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    UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

The UK government’s Science and Innovation Strategy released earlier this week fails to recognise the challenges facing UK research sustainability. Athene Donald considers the enthusiastic spin in light of wider funding issues. Surprisingly, a new review of the research councils is suggested. More effective cross-council working is certainly needed, but an overhaul or further consolidation could do more harm than good.

There has […]

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    In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

Love it or loathe it, impact is fast becoming the buzz word in UK academia.  To coincide with the release of the REF2014 results on 18 December 2014, which will demonstrate how well (or otherwise) UK academia is creating impact from its research beyond the academy, LSE is joining the growing number of UK higher education institutions to showcase […]

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    ‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

How can the efficiency of public sector organisations best be measured? Jesse Stroobants and Geert Bouckaert write that while the efficiency of an organisation is typically measured using performance indicators, there are some notable problems with this approach, such as the tendency for different indicators to produce conflicting conclusions on organisational performance. As an alternative, they outline so called ‘frontier methods’, which use […]

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    Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

What exactly is open data and how does it relate to education? Marieke Guy from the Open Knowledge Foundation will be speaking at the LSE this Wednesday 26 November 5-7pm as part of the Learning Technology and Innovation NetworkED series (booking still open). Ahead of her talk she answers a few questions on the opportunities and vulnerabilities involved in providing greater access […]

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    Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

The Dutch Senate recently passed a new Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). The SEP highlights the importance of social impact for research. The new Protocol was developed by the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), VSNU (Association of Dutch universities) and NWO (Dutch Science Council) and is to be used to evaluate academic research from 2015-2021. Based on recent […]

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    Economics is becoming an elite subject for elite UK universities

Economics is becoming an elite subject for elite UK universities

UK universities have had to become much more responsive to changes in the pattern of demand and compete with one another for different revenue streams. James Johnston and Alan Reeves ask how this has played out in relation to the undergraduate economics degree, finding that new universities have retreated from offering economics programmes even as student numbers rose substantially. The authors argue that the role of research […]

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    The progressive ideals behind Open Government Data are being used to further interests of the neoliberal state.

The progressive ideals behind Open Government Data are being used to further interests of the neoliberal state.

A range of social actors are pushing for Open Government Data, from open research advocates to the private sector, resulting in a complex and contested landscape. Jo Bates examines recent developments on how the government have been able to use the rhetoric of transparency for political ends, paving the way for the implementation of long term austerity. She argues we cannot make assumptions about […]

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    A systems-thinking approach to public policy eschews linear model for more holistic understanding of decision-making.

A systems-thinking approach to public policy eschews linear model for more holistic understanding of decision-making.

Policy-making and effective municipal intervention are embedded in a complex web of interrelationships. Joseph A. Curtatone and Mark Esposito write on how decisions in one realm have ripple effects in others. Systems-thinking looks to apply a more holistic way of addressing real-world problems. Harvard students and the city of Somerville, Massachusetts are partnering to tackle problems using a systems-focused approach.

For public officials, the law […]

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    Would paying peer reviewers improve the system? Randomised control trial explores economists’ pro-social behaviour.

Would paying peer reviewers improve the system? Randomised control trial explores economists’ pro-social behaviour.

The What Works Centres are government initiatives to improve the use of evidence in policymaking. Max Nathan, the Deputy Director of the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth, turns the experimental table on researchers by exploring how cash incentives might work to improve the efficiency of peer review. The results are clear that small changes in journals’ policies […]

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    Book Review: How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies.

Book Review: How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies.

Across the globe, there are more than four thousand policy institutes or think tanks that research or advocate for economic and social development. Yet the relationship between these organizations and the policies they influence is not well understood. How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies examines case studies drawn from a range of political and economic systems worldwide to provide a […]

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Book Review: Can Science Fix Climate Change? by Mike Hulme

As political solutions to climate change have so far had little impact, some climate change scientists are now advocating the so-called ‘Plan B’, a more direct way of reducing the rate of future warming by reflecting more sunlight back to space, creating a thermostat in the sky. In this book, Mike Hulme argues against this kind of hubristic techno-fix. Amelia Sharman is impressed […]

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    ‘Robbins Rebooted’ details Labour’s approach to boosting technical skills and regional growth through higher education

‘Robbins Rebooted’ details Labour’s approach to boosting technical skills and regional growth through higher education

Shadow Higher Education Minister Liam Byrne MP has released Robbins Rebooted, a pamphlet on the importance of higher education to the UK’s national life and economic future. Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) welcomes the pamphlet as a clear articulation of Labour’s vision for maintaining a world-class higher education sector, even if ambiguity remains over hard figures and clear […]

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    Book Review: Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making by Nadia E. Brown

Book Review: Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making by Nadia E. Brown

In 2013, out of 7,776 female state legislators serving across the USA, 364 are women of colour; of these 239 are African American women. Linking personal narratives to political behavior, Nadia E. Brown elicits the feminist life histories of African American women legislators to understand how their experiences with racism and sexism have influenced their legislative decision-making and policy preferences. Muireann O’Dwyer is enthusiastic […]

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    Book Review: Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives

Book Review: Society and the Internet: How Networks of Information and Communication are Changing our Lives

This book brings together research that addresses some of the most significant cultural, economic, and political roles of the Internet. Peter Webster finds that individually, the essays in this volume are uniformly strong: lucid, cogent and concise, and accompanied with useful lists of further reading. As a whole, the volume prompts fertile reflections on the method and purpose of the new discipline […]

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    Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.

Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.

Millions of people—mostly in developing countries—lack access to life-saving drugs. Righting this imbalance is among the most important challenges of global public health of this century, argues Akansha Mehta. There is scant evidence to prove that frameworks for intellectual property rights and patent protection have benefited research, development and innovation in developing countries. When the laws of trade and commerce override the human […]

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    Future-looking research on public sector reform will help address challenges brought on by the financial crisis.

Future-looking research on public sector reform will help address challenges brought on by the financial crisis.

What challenges do austerity policies pose for effective public administration across Europe? Dion Curry writes on the views of citizens and public sector executives on trends within public administration over the last five years. He notes that while perceptions of recent developments are complex and at times contradictory, it is important that academics and practitioners work together to generate evidence-based public […]

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    Four things policy-makers need to know about social media data and real time analytics.

Four things policy-makers need to know about social media data and real time analytics.

The retention and protection of social media data has attracted renewed attention from policy-makers in the UK and across the EU. Having studied the complexity of how social media data operate in contexts of crisis, Ella McPherson provided evidence to a select committee on what lessons can be learned on the ethical and methodological complications of social media analysis. The summary points […]

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    Replication of government research uncovers shaky evidence on relationship between school and degree performance.

Replication of government research uncovers shaky evidence on relationship between school and degree performance.

Interested in the statistical analysis used to justify the Department of Education’s reforms, Ron Johnston, Kelvyn Jones, David Manley, Tony Hoare and Richard Harris requested the data related to school performance and degree results via a Freedom of Information request. One year later the dataset was finally made available and they were able to identify some substantial flaws in the government research including sample […]

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