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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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    Is it really that difficult to find women to talk about the EU Referendum?

Is it really that difficult to find women to talk about the EU Referendum?

The significant absence of expert women’s voices from media debates and academic events related to the EU Referendum has been widely reported. Roberta Guerrina, Toni Haastrup, Katharine Wright share a list of women EU experts and argue there are in fact many women voices on these issues and they are not difficult to find. More work needs to be done by political […]

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    Accuracy, Transparency and Improv! Best practices for building trust between scientists and communications staff

Accuracy, Transparency and Improv! Best practices for building trust between scientists and communications staff

Researchers are increasingly considering the communication of their work, but it is equally worth considering the many actors at universities and external organisations that are already engaged in these activities. Often, misunderstandings and unclear objectives of the collaboration lead to a breakdown in trust. Aaron Huertas looks at how scientists and communications staff can build effective relationships.  

A lot of […]

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    How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists

How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists

From vaccinations to climate change, getting science wrong has very real consequences. But journal articles, a primary way science is communicated in academia, are a different format to newspaper articles or blogs and require a level of skill and undoubtedly a greater amount of patience. Here Jennifer Raff has prepared a helpful guide for non-scientists on how to read a scientific paper. These steps […]

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    Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Taking Culture Seriously: How can we build positive change and coherent practice within our research communities?

Change in higher education often progresses slowly. If scholars are serious about wanting to change disciplinary and institutional cultures and not merely to wait for Cultural Change to magically happen, Cameron Neylon argues we need to consider the differing approaches to how certain cultures operate, interact and eventually change. Ultimately, change in higher education requires a variety of levers […]

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    Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

Algorithmic accountability in scholarship: what we can learn from #DeleteAcademiaEdu

The controversy surrounding Academia.edu highlights the flaws and limitations of existing scholarly infrastructures. Jean-Christophe Plantin explores the intersection of algorithms, academic research and platforms for scholarly publications. He argues that there is a need to develop a values-centred approach in the development of article-sharing platforms, with suitably designed algorithms.

The networking and article-sharing platform academia.edu has been at the centre of a controversy in […]

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    Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Why do university-managed blogs matter? On the importance of public, open and networked digital infrastructure.

Academic blogging is increasingly valued by academics and institutions as a worthwhile activity. But universities are still struggling to provide the right balance of infrastructure and services to support their academics’ online presence. As universities look to external providers to extend the reach of scholarly ideas, what might be lost by not investing in in-house efforts? Sierra Williams identifies […]

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    Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.

Nine things you need to know about copyright: A good practice guide for administrators, librarians and academics.

It is impossible to work in a university and avoid coming into contact with copyright at some point, especially given the ease with which online content can be copied, pasted, streamed, downloaded and shared. Chris Morrison and Jane Secker provide a helpful explainer of copyright in universities and break down the complexity of how copyright works in practice.

The Association […]

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    Ten years on, how are universities using Twitter to engage with their communities? #LoveTwitter LSE Round-Up

Ten years on, how are universities using Twitter to engage with their communities? #LoveTwitter LSE Round-Up

Amy Mollett, Social Media Manager at the London School of Economics, rounds up how LSE currently uses Twitter for sharing research, interacting with students and alumni, and promoting events. She also looks at what the future of academic social media might look like. For #LoveTwitter day she digs into the altmetrics and shares the most tweeted about pieces of […]

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    The role of ego in academic profile services: Comparing Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Mendeley, and ResearcherID

The role of ego in academic profile services: Comparing Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Mendeley, and ResearcherID

Academic profiling services are a pervasive feature of scholarly life. Alberto Martín-Martín, Enrique Orduna-Malea and Emilio Delgado López-Cózar discuss the advantages and disadvantages of major profile platforms and look at the role of ego in how these services are built and used. Scholars validate these services by using them and should be aware that the portraits shown in these platforms depend to a great […]

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    Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

Moving interdisciplinary research forward: Top down organising force needed to help classify diverse practices.

What does “interdisciplinarity” actually mean? Gabriele Bammer argues lumping interdisciplinary work together may be prohibiting an effective evaluation of how this kind of research is faring. A much more intuitive approach is needed to distinguishing between aspects of diverse research practices. Furthermore, developing effective professional organisations is also a key task for moving interdisciplinary research forward.

In a recent special issue of the journal […]

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    85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

Trish Groves reflects on the scandal of waste, error, and misconduct in clinical and public health research and describes a new effort to tackle research and publication integrity from both ends. This challenge matters everywhere, but it’s specially urgent in low and middle income countries. The University of California, San Francisco and BMJ have teamed up to develop an eLearning programme for […]

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    Research Resilience: Why academics and funders alike should care about #RIPTwitter

Research Resilience: Why academics and funders alike should care about #RIPTwitter

Twitter is under close scrutiny these days with news that its timeline could be subject to further algorithmic control. Farida Vis looks at what such dramatic changes could mean for research. There is a great need for both funding councils and researchers to better understand the potential impact of these data and platform politics. Strategies must be developed to encourage lesser reliance […]

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    Challenging the print paradigm: Web-powered scholarship is set to advance the creation and distribution of research.

Challenging the print paradigm: Web-powered scholarship is set to advance the creation and distribution of research.

Our containers for scholarly works – papers, monographs, PDFs – are anachronistic. Marcus A. Banks argues the Web is flexible enough to facilitate far more opportunities for scholarship in a way that print could never do. A print piece is necessarily reductive, while Web-oriented scholarship can be as capacious as required. He highlights three innovations in particular that are set to transform […]

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    Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.

Should you #DeleteAcademiaEdu? On the role of commercial services in scholarly communication.

Reflecting on the recent surge of criticism about the commercial motives of scholarly social media platform Academia.edu, Paolo Mangiafico argues this is now an ideal opportunity for scholars to make informed choices about their work. If you are comfortable with the trade-offs and risks, and willing to exchange those for the service provided, then don’t #DeleteAcademiaEdu. But consider whether alternatives exist that will meet […]

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    Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

When researchers reach the point of actually writing up their analyses, the writing can often centre around the data itself. Howard Aldrich argues this kind of “data first” strategy to writing goes against the spirit of disciplined inquiry and also severely limits creativity and imagination. Literature reviews and conceptual planning phases in particular would benefit if researchers explored the range of ideas […]

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