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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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    Neglecting to confront conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research unfairly burdens early career researchers

Neglecting to confront conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research unfairly burdens early career researchers

As public funding shrinks, industry-sponsored research may be a remedy. But Rebecca Cassidy reports back from a workshop on how the pressure caused by scarcity of funding and conflicts of interest in certain fields falls disproportionately on early career researchers, the most vulnerable members of the higher education precariat. Those who have yet to build up the social capital which comes […]

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    Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?

Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?

Now that the cabinet reshuffle news has settled and Greg Clark MP, the new Minister for Universities, Science, and Cities has begun his tenure, we asked for further reflections on the positions taken by previous minister David Willetts. David Prosser covers the dramatic influence Willetts had on open access legislation and momentum in the UK. Lee Jones instead emphasises the escalation […]

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    Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

The idea that research should have an impact on policy is premised on an instrumentalist, or problem-solving theory of research utilisation: namely, that research is valued by policy-makers as a means of adjusting their outputs. Yet Christina Boswell’s research has shown that expert knowledge is just as likely to be valued for its symbolic function: as a means of […]

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    The Outing of the Medical Profession: Data marathons to open clinical research gates to frontline service providers.

The Outing of the Medical Profession: Data marathons to open clinical research gates to frontline service providers.

Could greater data transparency across the medical field solve the problem of unreliable evidence? Dr. Leo Anthony Celi charts the efforts to improve the publicly available MIMIC database, a creation of the public-private partnership between MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Philips Health-Care, through a series of data marathons. Data scientists, nurses, clinicians and doctors are coming together to collaborate and answer clinically […]

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    Book Review: Popular Representations of Development: Insights from novels, films, television and social media.

Book Review: Popular Representations of Development: Insights from novels, films, television and social media.

This collection sees development as something that can be understood through studying literature, films, and other non-conventional forms of representation. Chapters focus on development issues on blogs and social media, Band Aid and populist humanitarianism, and teaching international studies with novels. Eleftheria Lekakis finds this a great read for scholars of development studies, media and communications, sociology, anthropology and geography at all levels.

This […]

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    UK think tanks look to achieve influence first and foremost with academic partners.

UK think tanks look to achieve influence first and foremost with academic partners.

The UK has an established and influential think tank sector, with research organisations across the political spectrum providing a constant stream of political and policy ideas, setting the agenda, and influencing the media’s reporting of events. Here, Hartwig Pautz looks at exactly who these organisations communicate with most frequently, and shows that the sector is surprisingly reticent in communicating with elected […]

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    Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

Susan Wright, Bruce Curtis, Lisa Lucas and Susan Robertson provide a basic outline of their working paper on how performance-based research assessment frameworks in different countries operate and govern academic life. They find that assessment methods steer academic effort away from wider purposes of the university, enhance the powers of leaders, propagate unsubstantiated myths of meritocracy, and demand conformity. But the latest […]

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    Evidence-based service delivery and development requires full range of interactions and connections with research.

Evidence-based service delivery and development requires full range of interactions and connections with research.

To help expand understanding of how research makes an impact Sarah Morton draws from her extensive research into how different types of evidence are used to develop and improve key services. Research might raise awareness of an issue, change people’s knowledge or understanding of an issue, challenge attitudes, perceptions or ideas. Research use doesn’t just mean an instrumental application of […]

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    Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

The disparity between academics’ perception of the impact of their research and the opinions of policy-makers was recently underlined by a team of researchers from the University of Queensland who undertook cross-sectional surveys and semi-structured interviews with social science academic researchers and personnel in policy-relevant roles in public sector agencies. Michele Ferguson, Brian Head, Adrian Cherney and Paul Boreham look […]

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    Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Oriana Bandiera describes the close collaboration between a team of economists and the Government of Zambia to evaluate strategies to recruit, motivate and retain agents in the rollout of its National Community Health Assistant Programme. Using a randomised experiment the findings illustrate that there is no tradeoff between career incentives, skills and social values. Providing career opportunities attracts more skilled individuals who perform […]

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    Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy: “The Treasury have woefully misapplied our research estimates”

Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy: “The Treasury have woefully misapplied our research estimates”

Academic impact, particularly within the policymaking process, can strike at unexpected moments. Earlier this week, the UK Treasury released a press release that included references to a 2010 LSE Public Policy Group report. Joel Suss, Managing Editor of British Politics and Policy blog, asks Patrick Dunleavy about the way in which the Treasury used his research findings to arrive at a figure […]

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Big data brings new power to open-source intelligence

The story of Eliot Higgins, a blogger who exploits publicly accessible material to piece together important facts about the Syrian conflict, offers a unique insight into the enormous potential of open-source intelligence. Matthew Moran describes how the networked society has spawned new analytical approaches and opportunities. 

In November 2013, the New Yorker published a profile of Eliot Higgins – or Brown Moses as he is known to almost 17,000 Twitter followers. […]

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    Impact Round-Up 24th May: GitHub for science, research in the national interest, and myths of ‘big data’

Impact Round-Up 24th May: GitHub for science, research in the national interest, and myths of ‘big data’

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.

This week Science have launched a special section, The science of inequality, which brings together a range of social science perspectives and short videos on “the origins, impact, and future of inequality around the world”. All features are currently not paywalled […]

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