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    Was the REF a waste of time? Strong relationship between grant income and quality-related funding allocation.

Was the REF a waste of time? Strong relationship between grant income and quality-related funding allocation.

If the funding allocated to universities on the basis of the REF is correlated to the amount of grant income universities already receive, what is the point of the output assessment process? Jon Clayden explores the relationship between grant income generated and REF-related QR funding and finds a strong correlation between the two, suggesting that the double-counting exercise is surely not the best we […]

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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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    Amid mounting political and social uncertainty, institutions must evolve to support evidence-based decision-making.

Amid mounting political and social uncertainty, institutions must evolve to support evidence-based decision-making.

Knowledge exchange is a process often discussed in vague detail in relation to research impact. Chris Cvitanovic looks at the available exchange mechanisms for marine scientists and decision-makers. Survey findings suggest that while engaging with decision-makers was important to scientists on a personal level, a range of barriers prevent this from happening. Formal recognition of engagement activities and dedicated funding and resources […]

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    Hacking the system of social influence: How can we use the mechanics of influence to drive behaviour for public good?

Hacking the system of social influence: How can we use the mechanics of influence to drive behaviour for public good?

Social influence is one of the most cited and yet least understood concepts in strategy and public policy today. While many people understand its critical importance in viral marketing campaigns, technology adoption, protest movements and other collective behaviours, there is little agreement on how it can be measured and harnessed for the greater good. In this post Vyacheslav Polonski explores how […]

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    Why did REF2014 cost three times as much as the RAE? Hint: It’s not just because of the added impact element.

Why did REF2014 cost three times as much as the RAE? Hint: It’s not just because of the added impact element.

The benefits of any research assessment framework should ideally outweigh the costs and burden incurred by universities and staff. Derek Sayer argues there should be cause for concern now that recent analysis shows the 2014 REF bill was three times as much as the last UK assessment exercise. The costly increase in staff time was driven by the increased importance […]

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    Doing things differently: By embracing the politics of Higher Education, academics can help create a better system.

Doing things differently: By embracing the politics of Higher Education, academics can help create a better system.

With higher education in constant flux around the latest assessment exercise, to what extent are academics and administrators ‘hitting the target and missing the point’? John Turnpenny discusses the critical role of the arts and humanities and the grudging acceptance of the linear-rational model for evidence-based decision-making. He argues that by acknowledging that higher education policy is something we help create, rather than […]

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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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    Can metrics be used responsibly? Structural conditions in Higher Ed push against expert-led, reflexive approach.

Can metrics be used responsibly? Structural conditions in Higher Ed push against expert-led, reflexive approach.

Do institutions and academics have a free choice in how they use metrics? Meera Sabaratnam argues that structural conditions in the present UK Higher Education system inhibit the responsible use of metrics. Funding volatility, rankings culture, and time constraints are just some of the issues making it highly improbable that the sector is capable of enacting the approach that the Metric […]

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    Book Review: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

Book Review: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

Reviewer Adam Oliver finds that Richard Thaler’s new book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics, covers the core concepts of behavioural economics, but finds that this book is more a ‘personal intellectual history, supplemented by stories, anecdotes and occasional reposts to past combatants’ that misses two important issues relating to suggestions for the future development of behavioural economics.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review […]

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    Job security for early career researchers is a significant factor in helping research make an impact.

Job security for early career researchers is a significant factor in helping research make an impact.

Doctorate holders’ careers are increasingly diverse and research funders have a strong interest in exploring how their investment has contributed to the career paths of the researchers supported and how their work benefits society. Funders are also looking to understand the challenges, bottlenecks and opportunities at different career stages in order to tailor policies and activities to researchers’ needs. Siobhan […]

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    How can universities increase Green Open Access? Article deposit rates soar after direct solicitation from library.

How can universities increase Green Open Access? Article deposit rates soar after direct solicitation from library.

Universities have struggled to increase article deposit rates for their institutional repositories. Regardless of citation benefits and top-down mandates, getting faculty to adjust publishing workflows does not happen overnight. At their institution, Michael Boock and Hui Zhang found that direct solicitation of author manuscripts has been the most effective method of reaching a higher deposit rate.

Authors who wish to provide open […]

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    Unless we change how we think about transparency, open data is unlikely to have a significant political impact at local level.

Unless we change how we think about transparency, open data is unlikely to have a significant political impact at local level.

Open data and transparency have long been heralded as welcome innovations by policymakers and politicians, and the current Government has made it a priority at both a national and local level. But when it comes to the latter, how effective has it been and how much have citizens made use of it? Mark Frank argues that local authorities continued use […]

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    Incentives for open science: New prizes to encourage research integrity and transparency in social science.

Incentives for open science: New prizes to encourage research integrity and transparency in social science.

The high-profile political science study on same-sex marriage views in the U.S., now determined to be fraudulent, is the latest case exposing the need for incentive structures that make academic research open, transparent, and replicable. The U.S. study has been retracted, largely thanks to the discovery of inconsistencies in the data by an outside group. The academic community must […]

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    “Who would want to live in a world made up entirely of scientists?” Australia’s Chief Scientist calls for cooperation

“Who would want to live in a world made up entirely of scientists?” Australia’s Chief Scientist calls for cooperation

Reporting on a recent workshop where Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb outlined the key priorities for research and funding, Jacqui Hoepner discusses the long-term future of Australian research. Professor Chubb stressed the importance of having a broader national conversation about how they will achieve societal change and how researchers should work to meet those ends.

A few weeks ago Australia’s […]

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    Literacy as Numbers: The efficacy, merits and validity of transnational literacy assessment programmes.

Literacy as Numbers: The efficacy, merits and validity of transnational literacy assessment programmes.

Debates about the nature of literacy and how to account for the diversity of learning are far from resolved. A new book, Literacy as Numbers, looks at how literacy itself is being reframed around globalized assessment regimes. Camilla Addey delves into how these comparable numbers, now so heavily relied on in national policy, are produced, and how they are shaping our understanding of the meanings and […]

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    Opening the black box of clinical decision making: Interpretation is a central feature in evidence-based medicine.

Opening the black box of clinical decision making: Interpretation is a central feature in evidence-based medicine.

How can different knowledge components, such as scientific evidence, clinical expertise, and patient preference, within the evidence-based medicine (EBM) framework be combined? Do trustworthy decisions fall out as clear-cut conclusions as part of an algorithm when an EBM approach is used? Eivind Engebretsen, Nina Køpke Vøllestad, Astrid Klopstad Wahl, Hilde Stendal Robinson and Kristin Heggen use the four stages of knowing presented by […]

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