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    Metrics, recognition, and rewards: it’s time to incentivise the behaviours that are good for research and researchers

Metrics, recognition, and rewards: it’s time to incentivise the behaviours that are good for research and researchers

Researchers have repeatedly voiced their dissatisfaction with how the journals they publish in are used as a proxy for the evaluation of their work. However, those who wish to break free of this model fear negative consequences for their future funding and careers. Rebecca Lawrence emphasises the importance of addressing researchers’ recognition and reward structures, arguing it is time […]

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    The Global Challenges Research Fund: £1.5bn commitment is impressive in its ambition but would benefit from a tighter strategic focus

The Global Challenges Research Fund: £1.5bn commitment is impressive in its ambition but would benefit from a tighter strategic focus

The Global Challenges Research Fund aims to ensure UK research plays a leading role in addressing problems faced by developing countries. To Tina Fahm of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, the fund represents a welcome increase in the UK’s ambition in development research, drawing on well-established mechanisms for identifying research excellence and promoting interdisciplinary work on complex development […]

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    Book Review: How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads by Steven Payson

Book Review: How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads by Steven Payson

In How Economics Professors Can Stop Failing Us: The Discipline at a Crossroads, Steven Payson offers a US-focused critique of the professional practice of teaching and researching economics today, covering areas such as publishing, hiring, and promotion. As readers will likely find themselves nodding in recognition at many of the issues identified by Payson, Christopher May finds this a welcome voice contributing to the growing […]

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    Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

Better information on teaching is required to redress the balance with research

How universities allocate resources – and how academics allocate their own time – between research and teaching is a perennial problem in higher education. The labour market for research is intensely competitive and truly global; while the market for academics focused on teaching is notable by its lack of competition. An obvious result is that academics’ promotion prospects depend […]

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    Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

Reshaping the tenure and promotion process so that it becomes a catalyst for innovative and invigorating scholarship

The metrics used to identify excellence, and on which current tenure and promotion decisions are based, have become a barrier to more exciting and innovative scholarship. Christopher P. Long suggests an overhaul of tenure and promotion practices, advocating a holistic approach in which structured mentoring plays a key role and values-based metrics that will empower faculty to tell more […]

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    The methodology used for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ citations metric can distort benchmarking

The methodology used for the Times Higher Education World University Rankings’ citations metric can distort benchmarking

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings can influence an institution’s reputation and even its future revenues. However, Avtar Natt argues that the methodology used to calculate its citation metrics can have the effect of distorting benchmarking exercises. The fractional counting approach applied to only a select number of papers with high author numbers has led to a situation […]

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The Publishing Trap! A game of scholarly communication

In a complex, evolving scholarly communications environment, it is more important than ever for researchers to have access to information and support resources relating to copyright and intellectual property rights. However, many among the academic community continue to view copyright as something of a problem and difficult to engage with. Experimenting with new ways to communicate and critically examine […]

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    The Radical Open Access Collective: building alliances for a progressive, scholar-led commons

The Radical Open Access Collective: building alliances for a progressive, scholar-led commons

The Radical Open Access Collective launched its new website earlier this week. Open access has always been about more than just improving access to research, and Janneke Adema and Samuel A. Moore here highlight what the Radical OA Collective can offer. A focus on experimentation with new forms of publishing and authorship; the promotion of traditionally underrepresented cultures, languages, […]

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    Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

Book Review: Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology by Karen Head

In Disrupt This! MOOCs and the Promise of Technology, Karen Head draws on a “view from inside” of developing and teaching a first-year writing massive open online course (MOOC) to critically interrogate the claim that such technology will fundamentally “disrupt” educational structures. This is an eloquent and intricate analysis that shows how personal experience and practice can add nuance to questions regarding the […]

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    Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

Despite uncertainty over EU academics’ future, the brain drain hasn’t begun yet

A predicted exodus of EU academics from UK universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why – despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights – the “brain drain” has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; many […]

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    Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Despite the increased importance of demonstrating impact, it remains a concept many academics feel ill-equipped to measure or evidence. Clare Wilkinson reveals how researchers from a broad range of disciplines think about evidencing impact, what obstacles might stand in their way, and how they might be further supported in future. Knowledge around research impact continues to exist in siloes, […]

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    Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Researchers everywhere are being pushed to collaborate. Individual academics are being urged to join teams, small teams are encouraged to merge with others to become bigger teams, and institution-wide and inter-institutional collaborations are spreading. With potential benefits including increased chances of funding, visibility, and impact, why, asks Jenny M. Lewis, are social scientists not embracing collaboration more? Might it […]

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    Open-source, commercial, non-profit, for-profit: what power have you got?

Open-source, commercial, non-profit, for-profit: what power have you got?

A previous Impact Blog post expressed the view that scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open but non-profit too. Mark Hahnel responds to that contention, highlighting the technical and financial considerations that render many of the academic-led, grant-funded initiatives unsustainable. Moreover, the non-profit vs. for-profit dichotomy itself may be too simplistic; non-profit is not synonymous with good, and for-profit is not […]

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    Systemic changes within institutions are needed to promote greater gender equity in STEM

Systemic changes within institutions are needed to promote greater gender equity in STEM

As part of a new report published today to coincide with Ada Lovelace Day, the annual celebration of the achievements of women working in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), Rhianna Goozee considers why so many women drop out from science on their way up the academic ladder and what can be done to address the situation. Long-term, holistic […]

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    The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in how games and simulations might be applied to higher education learning. Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Agoritsa Makri have reviewed the literature on the subject and here outline the positive learning effects of games and simulations; from cognitive outcomes such as improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to behavioural outcomes […]

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    New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

For what reasons do academics follow one another on Twitter? Robert Jäschke, Stephanie B. Linek and Christian P. Hoffmann analysed the Twitter activity of computer scientists and found that while the quality of information provided by a Twitter account is a key motive for following academic colleagues, there is also evidence of a career planning motive. As well as […]

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    Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

There is an argument that the best way for governments to allocate resources for research is to prioritise those areas most likely to deliver economic returns. Andrew Gibson and Ellen Hazelkorn explain how, shortly after its Great Recession, Ireland prioritised research fields aligned with industrial sectors rather than disciplinary excellence or societal challenges. By starting with an orientation toward […]

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The ideal PhD researcher has no baggage

The way institutions conceptualise doctoral candidates – as individuals without baggage, able to devote all their time to their research – has very real consequences for those who do not fit this profile. Marie-Alix Thouaille reports on recent research into the professional development behaviours and experiences of doctoral and early-career researchers. Findings reveal that many diverse factors, from funding […]

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    Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

In The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things, Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener offer an experimental co-memoir that blurs, unhooks and reweaves the relationship between “academic” and “creative” writing, while also disturbing traditional divisions between professional and personal life. The book succeeds in bringing emotion and empathy to academic writing, writes Vanessa Longden, and prompts reflection on personal practice.
This […]

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