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    Building bridges in development: Five recommendations to connect the islands of research, policy and practice.

Building bridges in development: Five recommendations to connect the islands of research, policy and practice.

Elizabeth Harrison, Eleanor Jew, Thomas Smith, Iqbal Ahmed and Sarah Peck present the recommendations from a recent conference for early-career researchers on bridging the gap in development research, policy and practice. Participants were encouraged to consider partnership-based solutions to development problems. From having a realistic understanding of intended outcomes to formulating relevant research questions, constructive debate took place on how […]

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    Prospering Wisely: How research helps us confront the tough choices we face in creating a healthier society.

Prospering Wisely: How research helps us confront the tough choices we face in creating a healthier society.

We are witnessing a growing mistrust, not only in political processes and politicians, but in social institutions as a whole. Inequality is also rising on many crucial dimensions. Lord Stern of Brentford, President of the British Academy argues we need a new kind of national conversation, and the voice of the humanities and social sciences must be at its […]

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  • data science
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    The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

The importance of meta-analysis and systematic review: How research legacy can be maximized through adequate reporting

Systematic reviews are widely accepted as a ‘gold standard’ in evidence synthesis and the meta-analysis within provides a powerful means of looking across datasets. Neal Haddaway argues that while certain fields have embraced these reviews, there is a great opportunity for their growth in other fields. One way to encourage secondary synthesis is for researchers to ensure their data is reported in […]

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    Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain.

Our democracy relies on the quality of data in the public domain.

The Royal Statistical Society recently released their Data Manifesto focussing on the potential of data to improve policy and business practice. Hetan Shah, Executive Director of the Society, makes the case for doing so, arguing also that improving the country’s data and statistical literacy should be a priority.

This piece originally appeared on Democratic Audit.

As the long election campaign begins, we hear claims […]

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    Misunderstanding data: Can researchers simplify longitudinal data for policymakers without it leading to errors?

Misunderstanding data: Can researchers simplify longitudinal data for policymakers without it leading to errors?

Following the comments made on evidence-based policymaking by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Leon Feinstein provides further background on the longitudinal data discussed and defends the findings against some key misunderstandings of the data. For those trying to enhance the use of evidence, an important question is always how to simplify without introducing error and understating uncertainty.

As head of evidence in the Early Intervention Foundation, a […]

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    President Obama’s free community-college plan is a necessary plan – and a good one.

President Obama’s free community-college plan is a necessary plan – and a good one.

Last week, President Obama announced that community college will be made free for all students for the first two years of study. Sara Goldrick-Rab welcomes the announcement, which will be especially helpful for less affluent families who spend a large proportion of their family income on college. She writes that the next steps in improving college affordability should include making the first […]

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    The messiness inherent to policymaking is a real challenge – can evidence alone outshine tribal instincts?

The messiness inherent to policymaking is a real challenge – can evidence alone outshine tribal instincts?

The Policy Institute at King’s advocates for the use of evidence as a key element in effective policymaking. However, translating research into policy is far from easy. Jonathan Grant, Benedict Wilkinson and David Willetts MP weigh in on how to explore new ways of engaging with evidence and engaging with policymakers. From developing better networks and communities of evidence-based practice to […]

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    The Future of Science Advice in Europe: Termination of the Chief Scientific Advisor role forces needed conversation.

The Future of Science Advice in Europe: Termination of the Chief Scientific Advisor role forces needed conversation.

Following the disappointment of the removal of the European Commission’s office of Chief Scientific Advisor, Roger Pielke, Jr. looks at the past three years and finds the office was largely powerless and disconnected. The establishment of the office was a symbolic gesture, rather than representing any substantive commitment to improving science advice in Europe. But the termination of the office may act as a […]

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    The science of society: From credible social science to better social policies.

The science of society: From credible social science to better social policies.

Though many are convinced that better social science evidence will make for better policies, we do not know how to turn that conviction into a reality. Nancy Cartwright and Julian Reiss argue that current efforts in evidence-based policy tend to focus on improving the credibility of results. But that is not enough. It is now time to invest heavily in developing methods […]

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    Against REFonomics: Quantification cannot satisfy the demands of rationality, equity and tolerability.

Against REFonomics: Quantification cannot satisfy the demands of rationality, equity and tolerability.

