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    “This device is licensed”: the material and immaterial bureaucracy of academic research

“This device is licensed”: the material and immaterial bureaucracy of academic research

Derek Dunne draws attention to the hidden bureaucratic labour that is increasingly a part of academic life. Rather than see this as the “white noise” to be tuned out of everyday working practices, he calls for us to question the forms that are put in front of us demanding our acquiescence, whilst also locating potential sites of resistance.

 

“This device is licensed.”

I […]

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    OpenAIRE can form the basis for a truly public European Open Access Platform

OpenAIRE can form the basis for a truly public European Open Access Platform

In a previous Impact Blog post, Benedikt Fecher and colleagues envisioned a European Open Access Platform, an innovative public information infrastructure that would integrate publishing and dissemination into the research lifecycle, rather than having it outsourced. Tony Ross-Hellauer describes how OpenAIRE is working to make this vision a reality, and how it can contribute further to create a participatory, […]

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    Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

The present system of labelling changes made to published articles is confusing, inconsistently applied, and out of step with digital publishing. It carries negative connotations for authors, editors, and publishers. Is there a way to efficiently and neutrally flag a change to a published article in a way that says what happened that is separated from why it happened? […]

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    Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Formal recognition for peer review will propel research forward

Academic research has been beset by a number of disturbing problems in recent years; from the reproducibility crisis and long publication delays, right through to article retractions and admissions of researcher misconduct. This has led to increasing public and media scepticism as to the quality and integrity of research. Peer review remains the gold standard for ensuring that quality […]

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    A PhD by publication allows you to write for real and varied audiences, inviting intellectual exchanges that benefit your research

A PhD by publication allows you to write for real and varied audiences, inviting intellectual exchanges that benefit your research

A PhD by publication requires doctoral candidates to submit a set of papers for peer-reviewed journals plus an integrating chapter, rather than the more traditional doctoral dissertation. This remains a less common, sometimes frowned-upon model, but Jørgen Carling outlines eight reasons why a PhD by publication might be a good option. It allows you to write for real, varied […]

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    More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

Is the problem with contemporary academia really one of constant acceleration? Ulrike Felt argues that focusing too much on acceleration overlooks a more complex phenomenon at work. What is needed is careful investigation of “time generators”, the key sites in academia that create binding temporal requirements and regulations. Many of academia’s recent reforms – to funding structures, assessment exercises, […]

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    Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Universities under purdah: maintaining impartiality or restricting academic freedom?

Is purdah, intended to maintain the impartiality of the civil service, infringing on university researchers’ independence at a time when their expertise is most needed? Bob Ward explains the rules and argues that the next government should undertake a review of the guidance available, in order to ensure that purdah does not harm the public interest in the future.
University […]

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    The pace of academic life is not the problem—the lack of autonomy is

The pace of academic life is not the problem—the lack of autonomy is

To many disgruntled with the quantification of scholarship, its impossible demands and meaningless metrics, it is the heightened pace of academic life that is the problem. For Alison Edwards, the crux of the problem is actually a lack of autonomy. Is it time for academics to take back control? This post is inspired in part by the Impact Blog’s […]

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    The UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework does not foster the inclusion of international students as equals

The UK’s Teaching Excellence Framework does not foster the inclusion of international students as equals

Of the criticisms that have been levelled at the government’s proposed teaching excellence framework (TEF), very few have focused on what the exercise means for international students’ status in British education. Aneta Hayes argues that the absence of TEF metrics that would measure respectful engagement with international students in the classroom means nothing will be done to help their […]

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On (re)building institutional writing cultures

Pat Thomson suggests the benefits of restoring a writing-oriented organisational culture to the modern-day university. A more social, communal setting can create the conditions necessary for gaining confidence as a writer. Writing is core to our disciplines and so ought to be at the very heart of our everyday university lives. While this would certainly require institutional leadership, it also depends […]

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    Lies are fast, truth is slow: the importance of mastering the rhythms of academic life and work

Lies are fast, truth is slow: the importance of mastering the rhythms of academic life and work

In the context of Trumpism and the victory of fast emotions over the slower pace of reasoning and education, Dick Pels hails the unique perspective encouraged by science; the ability to slow down, freeze-frame, and dissect things, liberated from the demands of urgency, immediacy and publicity. However, this should not detract from the existence of temporal diversity within academic […]

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    Undergraduate researchers report only moderate knowledge of scholarly communication: they must be offered more support

Undergraduate researchers report only moderate knowledge of scholarly communication: they must be offered more support

Undergraduate students are increasingly participating in the scholarly communication process, mostly through formal research experiences. However, Catherine Fraser Riehle and Merinda Kaye Hensley, having surveyed and interviewed university students, reveal that undergraduate researchers have only moderate levels of confidence in their knowledge of scholarly communications, especially publication and access models, author and publisher rights, determining the impact of research, and […]

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    Are universities finally waking up to the value of copyright?

Are universities finally waking up to the value of copyright?

Whereas a large majority of universities have been proactive about claiming ownership of intellectual property such as patents or teaching materials, only a small percentage have been similarly assertive about copyright. However, amidst continued debate over the affordability of and access to scholarly communication, what practical attempts have been made to retain copyright within the academy rather than assign […]

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    University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

‘Contract cheating’, whereby students pay companies to complete assignments on their behalf, threatens to seriously undermine higher education standards. Philip M. Newton and Michael J. Draper consider what might be done to tackle this issue, including the Quality Assurance Agency’s suggestion of deploying the UK Fraud Act (2006). While questions remains as to whether the Fraud Act is likely […]

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    Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Challenges posed by events such as Brexit highlight the importance of excellent research programmes. Moreover, they represent a broader context in which the next Research Excellence Framework must consider ‘impact’. But do current REF proposals go far enough towards doing this? Matthew Guest argues that there is not enough of an incentive for institutions to address heightened societal, economic […]

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    Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

Book Review: Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity by Lorenza Antonucci

In Student Lives in Crisis: Deepening Inequality in Times of Austerity, Lorenza Antonucci examines the material inequalities that shape young people’s experiences of higher education by examining welfare provision in three European countries – England, Italy and Sweden. Heather Mew welcomes this book as an eye-opening account that shows how austerity policies are leading universities to reinforce rather than remedy […]

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    The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

Writing is crucial to an academic’s role of producing, shaping and distributing knowledge. However, academic writing itself is increasingly being shaped by the contemporary university’s managerial practices and evaluation frameworks. Sharon McCulloch describes how her research on academics’ writing practices has revealed tensions around the ways in which managerial practices interact with academics’ individual career goals, disciplinary values and […]

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    The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The university challenge: what would an Intelligent Brexit look like?

The EU brought invaluable networks for research and collaboration to the UK. More than that, it fostered a shared democratic culture of openness and tolerance. But these links will have to change as Britain pursues a hard Brexit. Time is short, write Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon, and universities need to make the case for an ‘Intelligent Brexit’ that will […]

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