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    Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Predicting the results of the REF using departmental h-index: A look at biology, chemistry, physics, and sociology.

Can metrics be used instead of peer review for REF-type assessments? With the stakes so high, any replacement would have to be extremely accurate. Olesya Mryglod, Ralph Kenna, Yurij Holovatch and Bertrand Berche looked at two metric candidates, including the departmental h-index, and four subject areas: biology, chemistry, physics and sociology. The correlations are significant, but comparisons with RAE indicate that […]

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    Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Qualitative and quantitative research are fundamentally distinct and differences are paramount to the social sciences

Matt Vidal calls for clear distinctions to be made between qualitative and quantitative research. Using as an example the impartial data generated by surveys, Vidal argues that such quantitative data are fundamentally important, but incomplete. Data based on methods of prolonged engagement with respondents are qualitative, also important, but incomplete. Both are united in their goal of advancing knowledge and […]

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    Striving for gender equity in science: Conference participation behaviour contributes to gender disparity in academia

Striving for gender equity in science: Conference participation behaviour contributes to gender disparity in academia

The issue of gender equity in science (and other areas of academia) is not new; however, it is remarkably persistent. In a recent paper, Kerry Fanson, Therésa Jones, Matthew Symonds, and Megan Higgie found evidence that women may inadvertently contribute to observed gender disparities in conference presentations through their decision to request lower profile roles. In conjunction with efforts to end gender […]

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    Stand Up and Be Counted: Why social science should stop using the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy

Stand Up and Be Counted: Why social science should stop using the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy

Qualitative and quantitative research methods have long been asserted as distinctly separate, but to what end? Howard Aldrich argues the simple dichotomy fails to account for the breadth of collection and analysis techniques currently in use. But institutional norms and practices keep alive the implicit message that non-statistical approaches are somehow less rigorous than statistical ones.

Over the past year, I’ve met with many doctoral […]

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    Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

In order to get a perfect assessment method, are we at risk of developing systems that are ever more complex and time-consuming? Dorothy Bishop looks at the differences between readily available measures to award research funding and the highly complicated RAE formula. An evaluation system need not be perfect – it just needs to be ‘good enough’ to provide a […]

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    What is the difference between an impact and an outcome? Impact is the longer term effect of an outcome.

What is the difference between an impact and an outcome? Impact is the longer term effect of an outcome.

Andrew Harding looks closely at the terminology and theoretical differences between an impact and an outcome in welfare research. Outcomes tend to be pre-defined and can be measured objectively, but the personal experiences and nature of impact is intuitively subjective. A mixed methods approach that focuses on delineating outcomes and exploring impact might be appropriate.

In recent years ‘impact’ and […]

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    Call to arms for shaking up social sciences relies on false premise that science alone can solve all social problems.

Call to arms for shaking up social sciences relies on false premise that science alone can solve all social problems.

A new form of ‘interdisciplinarity’ may be emerging but has so far failed to devote equal demands on the natural sciences, as well as on the social sciences. Will Davies responds to the calls for a social science shake-up by questioning the status of the social sciences in 2014 as something other than mere understudies to the natural sciences. The shared […]

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    Five Minutes with Nicholas A. Christakis: “Discovery is greatly facilitated by methodological innovation.”

Five Minutes with Nicholas A. Christakis: “Discovery is greatly facilitated by methodological innovation.”

Managing Editor Sierra Williams spoke to Professor Nicholas A. Christakis ahead of next week’s LSE event, Do We Need to Shake Up the Social Sciences? Here he discusses his thoughts on the frontiers in interdisciplinary research, the need for social science departmental re-shuffles, and the radical changes shaping social science’s relevance today.

Back in July, your article Let’s Shake Up the Social […]

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    Overhyped and concentrated investments in research funding are leading to unsustainable science bubbles.

Overhyped and concentrated investments in research funding are leading to unsustainable science bubbles.

