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    Research assessments based on journal rankings systematically marginalise knowledge from certain regions and subjects

Research assessments based on journal rankings systematically marginalise knowledge from certain regions and subjects

Many research evaluation systems continue to take a narrow view of excellence, judging the value of work based on the journal in which it is published. Recent research by Diego Chavarro, Ismael Ràfols and colleagues shows how such systems underestimate and prove detrimental to the production of research relevant to important social, economic, and environmental issues. These systems also reflect the […]

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    The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in how games and simulations might be applied to higher education learning. Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Agoritsa Makri have reviewed the literature on the subject and here outline the positive learning effects of games and simulations; from cognitive outcomes such as improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to behavioural outcomes […]

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    To wear many different hats: how do scholar-practitioners span boundaries between academia and practice?

To wear many different hats: how do scholar-practitioners span boundaries between academia and practice?

Scholar-practitioners are those individuals who succeed in spanning the boundaries between academia and practice. Guillaume Carton and Paula Ungureanu’s research sought to better understand scholar-practitioners; the multiple roles they perform across each world, the perceived synergies and tensions, and the strategies employed to manage them. A key tension exists between institutional pressures for hyper-specialisation and scholar-practitioners’ personal aspirations that […]

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The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers. Findings reveal that many diverse factors, from funding […]

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    How funder pressures can torpedo the credibility of research – the cautionary tale of Google and New America

How funder pressures can torpedo the credibility of research – the cautionary tale of Google and New America

With policy recommendations subject to ever greater scrutiny – not only of their viability but also the credibility of their sources of expertise – many think tanks and research institutions invest considerable time and effort into building and nurturing a reputation for research quality and intellectual independence. However, this most valuable asset remains extremely precarious. Till Bruckner recounts the […]

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    What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

What do researchers expect of the peer review process? And do their experiences deliver on these expectations? Elaine Devine reports on the findings of recent research that sought answers to these questions, to be used to inform improved training, support resources, and guidelines. Researchers felt strongly that peer review should, and mostly does, improve the quality of research articles; […]

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    Our current conceptualisation of peer review must be expanded if we’re to realise the greatest innovations

Our current conceptualisation of peer review must be expanded if we’re to realise the greatest innovations

All agree that peer review is an area of scholarly communications that is ripe for innovation. However, it may be that our current conceptualisation of peer review places limits on our progress and ambitions. Jon Treadway highlights four alternative tracks of development, including an increased recognition of the many diverse contributions to the research process, a renewed and widened […]

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    Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

Book Review: The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence by Justin Parkhurst

In The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence-Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence, available open access, Justin Parkhurst provides a detailed synthesis of the debates surrounding evidence-based policy (EBP) as well as a governance framework for managing EBP. This is a comprehensive overview of the advantages and limitations of this approach that offers constructive insight into ensuring the judicious and careful use of […]

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    Academic excellence still paramount but students clearly favour greater diversity in admissions and faculty recruitment

Academic excellence still paramount but students clearly favour greater diversity in admissions and faculty recruitment

Mirroring debates in the US, members of universities in the UK are increasingly concerned with the diversity of students and faculty in higher education institutions. Drawing on a methodology developed at Dartmouth College, John Carey, Katie Clayton, Simon Hix and Yusaku Horiuchi present a fascinating analysis of the results of a 2017 survey of the views of LSE undergraduates […]

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    Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Within the social sciences, translating and sharing new knowledge is now common practice amongst many researchers and institutions across academia. From evidence briefings and summaries of literature to online blogs and presentations, a wide range of research evidence aims to engage policy and practitioner audiences so they can more easily access and use the evidence. Raj Patel questions whether […]

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    MSF Scientific Days 2017: improving the effectiveness of humanitarian programmes through scientific research and innovation

MSF Scientific Days 2017: improving the effectiveness of humanitarian programmes through scientific research and innovation

MSF Scientific Days is a global network of events focused on how scientific research and innovation can improve the effectiveness of humanitarian medical programmes. Sarah Venis presents some of the highlights of this year’s programme, including discussion of how to best gather evidence from emergency settings, and the challenges of community engagement; as well as an examination of different […]

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    Content referenced in scholarly articles is drifting, with negative effects on the integrity of the scholarly record

Content referenced in scholarly articles is drifting, with negative effects on the integrity of the scholarly record

In their 2015 post, Martin Klein and Herbert Van de Sompel reported on the beginnings of an investigation into ‘reference rot’ in scholarly articles. This term incorporated ‘link rot’, whereby referenced web-at-large resources vanished from the web altogether, and ‘content drift’, whereby a resource’s content changed over time to such an extent as to cease to be representative of […]

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    Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Think tanks, evidence and policy: democratic players or clandestine lobbyists?

Depending on your perspective, think tanks either enrich the democratic space by conducting policy research and facilitating public dialogue and debate, or undermine democracy by pushing policies favoured by powerful corporate interests. Till Bruckner explains how Transparify are contributing to debate about think tanks’ role in evidence-based policymaking by assessing their levels of financial transparency. The Transparify report, released […]

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    Book Review: Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter edited by Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

Book Review: Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter edited by Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans

In Evidence-Based Policy Making in the Social Sciences: Methods that Matter,editors Gerry Stoker and Mark Evans showcase tools through which to generate evidence-based policy insights. Released amidst discussions of a ‘post-truth’ era, this book is recommended to students looking to broaden their understanding of methods for providing meaningful evidence for policy creation, but leaves open the question of how social scientists […]

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    Developing social science identities in interdisciplinary research and education

Developing social science identities in interdisciplinary research and education

While it is no longer uncommon for social scientists to be included in research groups tackling complex problems in the natural sciences, limited understanding of the different disciplinary areas within the social sciences remains a challenge. Eric Toman describes the approach social science faculties at his university have taken to address this and also outlines how graduate training programmes […]

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    Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory

Working with the media can be beneficial but linking to and citing your research should be compulsory

It’s great when academic research is covered by the media but too often this coverage fails to link back to or properly cite the research itself. It’s time academics insisted on this and Andy Tattersall outlines the benefits of doing so. As well as pointing more people to your work, the use of identifiers allows you to track this […]

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    From science to action: principles for doing research that enables knowledge exchange and evidence-based decision-making

From science to action: principles for doing research that enables knowledge exchange and evidence-based decision-making

The integration of scientific research into conservation decision-making processes remains a significant challenge. There is very little empirically grounded guidance to help scientists and decision-makers design and implement research programs that facilitate knowledge exchange and evidence-based decision-making. Chris Cvitanovic outlines how recent research has sought to address this problem, and in doing so established a set of key design […]

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    How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

How academics and NGOs can work together to influence policy: insights from the InterAction report

Questions over how academics and the third sector can collaborate to influence policy are not new. However, Duncan Green has noted some interesting research and insights from the InterAction report published earlier this summer. Intermediaries play an increasingly crucial role, while embedded gateways can help simplify often confusing university infrastructures.

I’ve recently finished reading InterAction, a thought-provoking report that asks “How can […]

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    Bias against novelty in science: A cautionary tale for users of bibliometric indicators

Bias against novelty in science: A cautionary tale for users of bibliometric indicators

Novel breakthroughs in research can have a dramatic impact on scientific discovery but face some distinct disadvantages in getting wider recognition. Jian Wang, Reinhilde Veugelers, Paula Stephan present an overview of their findings which suggest an inherent bias in bibliometric measures against novel research. The bias is of particular concern given the increased reliance funding agencies place on classic bibliometric indicators in making funding […]

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