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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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    The grant economy as tragedy of the commons – are researchers just wasting time by applying for ever-elusive funding?

The grant economy as tragedy of the commons – are researchers just wasting time by applying for ever-elusive funding?

Pressure to bring in grants is steady and increasing, but with only 20% of US applications receiving funding, is the collective time spent writing multiple rejected applications actually worth it? Unless the pool of grant funding is massively increased at the federal level—a remote possibility—this is a zero-sum game. Elizabeth Popp Berman suggests a cap to the number of applications—either at […]

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    Academia is a reputation economy — data-sharing policies should take incentives into account.

Academia is a reputation economy — data-sharing policies should take incentives into account.

Data sharing has the potential to facilitate wider collaboration and foster scientific progress. But while 88% of researchers in a recent study confirmed they would like to use shared data, only 13% had actually made their own data publicly available. Benedikt Fecher, Sascha Friesike, Marcel Hebing, Stephanie Linek, and Armin Sauermann look at the mismatch between ideal and reality and argue that academia is a reputation […]

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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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    Book Review: Rank Hypocrisies: the Insult of the REF by Derek Sayer.

Book Review: Rank Hypocrisies: the Insult of the REF by Derek Sayer.

Publication of the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework evaluation of the quality of work undertaken in all UK universities last December attracted much attention, as league tables of university and department standings were constructed and estimates of the financial consequences of the achieved grades were assessed. Soon after that, a book was published savagely criticising the peer […]

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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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    Social science embedded in science: Innovation depends on greater understanding of attitudes and social processes.

Social science embedded in science: Innovation depends on greater understanding of attitudes and social processes.

The labour market is filled with social science graduates and postgraduates shaping the evolution of the UK’s comparative advantage. Growth depends on the service sector innovating and improving productivity. Without a better grasp of people and their motives, technological advances may fail to realise their potential and may be frustrated or blocked. David Walker introduces a new report from the Campaign for […]

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    Book Review: Feminism, Gender, and Universities: Politics, Passion and Pedagogies by Miriam E. David

Book Review: Feminism, Gender, and Universities: Politics, Passion and Pedagogies by Miriam E. David

Feminism, Gender, and Universities celebrates the way in which feminism has forever changed the terrain of higher education whilst examining the impact that the movement has had on the lives of women engaged in teaching others, writes Katherine Williams.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books.

Feminism, Gender, and Universities: Politics, Passion and Pedagogies. Miriam E. David. Ashgate. 2014.

Find this book: 

With Feminism, […]

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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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    Book Review: Enhancing the Doctoral Experience: A Guide for Supervisors and Their International Students

Book Review: Enhancing the Doctoral Experience: A Guide for Supervisors and Their International Students

This an excellent, thoughtfully-produced pragmatic guide to the very fine and complicated art of doctoral supervision across cultures, writes Casey Brienza. 

This review originally appeared on LSE Review Books.

Enhancing the Doctoral Experience: A Guide for Supervisors and Their International Students. Steve Hutchinson, Helen Lawrence, and Dave Filipović-Carter. Gower/Ashgate. 2014.

Find this book: 

It was with tremendous anticipation that I received Enhancing the Doctoral […]

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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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    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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    Governing through unhappiness: Audit culture and the lasting effects of the REF.

Governing through unhappiness: Audit culture and the lasting effects of the REF.

After the REF dust settled on 2014, what will come next for the higher education sector? Will Davies breaks down audit culture and describes neoliberalism as the ‘disenchantment of politics by economics’ where processes traditionally left in the realm of politics must now be reconfigured in calculative, economically rational terms. When audit becomes married to rapidly shrinking budgets, and […]

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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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    In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

Love it or loathe it, impact is fast becoming the buzz word in UK academia.  To coincide with the release of the REF2014 results on 18 December 2014, which will demonstrate how well (or otherwise) UK academia is creating impact from its research beyond the academy, LSE is joining the growing number of UK higher education institutions to showcase […]

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