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    Embracing the chaos: by transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations

Embracing the chaos: by transcending disciplinary boundaries researchers can reconceptualise human-nature relations

Issues of the scale of mass species extinctions or climate change are never going to be solved by a single discipline acting alone. Cecily Maller argues that what is needed is greater dialogue, conversation, and collaboration across the social and natural sciences, as they currently exist in their traditional, divided modes. In order to shift the binary, at times […]

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    The academic papers researchers regard as significant are not those that are highly cited

The academic papers researchers regard as significant are not those that are highly cited

For many years, academia has relied on citation count as the main way to measure the impact or importance of research, informing metrics such as the Impact Factor and the h-index. But how well do these metrics actually align with researchers’ subjective evaluation of impact and significance? Rachel Borchardt and Matthew R. Hartings report on a study that compares […]

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    Male authors outnumber their female counterparts on international relations course reading lists by more than five to one

Male authors outnumber their female counterparts on international relations course reading lists by more than five to one

Do scholars produce and reproduce a biased representation of the academy when compiling their taught course reading lists? Following a year-long mapping exercise of the university’s entire international relations curriculum by a group of PhD students at the LSE, Gustav Meibauer, Kiran Phull and Gokhan Ciflikli found that male authors continue to significantly outnumber their female counterparts, with little […]

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    The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the UK. The authors highlight four core elements that comprise […]

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    The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

Alan Milburn’s resignation from the Social Mobility Commission likely spells the end for the body that has come to be seen as an exemplar for the use of research evidence in public policy debate. But what happens to the REF potential of the social sciences research that has been cited in the commission’s reports? Can REF panels ignore the […]

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    Academic journals with a presence on Twitter are more widely disseminated and receive a higher number of citations

Academic journals with a presence on Twitter are more widely disseminated and receive a higher number of citations

Previous research has shown that researchers’ active participation on Twitter can be a powerful way of promoting and disseminating academic outputs and improving the prospects of increased citations. But does the same hold true for the presence of academic journals on Twitter? José Luis Ortega examined the role of 350 scholarly journals, analysing how their articles were tweeted and […]

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