David Budtz Pedersen examines how the scientific market exhibits bubble behaviour similar to that of financial markets. Taking as an example the overwhelming investments in neuroscience, such high expectations may actually drain the research system from resources and new ideas. In the end the permanent competition for funding and the lack of ‘risk diversification’, might generate a climate in which citizens and […]

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    Proof over promise: Moving citation metric systems beyond journal impact towards a career impact approach.

Proof over promise: Moving citation metric systems beyond journal impact towards a career impact approach.

Publishing in a high-impact journal carries the implicit promise that the article will also be highly cited. But the proof of this logic remains unsubstantiated. By combining more accurate citation metrics, like the hIa-index and the citation-per-author-per-year metric, Anne-Wil Harzing and Wilfred Mijnhardt provide a more substantial alternative to the narrow journal-based metric. This combined metric provides a more reliable comparison between […]

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    Is Digital Humanities a collaborative discipline? Joint-authorship publication patterns clash with defining narrative

Is Digital Humanities a collaborative discipline? Joint-authorship publication patterns clash with defining narrative

As an emerging discipline still defining itself, Digital Humanities offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on its broader disciplinary narratives. Julianne Nyhan and Oliver Duke-Williams examined its collaborative nature through the lens of publication patterns in some of its core journals. They found predominately single-authored papers were published during the time-frames, suggesting individual scholarship is still playing a large role. But this may be a case where […]

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    Book Review: Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making by Nadia E. Brown

Book Review: Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making by Nadia E. Brown

In 2013, out of 7,776 female state legislators serving across the USA, 364 are women of colour; of these 239 are African American women. Linking personal narratives to political behavior, Nadia E. Brown elicits the feminist life histories of African American women legislators to understand how their experiences with racism and sexism have influenced their legislative decision-making and policy preferences. Muireann O’Dwyer is enthusiastic […]

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    Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable research practice linked to perceived pressure to publish.

Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable research practice linked to perceived pressure to publish.

Upholding research integrity depends on our ability to understand the extent of misconduct. Sarah Necker describes her landmark study on economists’ research norms and practices. Fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are widely considered to be unjustifiable, but misbehaviour is still prevalent. For example, 1-3% of economists surveyed admit that they have accepted or offered gifts, money, or sex in exchange for […]

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    The Philosophy of Data Science (series) – Rob Kitchin: “Big data should complement small data, not replace them.”

The Philosophy of Data Science (series) – Rob Kitchin: “Big data should complement small data, not replace them.”

Over the coming weeks we will be featuring a series of interviews conducted by Mark Carrigan on the nature of ‘big data’ and the opportunities and challenges presented for scholarship with its growing influence. In this first interview, Rob Kitchin elaborates on the specific characteristics of big data, the hype and hubris surrounding its advent, and the distinction between data-driven science and empiricism.

What […]

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    The Impact of Social Sciences Project by the numbers: encouraging real-time impact recording.

The Impact of Social Sciences Project by the numbers: encouraging real-time impact recording.

The Impact of Social Sciences blog emerged from a three-year research project devoted to a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the complexity of academic impact. To not let any impact-relevant knowledge dissolve away, Jane Tinkler takes a look back at the outputs, outcomes and connections made throughout the research process. Whilst these figures help to establish a real-time understanding of academic […]

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    Publicly available data from Twitter is public evidence and does not necessarily constitute an “ethical dilemma”.

Publicly available data from Twitter is public evidence and does not necessarily constitute an “ethical dilemma”.

An article in Scientific American suggests further ethical considerations should be made for research derived from Twitter data. Ernesto Priego questions first the extent to which Twitter will actually release all of its valuable data and also argues archiving and disseminating information from Twitter and other public archives does not have to be cause for an “ethical dilemma” so long […]

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    The gap between academics and practitioners is a reflection of the underlying tensions of academic belonging.

The gap between academics and practitioners is a reflection of the underlying tensions of academic belonging.

Jean M. Bartunek and Sara L. Rynes note the recent spike in journal articles across management scholarship seeking to address the divide between academics and practitioners. Whilst there remains relatively little empirical research focused on the issue of a gap, significant attention has been placed on understanding the variety of reasons for the divide. But what is being written […]

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