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    How to make better mistakes in public policy: Learn from the negative results just as much as the positive ones.

How to make better mistakes in public policy: Learn from the negative results just as much as the positive ones.

We all make mistakes, a tendency which also extends to those who work in public policy. But we often only hear about successes. Bucking this trend, Kevin Arceneaux and Daniel Butler describe a recent pilot program aimed at boosting civic engagement. Rather than increasing the number of people who volunteered for town committees as intended, the three tactics they […]

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    Book Review: The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age by Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green

Book Review: The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age by Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green

Based upon fieldwork at a London school, The Class: Living and Learning in the Digital Age is a new study of how adolescent learning and identities are being shaped by the digital world, both within and beyond the classroom. This instructive book from Sonia Livingstone (LSE, Media and Communications) and Julian Sefton-Green (LSE, Media and Communications) offers valuable insights that will be of use to those […]

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    What do mathematicians think about their journals? Peer review quality tops list of stated issues

What do mathematicians think about their journals? Peer review quality tops list of stated issues

Cameron Neylon (Curtin University), David Michael Roberts (University of Adelaide) and Mark C Wilson (University of Auckland) have conducted a large-scale survey of what mathematicians think of their scholarly publishing options and what improvements are required. Covering topics like open access, peer review and editorial processes, the survey findings reveal some fascinating insights into the scholarly communication system as […]

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    Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration.

Dialogue over dissemination: Unlocking the potential of knowledge exchange through creative collaboration.

Knowledge exchange and impact activities often have to negotiate, incorporate and synthesise different kinds of expertise. Mona Sloane looks at how the Configuring Light Roundtables have sought to bring together perspectives on inequalities in social housing lighting by encouraging productive dialogue between those with abstract and practical expertise. This kind of collaboration offers real potential for re-defining universities as […]

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    “We should expect more, not less of our profession”: Responses to ‘Should academics be expected to change policy?’

“We should expect more, not less of our profession”: Responses to ‘Should academics be expected to change policy?’

James Lloyd’s recent post “Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change” has received considerable attention in research and policy circles since it was first published two weeks ago. Drawing on their respective experiences with research impact in policymaking, Chris Neff, Paul Smyth and Luke Craven each offer […]

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    Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change

Should academics be expected to change policy? Six reasons why it is unrealistic for research to drive policy change

UK social scientists feel a growing pressure to achieve policy change. In reality, this process is more complex than it sounds. James Lloyd looks at six reasons that limit the impact research can have on policy change. None of this should suggest that academic researchers shouldn’t seek to influence policymaking. But more consideration is needed on how best academic […]

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    It’s time to teach — but which time is it? Tracing academic practices through more appropriate time metrics.

It’s time to teach — but which time is it? Tracing academic practices through more appropriate time metrics.

Academics may be well aware of mounting time pressures but is standard clock-time useful for understanding academic work? Alexander Mitterle, Carsten Würmann, and Roland Bloch look at how teaching is understood in relation to time in German universities. They report how the SWS, a figure related to an individual course frame, can be understood as a quantifiable time classification, but one […]

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    Book Review: Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters by Les Back

Book Review: Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters by Les Back

Presenting a collection of diary-style entries as though from a single academic year, Les Back chronicles three decades of his career in Academic Diary: Or Why Higher Education Still Matters. The book offers witty and thought-provoking insight into such topics as writing, PhD supervision, viva examiners and dealing with academic colleagues, as well as reflecting on some of the serious […]

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    Announcing OpenCon 2016: Catalyzing collective action for a more open scholarly system.

Announcing OpenCon 2016: Catalyzing collective action for a more open scholarly system.

Each year OpenCon brings together students and early career academic professionals from around the world to advance Open Access, Open Education and Open Data. Nick Shockey and Joseph McArthur announce here the next OpenCon dates. In addition, Chris Hartgerink takes a look back at OpenCon 2015 and reflects on how the conference became the catalyst for a variety of deliberate actions […]

April 27th, 2016|Open Access|0 Comments|
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    Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

Case method in the digital age: How might new technologies shape experiential learning and real-life story telling?

