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    Where are we with responsible metrics? And where might we go next? Reflections from two recent events

Where are we with responsible metrics? And where might we go next? Reflections from two recent events

Widespread scepticism and concern among researchers, universities, representative bodies and learned societies about the broader use of metrics in research assessment and management has led to concerted efforts to promote the “responsible use” of such metrics. But how effectively are UK higher education institutions engaging with this agenda? Lizzie Gadd reflects on two recent responsible metrics-themed events. While it […]

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    Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

The difficulty of reaching practitioners and experts is one of the main challenges faced by early-career researchers in particular, and one that can overshadow fieldwork experiences and attempts to produce new knowledge. While researchers might feel that they are being ignored or treated as a nuisance by experts, the latter often have a different view of researchers’ attempt to […]

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2017 in review: top posts of the year

As 2017 nears its end and before our focus is drawn to whatever the new year might have in store, now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on the last twelve months on the Impact Blog. Editor Kieran Booluck reports on another year in which our readership has grown, and also shares a selection of the […]

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    Writing a PhD in your second language: seven reasons you’re doing great and five ways to do even better

Writing a PhD in your second language: seven reasons you’re doing great and five ways to do even better

For those PhD students for whom English is not their first language, writing a thesis can be a daunting task and a source of some anxiety too. Katherine Firth has worked with many of these students and as well as offering reasons why they should feel reassured, also provides a short list of simple pointers to help improve their skills. […]

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    How to survive the cruel world of peer-reviewed funding applications

How to survive the cruel world of peer-reviewed funding applications

With government funding and industry support for research either static or falling, the grant funding environment has become increasingly competitive. Most funding goes to those in secure employment who have been in academia for some time, making the outlook particularly grim for early-career researchers. Jonathan O’Donnell sets out some practical advice for early-career researchers competing for grant funding; starting […]

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    Metrics, recognition, and rewards: it’s time to incentivise the behaviours that are good for research and researchers

Metrics, recognition, and rewards: it’s time to incentivise the behaviours that are good for research and researchers

Researchers have repeatedly voiced their dissatisfaction with how the journals they publish in are used as a proxy for the evaluation of their work. However, those who wish to break free of this model fear negative consequences for their future funding and careers. Rebecca Lawrence emphasises the importance of addressing researchers’ recognition and reward structures, arguing it is time […]

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    Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

The metrics used to identify excellence, and on which current tenure and promotion decisions are based, have become a barrier to more exciting and innovative scholarship. Christopher P. Long suggests an overhaul of tenure and promotion practices, advocating a holistic approach in which structured mentoring plays a key role and values-based metrics that will empower faculty to tell more […]

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    Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Modern scientific expertise rests heavily upon work carried out by teams, rather than scholars working on their own. Proper preparation is key, with some research suggesting that the effectiveness of collaborative work is determined before any of the work is carried out. Howard Aldrich and Akram Al-Turk have identified four structural elements that increase the likelihood of creating and […]

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    New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

For what reasons do academics follow one another on Twitter? Robert Jäschke, Stephanie B. Linek and Christian P. Hoffmann analysed the Twitter activity of computer scientists and found that while the quality of information provided by a Twitter account is a key motive for following academic colleagues, there is also evidence of a career planning motive. As well as […]

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The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers. Findings reveal that many diverse factors, from funding […]

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    Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

As flaws in the peer review process are highlighted and calls for reform become more frequent, it may be tempting for some to denigrate and dismiss the contributions of the reviewers themselves. Maxine David has been witness to this and here makes an appeal to give space to recognise those who offer their time and expertise voluntarily and generously.

It […]

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    Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

Ethical issues related to the peer review process are increasingly complex and can be tricky to navigate and resolve. This Peer Review Week 2017, COPE (the Committee on Publication Ethics) released a revised, updated version of its guidelines for editors, reviewers, and would-be reviewers. These expanded resources include more information for early-career researchers, as well as addressing some of […]

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    What should ECRs and PhDers consider when choosing a conference? Purpose, cost, and motivation

What should ECRs and PhDers consider when choosing a conference? Purpose, cost, and motivation

For many early-career researchers and those studying for a PhD, settling on which conference(s) to attend can be a tough and fraught decision. So what is the most important thing to consider? Pat Thomson suggests three answers to this question, covering why you believe you should go to an event, whether it represents value for money, and whether or […]

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Starter tips on sharing data and analysis scripts

Researchers are increasingly encouraged to make their data openly accessible and usable for others. To early-career researchers in particular, this can seem daunting, with different considerations when posting data publicly rather than retaining it solely for internal use. Katherine Wood has compiled a short open data starter guide to make the process less overwhelming and help researchers do their bit […]

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    Increasingly collaborative researcher behaviour is the real threat to the resilient academic publishing sector

Increasingly collaborative researcher behaviour is the real threat to the resilient academic publishing sector

Traditional academic publishing has been rumoured to be imperilled for decades now. Despite continued criticism over pricing and a growing open access movement, a number of recent reports point to the sector’s resilience. Francis Dodds suggests this is partly attributable to the adaptability of academic publishers but also highlights attitudes of researchers surprisingly committed to the status quo as […]

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    Open Abstracts: a new peer review feature that helps scholars develop connections and encourages transdisciplinarity

Open Abstracts: a new peer review feature that helps scholars develop connections and encourages transdisciplinarity

The peer review process has been subjected to a steady stream of criticism in recent years. This has driven certain innovations, from revealing the content of the process post-publication, to crowdsourcing initiatives. Patrick Riechert and Frédéric Dubois introduce a new peer review feature that is currently being piloted on the journal, Internet Policy Review. Authors are invited to submit […]

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    Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

One of the most contentious aspects of the Stern review of the 2014 REF was the recommendation that research outputs should not be portable in future exercises. The subsequent consultation revealed a significant minority to be in support of this, echoing Stern’s concerns that current rules distort investment incentives and encourage rent-seeking. However, a majority opposed this recommendation as […]

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    Writing a coherent integrative chapter is crucial for a successful PhD by publication

Writing a coherent integrative chapter is crucial for a successful PhD by publication

In a recent Impact Blog post, Jørgen Carling outlined the reasons why he feels the PhD by publication is a good model for doctoral candidates to choose. Here, prompted by the relative scarcity of supporting resources available, Pirjo Nikander and Nelli Piattoeva offer advice for any prospective PhD-by-publication candidates looking to plan the writing of their integrative chapter. Crucial […]

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    A PhD by publication allows you to write for real and varied audiences, inviting intellectual exchanges that benefit your research

A PhD by publication allows you to write for real and varied audiences, inviting intellectual exchanges that benefit your research

A PhD by publication requires doctoral candidates to submit a set of papers for peer-reviewed journals plus an integrating chapter, rather than the more traditional doctoral dissertation. This remains a less common, sometimes frowned-upon model, but Jørgen Carling outlines eight reasons why a PhD by publication might be a good option. It allows you to write for real, varied […]

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