Academics are assured by government ministers and institutional heads that research assessment is designed on their behalf. Liz Morrish looks at whether the assessment tools created have extended their reach and left academics exposed. At its best, the REF distorts research agendas and priorities. However, a graver hazard is that a new selective and competitive academic will be formed, whose […]

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    UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

UK Science and Innovation Strategy – Lots of enthusiasm for science but surprisingly little new content.

The UK government’s Science and Innovation Strategy released earlier this week fails to recognise the challenges facing UK research sustainability. Athene Donald considers the enthusiastic spin in light of wider funding issues. Surprisingly, a new review of the research councils is suggested. More effective cross-council working is certainly needed, but an overhaul or further consolidation could do more harm than good.

There has […]

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    Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Head of Research Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Steven Hill, presents an overview of the work HEFCE are currently commissioning which they are hoping will build a robust evidence base for research assessment. He argues that attention on the costs, benefits, problems and solutions of the REF are an obvious starting point, but it is also important that the […]

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  • healthcare
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    Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Zoë Sheppard, Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijlingen and Paul Thompson of Bournemouth University present the challenges of impact in healthcare recently discussed at a symposium held by the Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education at Bournemouth University. Given the imminent results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the summarised findings and issues raised on the implementation of impact point to further collaborations needed on […]

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December 15th, 2014|Government, Impact, REF 2014|0 Comments|
  • efficiency
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    ‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

How can the efficiency of public sector organisations best be measured? Jesse Stroobants and Geert Bouckaert write that while the efficiency of an organisation is typically measured using performance indicators, there are some notable problems with this approach, such as the tendency for different indicators to produce conflicting conclusions on organisational performance. As an alternative, they outline so called ‘frontier methods’, which use […]

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    Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

Five Minutes with Marieke Guy: “By opening up data, citizens can be more directly informed and involved in decision-making.”

What exactly is open data and how does it relate to education? Marieke Guy from the Open Knowledge Foundation will be speaking at the LSE this Wednesday 26 November 5-7pm as part of the Learning Technology and Innovation NetworkED series (booking still open). Ahead of her talk she answers a few questions on the opportunities and vulnerabilities involved in providing greater access […]

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    Book Review: Reshaping the University: the Rise of the Regulated Market in Higher Education by David Palfreyman and Ted Tapper

Book Review: Reshaping the University: the Rise of the Regulated Market in Higher Education by David Palfreyman and Ted Tapper

This book focuses on the policy of removing almost entirely public support for the payment of student fees. Although it goes into great detail regarding the emergence of the regulated market as a way of delivering higher education to growing numbers, it does so with little apparent appreciation for what that emergence has required within the universities and in the […]

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    Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

The Dutch Senate recently passed a new Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). The SEP highlights the importance of social impact for research. The new Protocol was developed by the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), VSNU (Association of Dutch universities) and NWO (Dutch Science Council) and is to be used to evaluate academic research from 2015-2021. Based on recent […]

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    Time to abandon the gold standard? Peer review for the REF falls far short of internationally accepted standards.

Time to abandon the gold standard? Peer review for the REF falls far short of internationally accepted standards.

The REF2014 results are set to be published next month. Alongside ongoing reviews of research assessment, Derek Sayer points to the many contradictions of the REF. Metrics may have problems, but a process that gives such extraordinary gatekeeping power to individual panel members is far worse. Ultimately, measuring research quality is fraught with difficulty. Perhaps we should instead be asking which […]

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  • messiness
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    Embracing Messiness: Open access offers the chance to creatively experiment with scholarly publishing.

Embracing Messiness: Open access offers the chance to creatively experiment with scholarly publishing.

In the quest for greater access to scholarly work, the discussion has long been characterised as a search, for better or for worse, for the most sustainable model. In this transcript of her recent talk at the Post-Digital Scholar conference, Janneke Adema warns that framing the debate in terms of business models might actually lead to a watered-down version of open […]

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    Economics is becoming an elite subject for elite UK universities

Economics is becoming an elite subject for elite UK universities

UK universities have had to become much more responsive to changes in the pattern of demand and compete with one another for different revenue streams. James Johnston and Alan Reeves ask how this has played out in relation to the undergraduate economics degree, finding that new universities have retreated from offering economics programmes even as student numbers rose substantially. The authors argue that the role of research […]

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