #PeerReviewWeek18

This week is Peer Review Week 2018, a global event celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. Peer Review Week “brings together individuals, institutions, and organisations committed to sharing the central message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications”.

In addition to the new posts to […]

September 13th, 2018|Peer review|0 Comments|
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    As demands on the peer review system are increasing, reviewers are simultaneously becoming less responsive to invitations

As demands on the peer review system are increasing, reviewers are simultaneously becoming less responsive to invitations

During this Peer Review Week 2018, Tom Culley shares findings from the new Publons “Global State of Peer Review” report. As demands on the peer review system increase, reviewers are actually becoming less responsive to invitations. Meanwhile, researchers from established regions such as the USA, UK, and Japan continue to review significantly more than their counterparts from emerging regions […]

September 12th, 2018|Peer review|1 Comment|
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    A privilege, a gift, and a reason for gratitude: appreciating the human dimension of peer review

A privilege, a gift, and a reason for gratitude: appreciating the human dimension of peer review

The shortcomings of the peer review process are well-documented, with it being variously described as too slow, conservative, and even unkind. But amidst fevered discussion of its logistical merits, the inherent humanistic value of peer review is often overlooked. Keren Dali and Paul T. Jaeger encourage reviewers to remember that each peer review opportunity offers an incredible human experience […]

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    Linguistic analysis reveals the hidden details of research grant proposal peer review reports

Linguistic analysis reveals the hidden details of research grant proposal peer review reports

Despite peer review panels being the most common way of selecting applicants for research funding, little is known about how selections are made. New methods for large-scale text analysis allow for review panels’ written reports to be analysed and studied for patterns. Peter van den Besselaar and Ulf Sandström show how the frequency of positive and negative evaluation words […]

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    Research data should be available long-term…but who is going to pay?

Research data should be available long-term…but who is going to pay?

There is now a broad consensus that sharing and preserving data makes research more efficient, reproducible and potentially innovative. As such, most funding bodies now require research data to be stored, preserved, and made available long-term. But who is going to pay for this to happen? Marta Teperek and Alastair Dunning outline how the costs of long-term data preservation […]

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    Predatory publishers threaten to consume public research funds and undermine national academic systems – the case of Brazil

Predatory publishers threaten to consume public research funds and undermine national academic systems – the case of Brazil

An unintended consequence of the open access movement, predatory publishers have appeared in many countries, offering authors a quick and easy route to publication in exchange for a fee and usually without any apparent peer review or quality control. Using a large database of publications, Marcelo S. Perlin, Takeyoshi Imasato and Denis Borenstein analyse the extent of this problem […]

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    Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Achieving tangible impacts on policy and practice is not easy. But it’s made even harder by starting with a pessimistic outlook. Much of the academic discourse around the interface of science, policy, and practice has become dominated by negative language such as the science-policy “gap”, or “challenges” and “barriers” that must be overcome. Chris Cvitanovic makes the case for […]

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    Impact from critical research: what might it look like and what support is required?

Impact from critical research: what might it look like and what support is required?

As demands for demonstrating impact are increasingly woven throughout the funding and institutional architectures of higher education, concerns have been raised that the impact agenda could adversely affect critical and blue-skies research, favouring instead research that lends itself more easily to societal uptake. Ahead of REF 2021, Ruth Machen considers what impact from critical research could look like and […]

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    Doing research for (and not on) development: some important questions for the Global Challenges Research Fund

Doing research for (and not on) development: some important questions for the Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund has an impressively wide-ranging research agenda, covering a range of development issues. But as well as funding research on development, Ajoy Datta argues the fund should promote understanding of how to undertake research for development too. This requires academics to have specific skills and experience of working effectively with colleagues and partners in the […]

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    The Materiality of Research: Creating a community of writing practice in the classroom

The Materiality of Research: Creating a community of writing practice in the classroom

Despite most students being partly or wholly assessed on their writing, very few would consider themselves to be writers. Nonia Williams Korteling explores how students might be supported in feeling more confident about writing processes and practices in the classroom, focusing on two methods that can help students begin to see themselves as part of a community of writers: […]

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    For some, borders are now an insurmountable barrier to attending international academic conferences

For some, borders are now an insurmountable barrier to attending international academic conferences

Conference attendance is an important part of an academic’s work, offering opportunities to present and receive feedback on recent research, and also to make new connections and expand professional networks. When deciding whether or not to attend an event, the cost of travel or having an abstract accepted remain the determining factors to many. But for some, as Donald […]

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