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  • assessment columns
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    Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Head of Research Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Steven Hill, presents an overview of the work HEFCE are currently commissioning which they are hoping will build a robust evidence base for research assessment. He argues that attention on the costs, benefits, problems and solutions of the REF are an obvious starting point, but it is also important that the […]

  • competition
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    Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Can metrics be used instead of peer review for REF-type assessments? With the stakes so high, any replacement would have to be extremely accurate. Olesya Mryglod, Ralph Kenna, Yurij Holovatch and Bertrand Berche looked at two metric candidates, including the departmental h-index, and four subject areas: biology, chemistry, physics and sociology. The correlations are significant, but comparisons with RAE indicate that […]

  • qual
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    Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Matt Vidal calls for clear distinctions to be made between qualitative and quantitative research. Using as an example the impartial data generated by surveys, Vidal argues that such quantitative data are fundamentally important, but incomplete. Data based on methods of prolonged engagement with respondents are qualitative, also important, but incomplete. Both are united in their goal of advancing knowledge and […]

  • waggon-wheels-336528_1280
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    Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Rebecca Lawrence shares her response to the Nuffield Council on Biothetics’ report on the culture of scientific research. The report raised important issues that publishers across the industry are actively working towards. But further collaboration is needed amongst research funders, universities and publishers to tackle the many issues in quality assessment, recognition of negative findings, and adequate peer review. Otherwise we […]

  • hong kong protestors
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    Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.

This piece originally appeared on LSE […]

  • key-101436_1280
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    Is Nature’s “free to view” a magnanimous gesture or a cynical ploy?

Is Nature’s “free to view” a magnanimous gesture or a cynical ploy?

The big announcement from academic publisher Macmillan Science and Education this week is that subscribers can now share links to nature.com articles. But is this move as groundbreaking as purported? Michael Eisen argues that it is more likely Nature are promoting free access, while doing nothing to address the real obstacle to wider access – the subscription model. So, really, what they’re doing is not making […]

Book Review: Psychology in the Bathroom by Nick Haslam

The toilet is a focus of intense emotions, unseemly interests, strange afflictions and earthy humour. Psychology in the Bathroom looks to survey a variety of embarrassing processes, shameful disorders and disgusting habits. Elizabeth Cotton recommends this book to anyone curious about the politics and psychology of ‘dirty protests’ and ‘defensive flatulence’.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books.

Psychology in the Bathroom. Nick Haslam. Palgrave […]

November 30th, 2014|Book Reviews, Impact|0 Comments|
  • efficiency
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    ‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

How can the efficiency of public sector organisations best be measured? Jesse Stroobants and Geert Bouckaert write that while the efficiency of an organisation is typically measured using performance indicators, there are some notable problems with this approach, such as the tendency for different indicators to produce conflicting conclusions on organisational performance. As an alternative, they outline so called ‘frontier methods’, which use […]

  • greatbritishtoiletmap
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    Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

What exactly is open data and how does it relate to education? Marieke Guy from the Open Knowledge Foundation will be speaking at the LSE this Wednesday 26 November 5-7pm as part of the Learning Technology and Innovation NetworkED series (booking still open). Ahead of her talk she answers a few questions on the opportunities and vulnerabilities involved in providing greater access […]

  • subwaychaos
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    Standards for scientific graphic presentation: Interactive figures could significantly improve understanding of data.

Standards for scientific graphic presentation: Interactive figures could significantly improve understanding of data.

Over the previous hundred years, a lot of work has gone into standardizing the way scientific data is presented. All of this knowledge has been largely forgotten. Jure Triglav wants us to bring the past back to life. Drawing on lessons learned from the New York City subway system and the graphic standards of 1914, he argues for the […]

  • higher ed
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    Book Review: Reshaping the University: the Rise of the Regulated Market in Higher Education by David Palfreyman and Ted Tapper

Book Review: Reshaping the University: the Rise of the Regulated Market in Higher Education by David Palfreyman and Ted Tapper

This book focuses on the policy of removing almost entirely public support for the payment of student fees. Although it goes into great detail regarding the emergence of the regulated market as a way of delivering higher education to growing numbers, it does so with little apparent appreciation for what that emergence has required within the universities and in the […]

  • messiness
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    Embracing Messiness: Open access offers the chance to creatively experiment with scholarly publishing.

Embracing Messiness: Open access offers the chance to creatively experiment with scholarly publishing.

In the quest for greater access to scholarly work, the discussion has long been characterised as a search, for better or for worse, for the most sustainable model. In this transcript of her recent talk at the Post-Digital Scholar conference, Janneke Adema warns that framing the debate in terms of business models might actually lead to a watered-down version of open […]

Buzzfeed: A new home for research?

Jeff Knezovich shares his experience using the online news portal Buzzfeed to share the latest research findings. For topics not usually at the front-and-centre, Buzzfeed provides a quick and easy way to bring people up to speed. Buzzfeed’s ‘splainer (short for ‘explainer’) format was very well received, with the post accessed ten times more than the PDF and research website […]

  • 1280px-A_researcher_working_with_delicate_resource_at_The_National_Archives
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    Everyday webpages as scholarly source material: Interrogating the archived UK Web.

Everyday webpages as scholarly source material: Interrogating the archived UK Web.

With the advances in web analysis, Adam Crymble hails the opportunity for historians to turn to the Internet as a rich source in itself. But are historians trained to take advantage of this new opportunity? Corpus linguistics, data manipulation, clustering algorithms, and distant reading will be valuable skills for dealing with this new body of historical data.

The second talk […]

  • speech_bubble_psd_by_nishithv-d5sfcsq
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    What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results.

What makes a successful research project blog? Forums for generating ideas fare better than sharing final results.

Coordinating a research project blog has many benefits, but it can lead to some difficulties in practice. Pat Thomson reflects on the types of project blogs in her experience worked better than others. The ones aimed at developing ideas and connecting with external partners were very useful. But the presentation of core findings were a concern to some funders. Furthermore, when […]

  • walrus
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    Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

In order to get a perfect assessment method, are we at risk of developing systems that are ever more complex and time-consuming? Dorothy Bishop looks at the differences between readily available measures to award research funding and the highly complicated RAE formula. An evaluation system need not be perfect – it just needs to be ‘good enough’ to provide a […]

  • purity
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    Open science and the disciplinary culture clash – Why is it so hard to reach a consensus?

Open science and the disciplinary culture clash – Why is it so hard to reach a consensus?

When it comes down to the nitty gritty detail of what open science means for an individual researcher, the disciplinary context is key. As clear and straightforward as making research publicly available is, many questions still remain for specific disciplines. Peter Kraker reports back from a session on openness in the humanities where definitions of data, research work and research materials […]

  • social attention citation
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    From Attention to Citation: What are altmetrics and how do they work?

From Attention to Citation: What are altmetrics and how do they work?

Scholarly and social impacts of scientific publications could be measured by various metrics, including article usage, Mendeley readership and Altmetric scores, etc. But what is the relationship amongst the different metrics? Previous studies show there is low correlation between altmetrics and citation, but how do altmetrics compare to other metrics? Xianwen Wang and his colleagues recently conducted a study to answer […]

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