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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 The U.S. study has been retracted, largely thanks to the discovery of inconsistencies in the data by an outside group.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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    Paying for higher education: What do the UK political party policies mean for universities, graduates and students?

Paying for higher education: What do the UK political party policies mean for universities, graduates and students?

Next week’s UK General Election is set to go down to the wire and university financing has again emerged as a key battleground issue. What do the various party policies mean for universities, graduates and students? Should tuition fees be regulated lower and if so, how will these costs be financed? Gill Wyness explores these questions.

This piece originally appeared on LSE […]

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    ‘Nudges’ may be effective at times, but policymakers can’t rely on them to tackle entrenched social problems.

‘Nudges’ may be effective at times, but policymakers can’t rely on them to tackle entrenched social problems.

Since the publication of 2008’s Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, policy ‘nudges’ have been in fashion, with smaller interventions aimed at altering public behaviour in a subtle manner being adopted by many governments, including in the UK. Frank Mols looked at this phenomenon in a recent journal article, and argues here that while nudges undoubtedly can be effective, their limitations must be […]

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    Measuring development: the importance of statistics on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Measuring development: the importance of statistics on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

In 2013 the UN set up a specific group to look at broadening its data gathering. This is part of a wider trend looking to embrace partnerships that can provide regular evidence of development progress. Thomas Wheeler and Craig Fagan argue that in the age of ‘open’ government, budgets, contracts and aid, there is no reason why data should remain the remit […]

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    The political role of intellectuals: In defence of Hampstead socialists

The political role of intellectuals: In defence of Hampstead socialists

Under Ed Miliband, the Labour Party’s ideational activities have taken centre stage. His wonky style is derided by many, but gurus, intellectuals and policy wonks perform a crucial role in the political process, says Eunice Goes. The role of intellectuals and experts does not stop with political diagnosis. They also help political actors, and in particular political parties, to develop ideas […]

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    Academic freedom under threat as US Congress targets climate change scholars.

Academic freedom under threat as US Congress targets climate change scholars.

A few weeks ago allegations surfaced over undisclosed ties between Dr Willie Soon, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and corporate interests from the energy industry. Dr Soon is now under investigation, and a Democratic member of Congress has used it as an opportunity to suggest climate change academics who have been invited by Republicans to give evidence at Congressional […]

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    Building bridges in development: Five recommendations to connect the islands of research, policy and practice.

Building bridges in development: Five recommendations to connect the islands of research, policy and practice.

Elizabeth Harrison, Eleanor Jew, Thomas Smith, Iqbal Ahmed and Sarah Peck present the recommendations from a recent conference for early-career researchers on bridging the gap in development research, policy and practice. Participants were encouraged to consider partnership-based solutions to development problems. From having a realistic understanding of intended outcomes to formulating relevant research questions, constructive debate took place on how […]

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    Prospering Wisely: How research helps us confront the tough choices we face in creating a healthier society.

Prospering Wisely: How research helps us confront the tough choices we face in creating a healthier society.

We are witnessing a growing mistrust, not only in political processes and politicians, but in social institutions as a whole. Inequality is also rising on many crucial dimensions. Lord Stern of Brentford, President of the British Academy argues we need a new kind of national conversation, and the voice of the humanities and social sciences must be at its […]

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    The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

Systematic reviews are widely accepted as a ‘gold standard’ in evidence synthesis and the meta-analysis within provides a powerful means of looking across datasets. Neal Haddaway argues that while certain fields have embraced these reviews, there is a great opportunity for their growth in other fields. One way to encourage secondary synthesis is for researchers to ensure their data is reported in […]

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    Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain.

Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain.

The Royal Statistical Society recently released their Data Manifesto focussing on the potential of data to improve policy and business practice. Hetan Shah, Executive Director of the Society, makes the case for doing so, arguing also that improving the country’s data and statistical literacy should be a priority.

This piece originally appeared on Democratic Audit.

As the long election campaign begins, we hear claims […]

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    Misunderstanding data: Can researchers simplify longitudinal data for policymakers without it leading to errors?

Misunderstanding data: Can researchers simplify longitudinal data for policymakers without it leading to errors?

Following the comments made on evidence-based policymaking by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Leon Feinstein provides further background on the longitudinal data discussed and defends the findings against some key misunderstandings of the data. For those trying to enhance the use of evidence, an important question is always how to simplify without introducing error and understating uncertainty.

As head of evidence in the Early Intervention Foundation, a […]

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    The messiness inherent to policymaking is a real challenge – can evidence alone outshine tribal instincts?

The messiness inherent to policymaking is a real challenge – can evidence alone outshine tribal instincts?

The Policy Institute at King’s advocates for the use of evidence as a key element in effective policymaking. However, translating research into policy is far from easy. Jonathan Grant, Benedict Wilkinson and David Willetts MP weigh in on how to explore new ways of engaging with evidence and engaging with policymakers. From developing better networks and communities of evidence-based practice to […]

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    The Future of Science Advice in Europe: Termination of the Chief Scientific Advisor role forces needed conversation.

The Future of Science Advice in Europe: Termination of the Chief Scientific Advisor role forces needed conversation.

Following the disappointment of the removal of the European Commission’s office of Chief Scientific Advisor, Roger Pielke, Jr. looks at the past three years and finds the office was largely powerless and disconnected. The establishment of the office was a symbolic gesture, rather than representing any substantive commitment to improving science advice in Europe. But the termination of the office may act as a […]

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