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    Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Depending on your perspective, think tanks either enrich the democratic space by conducting policy research and facilitating public dialogue and debate, or undermine democracy by pushing policies favoured by powerful corporate interests. Till Bruckner explains how Transparify are contributing to debate about think tanks’ role in evidence-based policymaking by assessing their levels of financial transparency. The Transparify report, released […]

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    Digital collections offer researchers opportunities to develop new skills and scholarly communications networks

Digital collections offer researchers opportunities to develop new skills and scholarly communications networks

Digital collections, such as those built in libraries and other cultural heritage institutions, are being used less as mere static repositories but rather as live, interactive resources. Harriett Green and Angela Courtney have examined humanities researchers’ needs for digital collections and learned that they are not only essential to scholars’ ability to access materials but also influence multiple aspects […]

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    Disentangling the academic web: what might have been learnt from Discogs and IMDB

Disentangling the academic web: what might have been learnt from Discogs and IMDB

In recent years there has been huge, rapid growth in the number of online platforms and tools made available to academics carrying out their research activities. However, for many, such choice can lead to decision fatigue or uncertainty as to what is most appropriate. Andy Tattersall reflects on the success of Discogs and IMDB and considers what problems a […]

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    Embedding open science practices within evaluation systems can promote research that meets societal needs in developing countries

Embedding open science practices within evaluation systems can promote research that meets societal needs in developing countries

Researchers’ choices are inevitably affected by assessment systems. This often means pursuing publication in a high-impact journal and topics that appeal to the international scientific community. For researchers from developing countries, this often also means focusing on other countries or choosing one aspect of their own country that has such international appeal. Consequently, researchers’ activities can become dislocated from […]

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    Five minutes with John Holmwood and Martin Eve – discussing the future of academic publishing

Five minutes with John Holmwood and Martin Eve – discussing the future of academic publishing

Today marks the beginning of Academic Book Week (#AcBookWeek), “the week-long celebration of the diversity, innovation and influence of academic books throughout history”. First established in 2015, #AcBookWeek returns for its second year and will run until 28 January. As part of a varied programme of events, later today John Holmwood and Martin Eve will speak about the future of […]

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    Feedback helps increase the impact of academic research, even more so when coming from well-connected colleagues

Feedback helps increase the impact of academic research, even more so when coming from well-connected colleagues

Obtaining feedback and receiving constructive criticism improves academic research and increases its impact. This is especially true when that feedback is offered by colleagues who are particularly well-connected in a research field’s social network, according to the findings of a new study by Co-Pierre Georg and Michael E. Rose. Informal intellectual collaborations with well-connected colleagues can point authors to […]

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    Persistent identifiers – building trust and supporting openness in digital scholarship

Persistent identifiers – building trust and supporting openness in digital scholarship

The inevitable ambiguities arising from using names can hamper our ability to reliably and transparently discover, connect, and access resources. If we’re to fully realise the potential of open, digital scholarship then automatic, resolvable connections between researchers, institutions, research outputs and funders are essential. ORCID’s Josh Brown and Alice Meadows outline how persistent identifiers are able to make these […]

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    Plato and Aristotle plan a symposium: a surreal take on academic conferences

Plato and Aristotle plan a symposium: a surreal take on academic conferences

Neatly summarising the insights first outlined in his earlier posts examining the merits of contemporary academic conferences, Donald Nicolson imagines a conversation between Plato and Aristotle as the two great thinkers make plans for their forthcoming symposium.

As Plato and Aristotle wandered through the School of Athens, wondering what they could do to improve their upcoming symposium, they hit upon […]

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    The focus on better communicating certain ‘truths’ is misplaced: academics must improve their emotional literacy

The focus on better communicating certain ‘truths’ is misplaced: academics must improve their emotional literacy

Following the selection of ‘post-truth’ as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016, Ruth Dixon takes inspiration from artist Grayson Perry’s plea that academics should cultivate greater emotional understanding of those with whom they disagree. It’s time for political scientists to question, with some humility, their own ‘deficit model’ of the public understanding of politics.

In November, I attended […]

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    Surviving work as an academic in the age of measuring impact

Surviving work as an academic in the age of measuring impact

Views that academics can avoid the problems of work and aren’t experienced in the ‘real world’ are wrong, writes Jane Tinkler. Precarious employment, balancing teaching, research and publishing demands and demonstrating impact are very real pressures. Indeed, it is through lasting, trusting partnerships with business that researchers can truly have influence beyond academia.

This piece originally appeared on the LSE Business Review […]

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    How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

Questions over how academics and the third sector can collaborate to influence policy are not new. However, Duncan Green has noted some interesting research and insights from the InterAction report published earlier this summer. Intermediaries play an increasingly crucial role, while embedded gateways can help simplify often confusing university infrastructures.

I’ve recently finished reading InterAction, a thought-provoking report that asks “How can […]

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Conference travel as a barrier to knowledge development

Following his previous post on the impact of academic conferences, Donald Nicolson considers the potential problems posed by conference travel. Are academics from the southern hemisphere and Asia disadvantaged by the disproportionate number of northern hemisphere venues? And might the realities of modern day international travel discourage some academics from attending conferences at all? Such barriers can impact on […]

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Giving evidence in Parliament: a how-to guide for academics

Providing evidence to policymakers through select committees is a great way for researchers to influence current policy debates. But if you haven’t done it before, the formality of the task may appear daunting. Patrick Hanley has compiled thoughts and experiences from several LSE academics with their tips on preparing and giving evidence to policymakers. This is part one of a series on giving […]

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The last great unknown? The impact of academic conferences.

What do academic conferences contribute? How do academic conferences make a difference both in the lives of academics and wider society? Donald Nicolson looks at a few examples of conferences that have been able to make a demonstrable impact and argues it is to the benefit of the academy to learn more about how to get the most out […]

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    So you want to change policy? Six steps for academics looking to achieve policy change

So you want to change policy? Six steps for academics looking to achieve policy change

The inevitable chaos and unpredictability of politics makes trying to achieve policy change a real challenge. But that doesn’t mean academics should just give up. Drawing from policy analysis and public affairs lessons, James Lloyd recommends six steps to get researchers going in the right direction towards achieving policy change.

Last month I wrote a piece for the LSE Impact blog […]

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