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    Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

Putting hypotheses to the test: We must hold ourselves accountable to decisions made before we see the data.

In the daily practice of doing research, it is easy to confuse what is being done. There is often confusion over whether a study is exploratory (hypothesis-generating) research or confirmatory (hypothesis-testing) research. By defining how a hypothesis or research question will be tested at the outset of research, preregistration eliminates this ambiguity. David Mellor outlines the value of preregistration for […]

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    Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientific findings exaggerated? Study finds steady increase of superlatives in PubMed abstracts.

Are scientists using language aimed at convincing editors and reviewers to publish their work? Joeri Tijdink, Christiaan Vinkers and Wim Otte present findings which suggest a rise in potentially exaggerated language. Potentially conflicting with the core values of science, the pressure to publish in high impact publications may be contributing to a paradigm of over-interpretation, overstatement and misreporting of scientific results.

Our perception […]

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    Towards a critical data science – the complicated relationship between data and the democratic project.

Towards a critical data science – the complicated relationship between data and the democratic project.

What is driving the rise in data-driven techniques used by politicians and political campaigns to connect with the concerns and needs of citizens? Will a data-driven approach to political campaign messaging disrupt the “echo chamber” effect that is perceived to emerge within online spaces? Jo Bates finds the role of data science in the development of the democratic process is […]

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    Context is everything: Making the case for more nuanced citation impact measures.

Context is everything: Making the case for more nuanced citation impact measures.

Access to more and more publication and citation data offers the potential for more powerful impact measures than traditional bibliometrics. Accounting for more of the context in the relationship between the citing and cited publications could provide more subtle and nuanced impact measurement. Ryan Whalen looks at the different ways that scientific content are related, and how these relationships could be […]

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    Bringing together bibliometrics research from different disciplines – what can we learn from each other?

Bringing together bibliometrics research from different disciplines – what can we learn from each other?

Currently, there is little exchange between the different communities interested in the domain of bibliometrics. A recent conference aimed to bridge this gap. Peter Kraker, Katrin Weller, Isabella Peters and Elisabeth Lex report on the multitude of topics and viewpoints covered on the quantitative analysis of scientific research. A key theme was the strong need for more openness and transparency: transparency in research […]

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    101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication: How researchers are getting to grip with the myriad of new tools.

101 Innovations in Scholarly Communication: How researchers are getting to grip with the myriad of new tools.

There has been a surge of new scholarly communication tools in recent years. But how are researchers incorporating these tools into their research workflows? Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer are conducting a global survey to investigate the choices researchers are making and why. Insights from these surveys will be valuable for libraries, research support, funders, but also for researchers themselves.

Are we […]

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    When are journal metrics useful? A balanced call for the contextualized and transparent use of all publication metrics

When are journal metrics useful? A balanced call for the contextualized and transparent use of all publication metrics

The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) has yet to achieve widespread institutional support in the UK. Elizabeth Gadd digs further into the slow uptake. Although there is growing acceptance that the Journal Impact Factor is subject to significant limitations, DORA feels rather negative in tone: an anti-journal metric tirade. There may be times when a journal metric, sensibly used, is […]

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    An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging / social media seriously

An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging / social media seriously

Blogs are now an established part of the chattersphere/public conversation, especially in international development circles, but Duncan Green finds academic take-up lacking. Here he outlines the major arguments for taking blogging and social media seriously. It doesn’t need to become another onerous time-commitment. Reading a blog should be like listening to the person talk, but with links.

Before I started […]

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    The Politics of Data: The rising prominence of a data-centric approach to scientific research.

The Politics of Data: The rising prominence of a data-centric approach to scientific research.

Today we launch a series of posts on the politics of data. Big data, small data and data sharing will be critically examined by a range of experts, each exploring the implications of the changing data landscape for research and society. In the first piece, Sabina Leonelli and Louise Bezuidenhout argue the study of data itself is an excellent entry point to […]

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    Challenges of using Twitter as a data source: An overview of current resources

Challenges of using Twitter as a data source: An overview of current resources

There are specific challenges to using social media data in academic research, and in particular Twitter data, including ethical, legal and methodological issues. Wasim Ahmed builds on his previous work on acquiring Twitter data and offers a list of some of the challenges researchers may face. He also provides plenty of links to resources for social scientists looking to explore […]

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    To understand the replication crisis, imagine a world in which everything was published.

To understand the replication crisis, imagine a world in which everything was published.

Countering the claim that failed replications merely reflect the underlying truth of the scientific process and are not a matter of concern, Andrew Gelman argues that actually, the process is largely broken and we are in danger of dismissing the value of replication efforts. Current practice, centered on publication thresholds, is not filtering out poorly designed and executed studies.

John Snow points me […]

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    Wikipedia is significantly amplifying the impact of Open Access publications.

Wikipedia is significantly amplifying the impact of Open Access publications.

When you edit Wikipedia to include a claim, you are required to substantiate that edit by referencing a reliable source. According to a recent study, the single biggest predictor of a journal’s appearance in Wikipedia is its impact factor. One of the exciting findings, writes Eamon Duede, is that it appears Wikipedia editors are putting a premium on open access […]

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    The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

Without appealing to hierarchy and tradition, how might we start a root-and-branch conversation to establish academic criteria for what disciplines, units and structures to keep, and what to kill? Thinking in a serious way about how knowledge production should be organised requires setting aside the rankings charts and becoming acquainted with the origins of scholarly research and higher education […]

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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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    Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Non-verbal communication is extremely influential in interpersonal encounters, and knowing how to leverage non-verbal signals effectively can be a key leadership skill. Connson Locke shares her research findings that suggest displaying an overly-confident and authoritative non-verbal communication can have a damaging effect on a team’s sharing of information and collaboration.

This piece originally appeared on British Politics and Policy.

It is widely accepted that […]

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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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    When is the best time to post on social media? Analysis of 100+ million posts suggests there is no single answer.

When is the best time to post on social media? Analysis of 100+ million posts suggests there is no single answer.

Nemanja Spasojevic, Adithya Rao, Zhisheng Li, and Prantik Bhattacharyya share findings from their large-scale analysis of user behaviour on social networks. Every network has a unique audience with unique reaction patterns, and as such, each network has a “snowflake”-like schedule for ideal response and engagement. City-based or network-based schedules may be better than posting at random times, but these […]

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    Using Twitter as a data source: An overview of current social media research tools

Using Twitter as a data source: An overview of current social media research tools

The popularity of social media sites and the ease at which its data is available means these platforms are increasingly becoming primary sources for social research. Wasim Ahmed presents a quick look at some of the tools available to social scientists for analysing social media data and also reflects on the limitations of the platforms and the methods used for this […]

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    The metric tide is rising: HEFCEmetrics report argues metrics should support, not supplant, expert judgement.

The metric tide is rising: HEFCEmetrics report argues metrics should support, not supplant, expert judgement.

James Wilsdon introduces the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management. The review found that the production and consumption of metrics remains contested and open to misunderstanding. Wider use of quantitative indicators, and the emergence of alternative metrics for societal impact, could support the transition to a more open, accountable and outward-facing research system. But […]

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