• klout featured
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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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    Expensive, highly-produced videos are not necessary to achieve a quality learning experience for your MOOC.

Expensive, highly-produced videos are not necessary to achieve a quality learning experience for your MOOC.

Drawing on her extensive experience developing and participating in open educational resources and online learning platforms, Lorena Barba shares why the fixation on snazzy and expensive video production might not necessarily produce better learning experiences. Despite their popularity in MOOCs, “lecture videos” have the same pitfalls as regular lectures. Students need to engage with educational concepts in various ways and […]

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    Positioning educational technology around the three Rs universities care about: Recruitment, Retention and Reputation

Positioning educational technology around the three Rs universities care about: Recruitment, Retention and Reputation

Technological development in higher education has been a slow-moving process. Martin Weller makes the case for a more pragmatic approach that looks to align current innovations with the areas vice chancellors, provosts and presidents are already concerned about: recruitment, retention and reputation. It may be less exciting, but ultimately a more useful approach to embedding valuable, learning-centred technologies across universities.

Whenever a new […]

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    Your grant application is about to die: Research teams that recognise gender dimension offer a competitive advantage.

Your grant application is about to die: Research teams that recognise gender dimension offer a competitive advantage.

Funding requirements confirm there is a competitive advantage for research engaged in the active promotion of gender perspectives. Strategic decision-making in universities should also recognise the value a sex and gender dimension adds, both for funding and the quality of research. Curt Rice stresses how social sciences and humanities can help deliver these perspectives more deliberately and explicitly into research.

Last year, the world lost […]

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    Beyond scientific impact: An evaluation approach that captures societal benefit and minimises documentation effort.

Beyond scientific impact: An evaluation approach that captures societal benefit and minimises documentation effort.

To grapple with the the substantial amount of data generated by research evaluations and impact assessments, funders and institutions must look to improve their communication systems. Birge Wolf, Jürgen Heß and Anna Maria Häring are looking to combine evaluation concepts for inter- and trans-disciplinary research with funders’ increasing interests in societal impact data. Improved data sharing mechanisms will provide more support […]

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    Should policymakers follow the lead of Facebook and Google and use field experiments to implement better services?

Should policymakers follow the lead of Facebook and Google and use field experiments to implement better services?

In this article, Robert Metcalfe argues that field experiments can be instrumental in helping policymakers understand how to improve the welfare of their citizens. Field experiments represent a relatively new methodological approach capable of measuring the causal links between variables, thereby allowing policymakers to understand the behavioural responses of their citizens to changes in policies.

Do neighbourhoods matter to outcomes? Which classroom […]

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    Reputation instead of obligation: forging new policies to motivate academic data sharing.

Reputation instead of obligation: forging new policies to motivate academic data sharing.

Despite strong support from funding agencies and policy makers academic data sharing sees hardly any adoption among researchers. Current policies that try to foster academic data sharing fail, as they try to either motivate researchers to share for the common good or force researchers to publish their data. Instead, Dr Sascha Friesike, Benedikt Fecher, Marcel Hebing, and Stephanie Linek argue that […]

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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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    Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.

Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.

Peer review is flawed. Look no further than the storm of attention over sexist reviewer comments. A new index proposes a simple way to create transparency and quality control mechanisms. Shane Gero and Maurício Cantor believe that giving citable recognition to reviewers can improve the system by encouraging more participation but also higher quality, constructive input, without the need for a […]

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    Why perpetuate a 300-year-old anachronism? Reincarnating the research article into a ‘living document’.

Why perpetuate a 300-year-old anachronism? Reincarnating the research article into a ‘living document’.

Online publication provides us with new freedom to update, amend and extend the research article as we know it. Daniel Shanahan presents a vision of the evolution of the article beyond the limits of the printed page. Creating a living document for a single research project, updated in real time, would lead to it being evaluated based on the […]

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    Empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancy between journal reputation and perceived relevance in economics.

Empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancy between journal reputation and perceived relevance in economics.

Using survey data on the evaluations of 150 economics journals, a recent study explored the relationship between economics journals’ reputation and perceived relevance amongst economists working in the field. Justus Haucap shares some of the headline findings from the analysis based on the survey data. The findings suggest that a journal’s relevance is driven by average article quality, while reputation depends […]

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    How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

In principle, length limits should help with the accessibility and readability of a scientific paper. But in practice these limits often achieve the opposite effect. Now that journals are becoming online-only, Dorothy Bishop argues, lengths limits are far less relevant. Yes, we should encourage authors to be succinct, but not so succinct that scientific communication is compromised.

There was an interesting exchange a […]

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    Data is King: Tracking internal performance metrics at your journal

Data is King: Tracking internal performance metrics at your journal

Academic journals can improve their publishing and review services by understanding the efficiency and effectiveness of their internal processes. Danielle Padula shares insights from a collection on academic journal management and identifies some key performance indicators that journal staff should be tracking. Authors could also consider these metrics when choosing the best outlet for their research.

If you’re like most editors, […]

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    A clear distinction is needed between replication tests and the evaluation of robustness in social science literature

A clear distinction is needed between replication tests and the evaluation of robustness in social science literature

Confusion over the meaning of replication is harming social science, argues Michael Clemens. There has been a profound evolution in methods and concepts, particularly with the rise of empirical social science, but our terminology has not yet caught up. The meaning of replication must be standardized so that researchers can easily distinguish between replication efforts and the evaluation of robustness. 

In Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable […]

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