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    ‘Big data’ from online market interactions offer a rich opportunity to study human nature and economic behaviour.

‘Big data’ from online market interactions offer a rich opportunity to study human nature and economic behaviour.

Data on the interactions between individuals on the Internet are often viewed as a potential threat to privacy or freedom of expression. As Wojtek Przepiorka writes, however, the ‘big data’ produced by online transactions and feedback processes on websites such as eBay can also be an invaluable resource for academics and policy-makers. He argues that subjecting this data to formal study […]

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    Book Review: The Passionate Economist: How Brian Abel-Smith Shaped Global Health and Social Welfare by Sally Sheard

Book Review: The Passionate Economist: How Brian Abel-Smith Shaped Global Health and Social Welfare by Sally Sheard

In this book Sally Sheard looks at the life and achievements of former LSE professor Brian Abel-Smith, and at the development of health and social welfare systems since the 1950s. The Passionate Economist deserves to find its way on to many people’s shelves and reading lists: not just the historians of health and welfare, but anyone interested in questions of social justice and how academics, […]

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    Increasing involvement of private finance in Higher Ed will have lasting consequences for stability of the sector.

Increasing involvement of private finance in Higher Ed will have lasting consequences for stability of the sector.

Changes in higher education policy are altering the way academic institutions are functioning in Britain. Andrew McGettigan takes a look at the implications of new funding mechanisms for higher education and writes that new methods of debt issuance will increase the financial fragility of academic institutions. Furthermore, due to the increase in students accessing loans, governments will soon be forced to […]

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    Open data sheds light on how universities are minority providers of commissioned research to government.

Open data sheds light on how universities are minority providers of commissioned research to government.

Anyone under the impression that universities are the dominant suppliers to government of commissioned research, advice, and knowledge, think again. Open data on government spending shows the relative dominance of other suppliers and mediators of knowledge to government – not least the private sector and think tanks. Simon Bastow presents some preliminary government-wide data.

Moves towards more transparent and open […]

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    From STEM to STEAM: The potential for arts to facilitate innovation, literacy and participatory democracy.

From STEM to STEAM: The potential for arts to facilitate innovation, literacy and participatory democracy.

The value of the arts goes far beyond its monetary returns. Malaika Cunningham outlines how the arts play a huge role in boosting proficiency within STEM subjects. Creative thinking is needed for truly excellent scientists, engineers and mathematicians, and how better to foster this than a rounded education, which includes arts subjects? Arts education fosters a literate and innovative workforce and strengthens the […]

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    What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

Duncan Green provides short and sweet translations of some of the key findings from a recent survey looking at how US policymakers use and value international studies research. The findings point to the importance of blogging, but also to the sustained influence of traditional print media. The future of evidence-informed networks may require a more engaged look at what policymakers […]

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    Book Review: Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, edited by Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry & Rumona Dickson

Book Review: Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, edited by Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry & Rumona Dickson

Writing a systematic review is one of the most challenging aspects of the academic process. With Doing a Systematic Review: A Student’s Guide, Angela Boland, M. Gemma Cherry and Rumona Dickson aim to offer a detailed and effective guide to writing a successful systematic review. This takes the book beyond the usual “How to…” literature, and makes it a valuable resource for both […]

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    The specter of big data is haunting the world, but has the data revolution already occurred?

The specter of big data is haunting the world, but has the data revolution already occurred?

Changes to the supply and demand of data are restructuring privileged hierarchies of knowledge, with amateur hackers and machine-readable technology becoming a central part of its analysis. Traditional experts may be hoping for a gradual evolution, but a parallel revolution led by practitioners in the private sector may already be underway. Prasanna Lal Das argues that partnerships will need to incorporate […]

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Do we need more scientists in Parliament? Voting behaviour suggests they make little difference.

There is one scientist in the current House of Commons, and only a handful more with any kind of scientific background. This fact is frequently used to illustrate Parliament’s apparent inability to bring about evidence-based policymaking. However, as Mark Goodwin argues, parliamentarians with scientific backgrounds don’t tend to vote any differently from other MPs, suggesting that either efforts to improve the number […]

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The policy world and academia offer widely different opportunities for early career researchers.

The research career offers a variety of opportunities across sectors. Rachel Glennerster weighs up the differences between the policy world and academia for early career researchers looking at their options. Whilst both may be intellectually challenging environments, the reward structures, collaborative potential and research scope are substantially different and personal preferences of these variations may play a big role in […]

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The sociology of (anti)science: How the social sciences can improve public trust in scientific evidence

More public discussion on science alone is unlikely to convince people to productively engage in scientific discussions. Zuleyka Zevallos explores the sociology of beliefs, values and attitudes and calls for wider reflexive critical thinking on how scientists understand science and the public. The social sciences in particular are well-poised to improve the public’s trust in science as they are focused on the influence […]

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Book Review: Education Under Siege: Why There is a Better Alternative by Peter Mortimore

How do we improve England’s school system? Every Education Secretary has their own ideas and subsequent U-turns, but in this book Peter Mortimore aims to identify the current system’s strengths and weaknesses, and asks readers who share his concerns to demand that politicians alter course. Cole Armstrong talks readers through the highs and lows that Mortimore identifies, and finds that some aspects of the author’s […]

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Launch event for “The Impact of the Social Sciences: How Academics and their Research Make a Difference” – 29 January 2014

Engaged Social Science:  Impacts and Use of Research in the UK
Book Launch and Panel Discussion
Wednesday 29 January 2014
London School of Economics, Holborn
6:30 to 8:00pm followed by a drinks reception
Book tickets online here [SOLD OUT but tune-in to the Google Hangout live stream]
The LSE Public Policy Group and SAGE would like to invite you to panel discussion to mark the launch […]

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Social researchers must continue to engage in the systematic exploration of the world as it is and as it could be.

How researchers and the state understand the scope of social research plays a pivotal role in the future of impact. Geoff Mulgan argues society at large – the public, researchers and the government – must all adapt their practices to take evidence seriously and to take part in policy implementation. Social researchers are in a unique position as they are required […]

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Impact Round-Up 7th December: Academic blogging under threat, statistical literacy, and sexism in science communication.

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. Earlier this week Chris Tyler and colleagues from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (who have recently launched a new Social Science Section) put together a list of the top tips scientists need to know about policy-making, as a supplement […]

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Four critiques of open data initiatives

Open data initiatives may hold much promise and value, but more attention is needed on how these projects are developing as complex socio-technical systems. Rob Kitchin elaborates on four specific areas that have yet to be fully interrogated. These critiques affirm that open data initiatives need to be much more mindful of the positive and negative implications of how open data […]

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Impact Round Up 24 November: Scientific closures, responsible sharing and how to evaluate scientific claims.

Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication. From top-down government mandates to the day-to-day process of sharing one’s research, open access continues to be an area of great interest on the Impact blog. Earlier this week, Alice Bell looked at how blanket claims for openness […]

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