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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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    Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaboration holds great promise for social science disciplines, but simply replicating practices from STEM disciplines will not necessarily lead to greater quality research. Each discipline has its own language and set of assumptions, argues Jenny Lewis and ground work must be done to set the stage for a successful exchange of ideas. Disciplines that rest on strongly contested knowledge bases […]

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    Prioritising race equality: Senior leaders must do more to encourage BME talent to stay in UK Higher Education.

Prioritising race equality: Senior leaders must do more to encourage BME talent to stay in UK Higher Education.

According to a recent study, black and minority ethnic academics were significantly more likely to consider a move to an overseas university compared to their white counterparts. Survey respondents acknowledged that countries such as the US valued the study of race and ethnicity and that the importance of race equality and the value of having a diverse group of academic […]

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    Influential, international and interdisciplinary: The impact of the UK’s research.

Influential, international and interdisciplinary: The impact of the UK’s research.

The Policy Institute at King’s College London, along with colleagues in the digital humanities department, teamed up with technology company Digital Science to build a searchable database and produce a rich analysis of the impact case studies for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Saba Hinrichs and Jonathan Grant introduce the key findings of the analysis and explain how the resource […]

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    Why the ban on p-values? Understanding sampling error is key to improving the quality of research.

Why the ban on p-values? Understanding sampling error is key to improving the quality of research.

The weight placed on p-values and significance testing has come under increasing criticism, with one social psychology journal banning their use entirely. Nicole Radziwill argues that many of the issues come down to sampling errors. Inferential statistics is good because it lets us make decisions about a whole population based on one sample. But inferential statistics is bad if your sample size is […]

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    Choosing the Right Criteria: Universities need to identify what behaviours should be valued and reward accordingly.

Choosing the Right Criteria: Universities need to identify what behaviours should be valued and reward accordingly.

If universities are to thrive, evaluation criteria must capture and recognise exemplary contributions. To discontinue the legacy of poor indicators, Athene Donald calls for the focus on quality to be in more fundamental ways. For example, the mobility of an individual to accept overseas posts and attend international conferences has been frequently used as a proxy for excellence. […]

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    Interrogating ‘excellence’: Implicit bias in academic promotion decisions perpetuates gender inequality.

Interrogating ‘excellence’: Implicit bias in academic promotion decisions perpetuates gender inequality.

The ostensibly objective criteria outlined in many Key Performance Indicators of excellence can become highly subjective and gendered when applied in practice. Pat O’Connor and Clare O’Hagan share the findings of a cross-national project concerned with women’s underrepresentation at senior levels in STEM disciplines. Structural aspects, including the bureaucratisation of the promotion process and the composition of the boards, were seen […]

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    The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

The researcher’s guide to literature: Visualising crowd-sourced overviews of knowledge domains.

Given the enormous amount of new knowledge produced every day, keeping up-to-date on all the literature is increasingly difficult. Peter Kraker argues that visualizations could serve as universal guides to knowledge domains. He and colleagues have come up with an interactive way of automating the visualisations of entire fields along with relevant articles. Through similarity measures identified in a Mendeley-powered data-set, a researcher can see the […]

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    The research-teaching nexus is taken for granted, but not well-understood or developed in practice.

The research-teaching nexus is taken for granted, but not well-understood or developed in practice.

Volha Piotukh and Simon Lightfoot look at the links between research and teaching in Politics and International Relations and find they are not as visible as one would expect, in part due to them being insufficiently developed institutionally. While departments/schools of the Russell Group universities explicitly discussed the research-teaching nexus, very few of the individual departments demonstrated a variety […]

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    Reference rot in web-based scholarly communication and link decoration as a path to mitigation

Reference rot in web-based scholarly communication and link decoration as a path to mitigation

The failure of a web address to link to the appropriate online source is a significant problem facing scholarly material. Martin Klein and Herbert Van de Sompel together with their collaborators have investigated the extent of reference rot on scholarly domains and their results show an alarming link rot ratio. The authors also explore ways to mitigate it through more systematic […]

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    “Brain Study Confirms Gender Stereotypes”: How science communication can fuel modern sexism.

“Brain Study Confirms Gender Stereotypes”: How science communication can fuel modern sexism.

The way much research on sexual differentiation is conducted and communicated has come under intense criticism from scholars in both the natural and social sciences. Cliodhna O’Connor describes how traditional gender stereotypes are projected onto scientific information and its subsequent reporting. But the dynamics of online spaces have also facilitated more nuanced debate about the social implications of research, and […]

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    What’s the point of open academic data? Redefining valuable research based on re-use and reproducibility.

What’s the point of open academic data? Redefining valuable research based on re-use and reproducibility.

The benefits of open research to both those who fund it and to wider society mean that academia is on a course which cannot be altered, or returned to a previous state. Mark Hahnel discusses the momentum behind making all research outputs openly available online and what changes may be in store for universities in this transition. Funder mandates could shift […]

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    Expectations for All: Universities and supervisors have a responsibility to manage PhD career prospects.

Expectations for All: Universities and supervisors have a responsibility to manage PhD career prospects.

Athene Donald highlights an important document published by the Royal Society which addresses the plight of PhD students and their job prospects. The overall shape of the pipeline feeding through from research student to professor is not in doubt. Few make it. Supervisors and institutions can do more to manage expectations and improve job prospects. It is vital that students […]

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    Editors’ Choice: Round-up of our favourite posts from the last year.

Editors’ Choice: Round-up of our favourite posts from the last year.

Season’s Greetings from the Impact Blog! We wish our readers a restful holiday ahead of next year’s research-filled excitement. In 2014 the blog featured a range of evidence-based analysis and fresh perspectives on academic impact, from low citation rates in the humanities to reports of economists accepting sex in exchange for co-authorship. In case you missed them the first time […]

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