The Case Method is a teaching approach popular in business schools that aims to introduce students to a range of real-life scenarios and build decision-making skills. But little evolution has occurred in the style of Case Studies over the years. Tom Clark looks at innovation in the format and its delivery to teachers and students. In the age of digital learning, the route […]

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    What makes research excellent? Digging into the measures aimed at quantifying and promoting research excellence.

What makes research excellent? Digging into the measures aimed at quantifying and promoting research excellence.

“Research excellence” is a tricky concept in theory and arguably trickier to capture in practice. Toni Pustovrh shares findings from a recent study which looks at how research is currently quantified and evaluated in Slovenia. In-depth interviews with scientists reveal a variety of views on the concept and the current mechanisms in place. The analysis suggests that neither a predominantly peer-review based […]

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    The Materiality of Motherhood in Academic Research: Notes on ”Workflow” from a Mid-Life Doctoral Mother

The Materiality of Motherhood in Academic Research: Notes on ”Workflow” from a Mid-Life Doctoral Mother

In this feature essay, Helen Butlin reflects on the process of rethinking the notion of ‘workflow’ as a mid-life doctoral mother concurrently working in front-line healthcare. She describes how this has meant apprenticing to writing as a craft, redefining one’s understanding of ‘the good PhD student’ and accepting the inevitable messiness of both life and academic research.

This essay originally appeared […]

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    Many a true word is spoken in jest: Twitter accounts that mock, self-ridicule and bring a smile to academia.

Many a true word is spoken in jest: Twitter accounts that mock, self-ridicule and bring a smile to academia.

Academic Twitter is more than just sharing research articles and live-tweeting at conferences. Andy Tattersall gives an overview of the humorous accounts that aim to pull back the curtain on the Ivory Tower and share its oddities, culture and inconsistencies. Despite the silliness, the following accounts often discuss issues rarely touched on in the academic community. These accounts offer a lighthearted take […]

April 13th, 2016|Social Media|8 Comments|
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    Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Having a funding application rejected does not necessarily mean the research is unsupportable by funders – maybe just unlucky. There is a significant risk to wider society in the rejection of unlucky but otherwise sound applications: good ideas may slip through the cracks, or be re-worked and dulled-down to sound more likely to provide reliable results. Oli Preston looks at […]

Book Review: The Research Impact Handbook by Mark Reed

Drawing on a range of evidence-based principles that underpin impact delivery, The Research Impact Handbook by Mark Reed aims to equip researchers with the skills and confidence needed to embed impact in their own research. Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy at HEFCE, finds the text a valuable contribution and welcomes the mixture of theoretical and practical approaches for researchers […]

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    From Computing Clerks to Androids: Two bits on the material lives of social data in India.

From Computing Clerks to Androids: Two bits on the material lives of social data in India.

The social and material conditions of data collection have a significant bearing on how we think about and understand data. Sandeep Mertia looks at the history of data collection in India and how the conditions have changed over time. From the work of the eminent statistician and founder of the Indian Statistical Institute, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, to the now large scale surveys conducted […]

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    How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

How do students access the resources they need? Survey finds only one in five obtain all resources legally.

Laura Czerniewicz presents an overview of findings from a study on the practices of university students accessing learning resources at a research-intensive university in South Africa. There is a grey zone in the access of resources that is now simply part of normal life in a new communication and information order. The students’ perspectives raise critical issues for new models of […]

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    Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Metrics in academia are often an opaque mess, filled with biases and ill-judged assumptions that are used in overly deterministic ways. By getting involved with their design, academics can productively push metrics in a more transparent direction. Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber introduce an example of designing metrics within their own institution. Using the metric of grant income, their tool ResViz […]

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