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    Banning ‘suicide’ from the syllabus: We need a more sensitive pedagogic style without having recourse to bans.

Banning ‘suicide’ from the syllabus: We need a more sensitive pedagogic style without having recourse to bans.

AQA’s decision to ban references of suicide from textbooks has been met with criticism from the sociology community. Anaïs Duong-Pedica argues it is naïve to assume that young people will never have encountered the idea of suicide prior to their A-levels. Refusing to engage with suicide in the classroom also marginalises students’ own experiences of suicide. Rather, measures should be […]

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    Women’s working lives in the managerial university and the pernicious effects of the ‘normal’ academic career.

Women’s working lives in the managerial university and the pernicious effects of the ‘normal’ academic career.

University faculties need to be able to demonstrate to young people, male and female, that women can be just as inspiring teachers and researchers, and be able to live as enjoyable a domestic life as their male counterparts. Angela McRobbie reflects on how the ideal career track in the academy, suffused with constant benchmarking around ‘excellence’ and the REF’s logic […]

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    A ‘contributions’ approach to impact: The influential role of research users in facilitating wider outcomes.

A ‘contributions’ approach to impact: The influential role of research users in facilitating wider outcomes.

Research users are not passive recipients of knowledge, but engage with research from their own perspectives. Sarah Morton has been working in knowledge exchange since 2001 and has recently published a framework for assessing research impact based on contribution analysis. Here she talks about how her approach not only provides impact analysis, but helps improve knowledge exchange with a […]

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    How should academics in the field of migration studies respond to the crisis in Calais?

How should academics in the field of migration studies respond to the crisis in Calais?

Bridget Anderson writes that viewing the crisis as a ‘migration problem’ misses the full picture: namely that those stuck in Calais are a symptom of a wider problem encompassing wars on the edges of Europe, an unequal economic system and the legacy of Europe’s colonial history. One way researchers can respond is by thinking about migration as a lens as well […]

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    Author survey data reveals changing perceptions of scholarly communication and wider participation in open access.

Author survey data reveals changing perceptions of scholarly communication and wider participation in open access.

Dan Penny, Head of Insights at Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmillan, shares findings from the recent Author Insights Survey. The survey data is openly available and offers an extensive look into researcher perceptions and understandings of academic publishing. Few researchers are now unaware of open access. But perceptions of quality still remain a significant barrier to further OA involvement.

From Chinese […]

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    The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

Without appealing to hierarchy and tradition, how might we start a root-and-branch conversation to establish academic criteria for what disciplines, units and structures to keep, and what to kill? Thinking in a serious way about how knowledge production should be organised requires setting aside the rankings charts and becoming acquainted with the origins of scholarly research and higher education […]

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    Permission to tweet? The underlying principles of good science communication are all about sharing.

Permission to tweet? The underlying principles of good science communication are all about sharing.

Terry Wheeler was at the 100th annual conference of the Ecological Society of America last week. Alongside community shifts towards openness, the rise of Twitter has led to a huge shift in the way science is shared. But with little explanation from the organisers, a confusing opt-in policy for live-tweeting was implemented. Social media is one of the most powerful tools scientists […]

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    Tracking the impact of intervention research reveals complex interplay of researchers’ actions and external factors.

Tracking the impact of intervention research reveals complex interplay of researchers’ actions and external factors.

Lucie Rychetnik and Robyn Newson were part of a research group examining the ‘real-world’ impacts of health intervention research. Using an impact assessment scoring system, they found a wide range of possible impacts. They also found local contextual and organisational factors, and unpredictable windows of opportunity were as important as the skills of individual researchers and the quality of their research.

