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    Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?

Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?

Now that the cabinet reshuffle news has settled and Greg Clark MP, the new Minister for Universities, Science, and Cities has begun his tenure, we asked for further reflections on the positions taken by previous minister David Willetts. David Prosser covers the dramatic influence Willetts had on open access legislation and momentum in the UK. Lee Jones instead emphasises the escalation […]

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    Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

The idea that research should have an impact on policy is premised on an instrumentalist, or problem-solving theory of research utilisation: namely, that research is valued by policy-makers as a means of adjusting their outputs. Yet Christina Boswell’s research has shown that expert knowledge is just as likely to be valued for its symbolic function: as a means of […]

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    On Taxis and Rainbow Tables: Lessons for researchers and governments from NYC’s improperly anonymized taxi logs.

On Taxis and Rainbow Tables: Lessons for researchers and governments from NYC’s improperly anonymized taxi logs.

When New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission made publicly available 20GB worth of trip and fare logs, many welcomed the vast trove of open data. Unfortunately, prior to being widely shared, the personally identifiable information had not been anonymized properly. Vijay Pandurangan describes the structure of the data, what went wrong with its release, how easy it is to de-anonymize […]

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    Higher Education community responds to cabinet reshuffle, but it is too soon to foretell David Willetts’ legacy.

Higher Education community responds to cabinet reshuffle, but it is too soon to foretell David Willetts’ legacy.

Following David Willetts’ resignation as part of the UK government’s cabinet reshuffle, Greg Clark MP has today been announced as the new Minister for Universities and Science. Steven Jones looks at the flurry of comment taking place on Twitter about the reshuffle, the government’s higher education initiatives over the past four years, and what might prove to be the lasting legacy of […]

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    Five minutes with Ha-Joon Chang: “Members of the general public have a duty to educate themselves in economics”

Five minutes with Ha-Joon Chang: “Members of the general public have a duty to educate themselves in economics”

In an interview with Joel Suss, editor of the British Politics and Policy blog, Ha-Joon Chang discusses his new book, Economics: The User’s Guide, and the need for a pluralist approach to economics. He recently gave a public lecture at the LSE, the video of which can be seen here. 
This post originally appeared on British Politics and Policy (BPP).
In a recent article, you wrote: […]

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    The rejection of metrics for the REF does not take account of existing problems of determining research quality.

The rejection of metrics for the REF does not take account of existing problems of determining research quality.

Amidst heavy scepticism over the role of metrics in research assessments, Martin Smith wonders whether the flaws of the current system have been fully recognised. There is no system of research assessment that is perfect and peer review may well be a better, although problematic, measure of quality than metrics. But the REF has become disproportionate. The question that arises […]

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    UK think tanks look to achieve influence first and foremost with academic partners.

UK think tanks look to achieve influence first and foremost with academic partners.

The UK has an established and influential think tank sector, with research organisations across the political spectrum providing a constant stream of political and policy ideas, setting the agenda, and influencing the media’s reporting of events. Here, Hartwig Pautz looks at exactly who these organisations communicate with most frequently, and shows that the sector is surprisingly reticent in communicating with elected […]

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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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    Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

Susan Wright, Bruce Curtis, Lisa Lucas and Susan Robertson provide a basic outline of their working paper on how performance-based research assessment frameworks in different countries operate and govern academic life. They find that assessment methods steer academic effort away from wider purposes of the university, enhance the powers of leaders, propagate unsubstantiated myths of meritocracy, and demand conformity. But the latest […]

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    Is the fear of metrics symptomatic of a deeper malaise? On fiefdoms and scapegoats of the academic community.

Is the fear of metrics symptomatic of a deeper malaise? On fiefdoms and scapegoats of the academic community.

This Monday marks the end of the open consultation for HEFCE’s Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment. Steve Fuller expands on his submission and also responds to other prominent critiques offered. He argues that academics, especially interdisciplinary scholars, should welcome the opportunity to approach the task of citation differently. Whilst many complain of the high citation rates […]

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    The FIRST Act’s demand for relevance at the expense of replication puts the entire scientific enterprise at risk.

The FIRST Act’s demand for relevance at the expense of replication puts the entire scientific enterprise at risk.

The United States’ controversial FIRST Act would have profound  implications for how social science research is managed and its funding allocated. David Takeuchi argues that even if the act doesn’t pass, it is clear that politicians are demanding more of a say in federally funded research. While a push to ensure research remains relevant can be a good thing, scientists and […]

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    Evidence-based service delivery and development requires full range of interactions and connections with research.

Evidence-based service delivery and development requires full range of interactions and connections with research.

To help expand understanding of how research makes an impact Sarah Morton draws from her extensive research into how different types of evidence are used to develop and improve key services. Research might raise awareness of an issue, change people’s knowledge or understanding of an issue, challenge attitudes, perceptions or ideas. Research use doesn’t just mean an instrumental application of […]

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    Surely there’s more to science than money? Economic determinism fails to capture science’s practical social benefit.

Surely there’s more to science than money? Economic determinism fails to capture science’s practical social benefit.

The benefits of the scientific enterprise can be difficult to pin-point directly. Rather than grapple with the complexity, many prefer to emphasise how science spending will lead to economic growth. Richard Jones looks back at motivations for science funding historically and finds that pure economic determinism so popular today is far from the only option. National defence and cultural value […]

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    Reflections on the contemporary university: Reading List for Governing Academic Life #GAL2014

Reflections on the contemporary university: Reading List for Governing Academic Life #GAL2014

Changes to higher education, the role of neo-liberalism in academic life and the various social forces shaping researcher identity and practice are all set to be discussed and interrogated at the Governing Academic Life conference 25-26 June. To kick-start discussion ahead of the event we’ve pulled together a range of resources here on the topics to be explored over the two days. […]

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    Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

The disparity between academics’ perception of the impact of their research and the opinions of policy-makers was recently underlined by a team of researchers from the University of Queensland who undertook cross-sectional surveys and semi-structured interviews with social science academic researchers and personnel in policy-relevant roles in public sector agencies. Michele Ferguson, Brian Head, Adrian Cherney and Paul Boreham look […]

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    Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Oriana Bandiera describes the close collaboration between a team of economists and the Government of Zambia to evaluate strategies to recruit, motivate and retain agents in the rollout of its National Community Health Assistant Programme. Using a randomised experiment the findings illustrate that there is no tradeoff between career incentives, skills and social values. Providing career opportunities attracts more skilled individuals who perform […]

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    Five Minutes with Anne Barron and Mary Evans: “Academics seldom have the opportunity to discuss issues about their profession”

Five Minutes with Anne Barron and Mary Evans: “Academics seldom have the opportunity to discuss issues about their profession”

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the death of social theorist Michel Foucault, Anne Barron and Mary Evans have organised a conference in late June for academics to reflect on his legacy in relation to higher education. Governing Academic Life will create an interdisciplinary space to discuss the public university, neoliberalism, academic publishing, and assessment measurement. Managing Editor Sierra Williams […]

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    The right to read is the right to mine: Text and data mining copyright exceptions introduced in the UK.

The right to read is the right to mine: Text and data mining copyright exceptions introduced in the UK.

New copyright exceptions to text and data mining for non-commercial research have recently come into effect and this is welcome news for UK researchers and research, argues Ross Mounce. Here he provides a brief overview of the past issues discouraging text and data mining and the what the future holds now that these exceptions have been introduced. But despite […]

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