There has been much discussion over how useful citation metrics, like Google Scholar’s H-index, really are and to what extent they can be gamed. Specifically there appears to be concern over the practice of self-citation as it varies widely between disciplines. So what should academics make of self-citations? Referring back to our Handbook on Maximising the Impact of Your […]
Reflecting on their experiences supporting the growth of Columbia University’s Academic Commons digital repository, Leyla Williams, Kathryn Pope, and Brian Luna Lucero make a clear case for why other institutional repositories should look to broaden the scope of the materials they house. Institutional repositories (IRs) should actively collect the full range of work produced by scholars and researchers — not just “green” […]
What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.
Duncan Green provides short and sweet translations of some of the key findings from a recent survey looking at how US policymakers use and value international studies research. The findings point to the importance of blogging, but also to the sustained influence of traditional print media. The future of evidence-informed networks may require a more engaged look at what policymakers […]
MOOCs must move beyond open enrolment and demonstrate a true commitment to reuse and long-term redistribution.
In contrast with the type of openness encouraged by Open Education Resources and Open Courseware labels, the openness of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is severely limited. Consequently, Leo Havemann and Javiera Atenas find the recent growth of high quality online learning content is not able to be used to its full advantage. The process of opening up MOOC resources would add […]
Changes to the supply and demand of data are restructuring privileged hierarchies of knowledge, with amateur hackers and machine-readable technology becoming a central part of its analysis. Traditional experts may be hoping for a gradual evolution, but a parallel revolution led by practitioners in the private sector may already be underway. Prasanna Lal Das argues that partnerships will need to incorporate […]
Making it Free, Making it Open: Crowdsourced transcription project leads to unexpected benefits to digital research.
The Transcribe Bentham project, a benchmark achievement for digital humanities research, relies on volunteer transcribers in order to make Jeremy Bentham’s writings more well known, accessible, and searchable, over the long term. Melissa Terras discusses the project’s underpinning ethos which emphasised “co-creation” rather than academic broadcast. This open ethos is also reflected in their approach to making the preprint of their journal article available […]
Book Review: Browne and Beyond: Modernizing English Higher Education, edited by Claire Callender and Peter Scott
Reflecting the changing ideological and economic perspectives of the government of the day, the expansion of higher education in England has prompted numerous reforms aimed at reshaping and restructuring the sector and its funding. Leading to student riots and sparking some of the sharpest controversies in British higher education, the reforms introduced in 2012/13 are by far the most radical, […]
Experiment in open peer review for books suggests increased fairness and transparency in feedback process.
Over two-thirds of Palgrave Macmillan authors thought academic publishers should be experimenting with alternative peer review methods. Hazel Newton, the Head of Digital Publishing at Palgrave Macmillan describes their current peer review pilot investigating how open feedback functions in monograph publishing, from the initial proposal to the finished result. Reflections from Katherine Cartmell and Shepard Masocha, a reviewer and an author in this […]
Regardless of the rhetoric about more openness in academic research, institutions appear to be failing to address some of the deeper issues. In order to stave off the steady rise of regulation and monitoring and to present a coherent alternative to instrumental views about research, it falls to researchers themselves to define the ethos of openness. Andrew C. Rawnsley discusses the moral substance of claims about […]
The future of statistical analysis is in open-source programming, not domain-specific proprietary software.
There is a rising demand for inference from data coupled with the arrival of new software and hardware technologies. Seth Brown evaluates the current availability of tools across different statistical languages, both domain-specific varieties such as R and Stata, and general purpose computing languages like Python. He writes that we are on the cusp of great innovation and the development of better […]
Book Review: The Question of Conscience: Higher Education and Personal Responsibility by David Watson
Does a university education hold any value? How do universities determine what skills are relevant in today’s ever-changing world when information could become outdated even before students graduate? These are some of the questions and problems that David Watson sets out to explore in this book. Ignas Kalpokas finds this a timely work that clearly dissects the current condition of HE and provides a rewarding […]
Engagement with academic research is thriving but more could be done to improve understanding of quantitative data.
Significant change has taken place in the UK and abroad in how academic knowledge is communicated, accessed and written, but persistent stereotypes of the unengaged, obscure professor are still widespread, evidenced most recently by last week’s New York Times article by Nicholas Kristof. Pat Thomson finds Kristof’s piece fails to account for the wealth of hybrid spaces for journalists, academics and the […]
Due to unequal funding streams and leadership structures, dominant frameworks emerge within interdisciplinary departments. Elizabeth Dzeng shares her experience in the field of medical social science where the drive to publish in high impact journals pushes researchers to conform to predominantly objectivist definitions of quality, rather than more interpretive frameworks. Cross-fertilization of ideas will remain limited unless we redefine quality to include […]
There is one scientist in the current House of Commons, and only a handful more with any kind of scientific background. This fact is frequently used to illustrate Parliament’s apparent inability to bring about evidence-based policymaking. However, as Mark Goodwin argues, parliamentarians with scientific backgrounds don’t tend to vote any differently from other MPs, suggesting that either efforts to improve the number […]
The research career offers a variety of opportunities across sectors. Rachel Glennerster weighs up the differences between the policy world and academia for early career researchers looking at their options. Whilst both may be intellectually challenging environments, the reward structures, collaborative potential and research scope are substantially different and personal preferences of these variations may play a big role in […]
Five minutes with Nikolas Rose: “The imperative to make exaggerated promises about impact is damaging to the science itself”
Chris Gilson, Managing Editor of our sister blog USApp, recently interviewed Nikolas Rose, Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London and one of the principal investigators of the interdisciplinary, European Commission-funded Human Brain Project. Here he discusses social science’s relationship with STEM disciplines, the interplay between research and policy, and how his team […]
It’s the Neoliberalism, Stupid: Why instrumentalist arguments for Open Access, Open Data, and Open Science are not enough.
The Open Movement has made impressive strides in the past year, but do these strides stand for reform or are they just symptomatic of the further expansion and entrenchment of neoliberalism? Eric Kansa argues that it is time for the movement to broaden its long-term strategy to tackle the needs for wider reform in the financing and organization of research and education and […]
The sociology of (anti)science: How the social sciences can improve public trust in scientific evidence
More public discussion on science alone is unlikely to convince people to productively engage in scientific discussions. Zuleyka Zevallos explores the sociology of beliefs, values and attitudes and calls for wider reflexive critical thinking on how scientists understand science and the public. The social sciences in particular are well-poised to improve the public’s trust in science as they are focused on the influence […]