Increasingly, in both […]

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    The radical potential of the Digital Humanities: The most challenging computing problem is the interrogation of power

The radical potential of the Digital Humanities: The most challenging computing problem is the interrogation of power

Digital humanities is a discipline that defines itself around the melding of traditional theories and new digital possibilities and offers a rich source of inspiration and reflection for the wider academic community. Miriam Posner recently gave a keynote on the discipline’s contested relationship with the social construction of data and its profoundly ideological nature. The digital humanities, and the wider scholarly community, face a […]

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    Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Non-verbal communication is extremely influential in interpersonal encounters, and knowing how to leverage non-verbal signals effectively can be a key leadership skill. Connson Locke shares her research findings that suggest displaying an overly-confident and authoritative non-verbal communication can have a damaging effect on a team’s sharing of information and collaboration.

This piece originally appeared on British Politics and Policy.

It is widely accepted that […]

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    Five things I learned when my research went viral — A little science communication training goes a long way.

Five things I learned when my research went viral — A little science communication training goes a long way.

With a growing number of mechanisms for research to reach the public, there is always a chance that your study may unexpectedly ‘go viral’. Heidi Appel of the University of Missouri-Columbia discusses the process of how her study was picked up and carried across traditional media news cycles and the unexpected directions in which the research was taken. She offers some practical tips […]

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    Science on Television: Despite tensions, the potential of visual narrative and scientific storytelling is enormous.

Science on Television: Despite tensions, the potential of visual narrative and scientific storytelling is enormous.

Is a television programme the format least suited to the communication of complex scientific ideas? Clara Florensa, Oliver Hochadel and Carlos Tabernero discuss a conference that brought TV producers and theorists together to engage constructively on the topic. Simplification, trivialization and even distortion are the accusations regularly levied against science on screen. But this view misinterprets communication as a top-down process, when in reality, […]

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    Rather than narrow our definition of impact, we should use metrics to explore richness and diversity of outcomes.

Rather than narrow our definition of impact, we should use metrics to explore richness and diversity of outcomes.

Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue […]

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    Book Review: Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals

Book Review: Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals

In Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals, Marcus Morgan and Patrick Baert yield key insights into the dark underside of academe by exploring the dynamics behind a contentious dispute, known as the ‘MacCabe Affair’, over a faculty appointment of an obscure, young scholar at Cambridge University through the framework of cultural sociology and positioning theory, […]

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    Bad apples or rotten barrels? How sociological thinking can help address financial misconduct.

Bad apples or rotten barrels? How sociological thinking can help address financial misconduct.

A key issue for financial regulators facing the misconduct scandals plaguing the banking industry is deciding whether to use a more agent-centric approach that targets individual behaviour or to implement more structural solutions aimed at wider culture. But without having a clear idea of what the culture is, it is impossible to create adequate prescriptions for improvement. Siân Lewin suggests two ideas […]

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    What will the scholarly profile page of the future look like? Provision of metadata is enabling experimentation.

What will the scholarly profile page of the future look like? Provision of metadata is enabling experimentation.

From multi-stakeholder platforms like ORCID, to commercial services like Google Scholar, academic profiles exist in a complex landscape of information flows. Lambert Heller provides an overview of the available scholarly profile pages and offers insight into their future development, which is set to be shaped by business models, technology, and available data streams. 

We’re used to easily finding researchers’ profile pages on the […]

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    The Management of Metrics: Globally agreed, unique identifiers for academic staff are a step in the right direction.

The Management of Metrics: Globally agreed, unique identifiers for academic staff are a step in the right direction.

The Metric Tide report calls for research managers and administrators to champion the use of responsible metrics within their institutions. Simon Kerridge looks at greater detail at specific institutional actions. Signing up to initiatives such as the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is a good start. Furthermore, by mandating unique and disambiguated identifiers for academic staff, like ORCID iDs, […]

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    The metrics dilemma: University leadership needs to get smart about their strategic choices over what counts.

The metrics dilemma: University leadership needs to get smart about their strategic choices over what counts.

The review of metrics enjoins universities not to drift with the ‘metric tide’. To do this requires a united front of strategic leadership across the sector, argues HEFCE’s Steven Hill. Rather than the inevitable claims about league table positions on website front pages, universities could offer further explanation of how the rankings relate to the distinct mission of the institution.

This is part […]

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