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    Peer review and bibliometric indicators just don’t match up according to re-analysis of Italian research evaluation.

Peer review and bibliometric indicators just don’t match up according to re-analysis of Italian research evaluation.

The Italian research evaluation agency undertook an extensive analysis to compare the results of peer review and bibliometric indicators for research evaluation. Their findings suggested both indicators produced similar results. Researchers Alberto Baccini and Giuseppe De Nicolao re-examine these results and find notable disagreements between the two techniques of evaluation in the sample and outline below the major shortcoming in the Italian Agency’s […]

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    Making your Marx in research: Reflections on impact and the efficacy of case studies using the work of Karl Marx.

Making your Marx in research: Reflections on impact and the efficacy of case studies using the work of Karl Marx.

Drawing from a recent study on how impact occurs in the social sciences, Sioned Pearce looks at some specific issues with the case study approach to understanding impact. Viewed alongside the life and works of Karl Marx, the REF’s approach to impact measurement can be seen as highly problematic. Marx’s work was an accumulation of a lifetime of intellectual thought, the […]

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    0 is the magic number: Why small numbers matter just as much as large ones when we talk about altmetrics.

0 is the magic number: Why small numbers matter just as much as large ones when we talk about altmetrics.

The problem many detractors have with altmetrics as a concept is that it seems heavily focused on numbers that may or may not be meaningful. Andy Tattersall sees this as a legitimate concern but argues researchers should consider further what can be gained from these scores, or indeed, the lack of one. In a world increasingly governed by impact and […]

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    Looking to solve the replication crisis in psychology? Limitations of questionnaire methods must be considered.

Looking to solve the replication crisis in psychology? Limitations of questionnaire methods must be considered.

Throughout its history, psychology has been faced with fundamental crises that all revolve around its disciplinary rigour. Current debates – led in Nature, Science and high-ranking psychology journals – are geared towards the frequent lack of replicability of many psychological findings. New research led by Jana Uher highlights methodological limitations of the widely used questionnaire methods. These limitations may […]

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    A Culture of Speed: Anticipation, Acceleration and Individualization in Academic Science.

A Culture of Speed: Anticipation, Acceleration and Individualization in Academic Science.

Ruth Müller draws attention to the social and epistemic effects of a culture of speed in academia. Her research looks at how this wider culture has produced in particular two modes of being and relating for researchers: anticipatory acceleration and latent individualization. These modes could have significant effects on the type of research questions explored and on scientific networks […]

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    Elephant paths: Wider methodological transparency is needed for legal scholarship to thrive.

Elephant paths: Wider methodological transparency is needed for legal scholarship to thrive.

Mariana Gkliati calls for a reconsideration of traditional research methods in legal studies and how these methods are communicated. Most legal scholars seek to fit their conceptual analysis into narrow and strictly legal boxes, often relying on tacit knowledge from the field. Drawing on the metaphor of elephant paths, or an overlaying system for going from place to place, and behavioural […]

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    Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Fundable, but not funded: How can research funders ensure ‘unlucky’ applications are handled more appropriately?

Having a funding application rejected does not necessarily mean the research is unsupportable by funders – maybe just unlucky. There is a significant risk to wider society in the rejection of unlucky but otherwise sound applications: good ideas may slip through the cracks, or be re-worked and dulled-down to sound more likely to provide reliable results. Oli Preston looks at […]

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    Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Metrics in academia are often an opaque mess, filled with biases and ill-judged assumptions that are used in overly deterministic ways. By getting involved with their design, academics can productively push metrics in a more transparent direction. Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber introduce an example of designing metrics within their own institution. Using the metric of grant income, their tool ResViz […]

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    What impact evidence was used in REF 2014? Disciplinary differences in how researchers demonstrate and assess impact

What impact evidence was used in REF 2014? Disciplinary differences in how researchers demonstrate and assess impact

A new report produced by the Digital Science team explores the types of evidence used to demonstrate impact in REF2014 and pulls together guidance from leading professionals on good practice. Here Tamar Loach and Martin Szomszor present a broad look at the the types of evidence in use in the REF impact case studies and reflect on the association between use of […]

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    Political History in the Digital Age: The challenges of archiving and analysing born digital sources.

