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    Overhyped and concentrated investments in research funding are leading to unsustainable science bubbles.

Overhyped and concentrated investments in research funding are leading to unsustainable science bubbles.

David Budtz Pedersen examines how the scientific market exhibits bubble behaviour similar to that of financial markets. Taking as an example the overwhelming investments in neuroscience, such high expectations may actually drain the research system from resources and new ideas. In the end the permanent competition for funding and the lack of ‘risk diversification’, might generate a climate in which citizens and […]

Three ways podcasting can make you a more engaged academic

National Podcast Day is 30th September and is a day dedicated to promoting podcasting worldwide through education and public engagement. Here, Amy Mollett, managing editor of LSE Review of Books, and Cheryl Brumley, our multimedia editor, talk us through three ways that academics can use podcasting to enhance their engagement with students and expand the reach of their work beyond academia.

This piece […]

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    Why books matter: There is value in what cannot be evaluated.

Why books matter: There is value in what cannot be evaluated.

Academic publishing is intricately bound to evaluation. The demand to publish as much as possible has led to the chopping up of research into  minimum publishable units across journals that are easily counted, ranked and evaluated. Books, however, are not so easily accounted for. Julien McHardy argues the value of books is in this freedom from evaluation which offers the chance to pursue […]

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    Whose ideas are they anyway? Academic work as a form of public action, rather than possession.

Whose ideas are they anyway? Academic work as a form of public action, rather than possession.

Do our academic creations belong to us? Should we think of them as property? Amidst debates about how to cite properly and circulating fears of ideas being stolen, do we risk losing touch with wider questions about how ideas emerge and develop, and the limits of provenance? Davina Cooper argues public action may provide a better way of thinking […]

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    A systems-thinking approach to public policy eschews linear model for more holistic understanding of decision-making.

A systems-thinking approach to public policy eschews linear model for more holistic understanding of decision-making.

Policy-making and effective municipal intervention are embedded in a complex web of interrelationships. Joseph A. Curtatone and Mark Esposito write on how decisions in one realm have ripple effects in others. Systems-thinking looks to apply a more holistic way of addressing real-world problems. Harvard students and the city of Somerville, Massachusetts are partnering to tackle problems using a systems-focused approach.

For public officials, the law […]

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    How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.

How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.

Competition for funding and jobs is often cited as a helpful mechanism for spurning innovation and productivity in science. But Jessica Polka challenges this idea by drawing from the results of an experiment known as Duncker’s candle problem. The experiment revealed external rewards can actually inhibit creative thinking. If science is like the version of the candle problem, are […]

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    Essential Guide: How to start an Open Access journal in five steps

Essential Guide: How to start an Open Access journal in five steps

As Open Access publishing continues its momentum, opportunities are growing for researchers to shift their disciplinary and institution platforms to affordable open access models. Suzanne Pilaar Birch describes her experience of getting Open Quaternary started, shedding light on article processing charges, editorial board creation and publisher ethos.

Open access was by no means a new concept when the “Academic Spring” of April 2012 was […]

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    Academic publishing can free itself from its outdated path dependence by looking to alternative review mechanisms.

Academic publishing can free itself from its outdated path dependence by looking to alternative review mechanisms.

Path dependence means that a logical decision in the past establishes itself as the norm and leads to a suboptimal system in the present. Benedikt Fecher looks at the case of the QWERTY keyboard and the current system of academic publishing as examples of how outdated processes continue to scale. Many of the historic strengths of print-based publishing are […]

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    Publication bias against negative findings is detrimental to the progression of science.

Publication bias against negative findings is detrimental to the progression of science.

As a large funder of biomedical research, the Wellcome Trust is keen to ensure that the findings of that research are widely and openly shared. There is a body of evidence that indicates a bias against writing up and publishing of negative findings. Jonathon Kram and Adam Dinsmore, from the Wellcome Trust evaluation team, discuss why this could create a barrier to scientific progress.

There is a […]

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    Data carpentry is a skilled, hands-on craft which will form a major part of data science in the future.

Data carpentry is a skilled, hands-on craft which will form a major part of data science in the future.

As data science becomes all the more relevant and indeed, profitable, attention has been placed on the value of cleaning a data set. David Mimno unpicks the term and the process and suggests that data carpentry may be a more suitable description. There is no such thing as pure or clean data buried in a thin layer of non-clean data. In […]

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    Academia and storytelling are not incompatible – how to reduce the risks and gain control of your research narrative.

Academia and storytelling are not incompatible – how to reduce the risks and gain control of your research narrative.

Rigorous research and attention-grabbing storytelling are very different trades and it is clear there are professional and personal risks for academics looking to translate complex data into bite-size stories. But Cheryl Brumley argues the narrative arc and rigorous research are not inherently incompatible and steps can be taken to minimise the associated risks. By focusing on new audiences and by maintaining […]

Why do bloggers blog so much about blogging?

More than just the enthusiastic pronouncements of reaching wider audiences, Pat Thomson suspects that blogging has in many ways legitimated, promoted and extended an interest in the practice of academic writing itself. Blogs about blogging suggest that bloggers also find – and frequently point to – new forms of peer support and other academic opportunities generated through their blogging. This […]

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    Book Review: Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives

Book Review: Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives

This book brings together research that addresses some of the most significant cultural, economic, and political roles of the Internet. Peter Webster finds that individually, the essays in this volume are uniformly strong: lucid, cogent and concise, and accompanied with useful lists of further reading. As a whole, the volume prompts fertile reflections on the method and purpose of the new discipline […]

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    Audible Impact Episode 3: Big Data and the Future of the Social Sciences

Audible Impact Episode 3: Big Data and the Future of the Social Sciences

 

In this podcast, Professor Patrick Dunleavy talks about how big data will affect the future of the social sciences. Say goodbye to academic siloes as we enter into a new age of cross/multi/and inter-disciplinary research. In this changing landscape, the old boundaries between physical, social and data science disintegrate. Here Professor Dunleavy talks about the Social Science of Human-Dominated […]

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    Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.

Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.

Millions of people—mostly in developing countries—lack access to life-saving drugs. Righting this imbalance is among the most important challenges of global public health of this century, argues Akansha Mehta. There is scant evidence to prove that frameworks for intellectual property rights and patent protection have benefited research, development and innovation in developing countries. When the laws of trade and commerce override the human […]

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    The Open Educational Resources Impact Map: researching impact through openness and collaboration.

The Open Educational Resources Impact Map: researching impact through openness and collaboration.

Much sharing and use of open educational resources (OER) is relatively informal, difficult to observe, and part of a wider pattern of open activity. What the open education movement needs is a way to draw together disparate fragments of evidence into a coherent analytic framework. Rob Farrow provides background on a project devoted to consolidating efforts of OER practitioners […]

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