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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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    The science of society: From credible social science to better social policies.

The science of society: From credible social science to better social policies.

Though many are convinced that better social science evidence will make for better policies, we do not know how to turn that conviction into a reality. Nancy Cartwright and Julian Reiss argue that current efforts in evidence-based policy tend to focus on improving the credibility of results. But that is not enough. It is now time to invest heavily in developing methods […]

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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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