Political History in the Digital Age: The challenges of archiving and analysing born digital sources.

The vast bulk of source material for historical research is still paper-based. But this is bound to change. Dr Helen McCarthy considers the lessons from the Mile End Institute’s conference on Contemporary Political History in the Digital Age. The specific challenges of using a ‘born digital source’ is an area that requires considerable attention. For political historians, the advent of […]

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    Evaluating research assessment: Metrics-based analysis exposes implicit bias in REF2014 results.

Evaluating research assessment: Metrics-based analysis exposes implicit bias in REF2014 results.

The recent UK research assessment exercise, REF2014, attempted to be as fair and transparent as possible. However, Alan Dix, a member of the computing sub-panel, reports how a post-hoc analysis of public domain REF data reveals substantial implicit and emergent bias in terms of discipline sub-areas (theoretical vs applied), institutions (Russell Group vs post-1992), and gender. While metrics are […]

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    To fight the slow pace of gender equality in the workplace, attack the root cause: invisible, unconscious bias.

To fight the slow pace of gender equality in the workplace, attack the root cause: invisible, unconscious bias.

Gender diversity is correlated with better business results and enormous economic and business value. But unconscious bias continues to negatively affect women in the workplace in a number of ways, writes Caroline Turner. Those who manage teams must actively reveal and uproot these biases.

This piece is part of a wider series on Women in Academia and coincides with LSE Women: making history […]

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    Accounting for Impact? How the Impact Factor is shaping research and what this means for knowledge production.

Accounting for Impact? How the Impact Factor is shaping research and what this means for knowledge production.

Why does the impact factor continue to play such a consequential role in academia? Alex Rushforth and Sarah de Rijcke look at how considerations of the metric enter in from early stages of research planning to the later stages of publication. Even with initiatives against the use of impact factors, scientists themselves will likely err on the side of caution and continue […]

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    On the Materiality of Writing in Academia or Remembering Where I Put My Thoughts

On the Materiality of Writing in Academia or Remembering Where I Put My Thoughts

In this feature essay, Ninna Meier reflects on the materiality of the writing – and re-writing – process in academic research. She explores the ways in which our ever-accumulating thoughts come to form layers on the material objects in which we write our notes and discusses the pleasures of co-authorship. 

This essay originally appeared on LSE Review of Books and is the first in […]

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    Is it ethical to be passionate in academia? Passion is a central concept for understanding academic labour.

Is it ethical to be passionate in academia? Passion is a central concept for understanding academic labour.

Today we launch a new series of posts from a recent conference about the Accelerated Academy. Pieces over the next few weeks will explore the history, development and structure of audit cultures in Higher Education, digitally mediated measurement and the quantification of scholarship. The first piece in the series is from Fabian Cannizzo. Drawing from his research in Australia, he explores performance management criteria, […]

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    It’s time to put our impact data to work to get a better understanding of the value, use and re-use of research.

It’s time to put our impact data to work to get a better understanding of the value, use and re-use of research.

If published articles and research data are subject to open access and sharing mandates, why not also the data on impact-related activity of research outputs? Liz Allen argues that the curation of an open ‘impact genome project’ could go a long way in remedying our limited understanding of impact. Of course there would be lots of variants in the type of impact […]

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    85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

85% of Health Research is Wasted: How to do great research, get it published, and improve health outcomes.

Trish Groves reflects on the scandal of waste, error, and misconduct in clinical and public health research and describes a new effort to tackle research and publication integrity from both ends. This challenge matters everywhere, but it’s specially urgent in low and middle income countries. The University of California, San Francisco and BMJ have teamed up to develop an eLearning programme for […]

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