• classroom disruption
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    The Uberification of the University: How much further could the public university be disrupted?

The Uberification of the University: How much further could the public university be disrupted?

As a natural extension of wider trends towards greater privatisation and deregulation, plans are currently underway to make the UK a global centre for the so-called ‘sharing economy’. Gary Hall examines the potential effects of this transformation on higher education. The data available on certain platforms could be used to develop an intermediary business model for education services. Higher education workers would have […]

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  • disciplines
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    The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

The origins of disciplines: Returning to an era of ‘infradisciplinarity’ to build solid intellectual foundations

Without appealing to hierarchy and tradition, how might we start a root-and-branch conversation to establish academic criteria for what disciplines, units and structures to keep, and what to kill? Thinking in a serious way about how knowledge production should be organised requires setting aside the rankings charts and becoming acquainted with the origins of scholarly research and higher education […]

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  • ResearchIncome2featured
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    Was the REF a waste of time? Strong relationship between grant income and quality-related funding allocation.

Was the REF a waste of time? Strong relationship between grant income and quality-related funding allocation.

If the funding allocated to universities on the basis of the REF is correlated to the amount of grant income universities already receive, what is the point of the output assessment process? Jon Clayden explores the relationship between grant income generated and REF-related QR funding and finds a strong correlation between the two, suggesting that the double-counting exercise is surely not the best we […]

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  • broken lens
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    Stop shielding early-career researchers from open access – limiting wider involvement won’t change a broken system.

Stop shielding early-career researchers from open access – limiting wider involvement won’t change a broken system.

The competitive nature of scholarship and the precariousness of academic employment is what currently hinders early-career researchers, not open access publishing. Rather than warning researchers of the dangers of confronting outdated and proprietary forms of scholarship, all should be engaged in questioning the practices that perpetuate the broken system, argues Samuel Moore.

One of the frequently voiced criticisms of open-access […]

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  • creativity-819371_1280
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    Amid mounting political and social uncertainty, institutions must evolve to support evidence-based decision-making.

Amid mounting political and social uncertainty, institutions must evolve to support evidence-based decision-making.

Knowledge exchange is a process often discussed in vague detail in relation to research impact. Chris Cvitanovic looks at the available exchange mechanisms for marine scientists and decision-makers. Survey findings suggest that while engaging with decision-makers was important to scientists on a personal level, a range of barriers prevent this from happening. Formal recognition of engagement activities and dedicated funding and resources […]

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  • non verbal communication
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    Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Actions speak louder than words: Adaptive non-verbal communication is a key leadership skill for collaborative teams.

Non-verbal communication is extremely influential in interpersonal encounters, and knowing how to leverage non-verbal signals effectively can be a key leadership skill. Connson Locke shares her research findings that suggest displaying an overly-confident and authoritative non-verbal communication can have a damaging effect on a team’s sharing of information and collaboration.

This piece originally appeared on British Politics and Policy.

It is widely accepted that […]

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Vacancy: Managing Editor, LSE Review of Books

Our sister blog, LSE Review of Books is currently recruiting for the position of Managing Editor. This is a great opportunity to join our team! The Communications Division at LSE is seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with experience working with academic writing and a keen interest in the social sciences to work as the Managing Editor of […]

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    Why did REF2014 cost three times as much as the RAE? Hint: It’s not just because of the added impact element.

Why did REF2014 cost three times as much as the RAE? Hint: It’s not just because of the added impact element.

The benefits of any research assessment framework should ideally outweigh the costs and burden incurred by universities and staff. Derek Sayer argues there should be cause for concern now that recent analysis shows the 2014 REF bill was three times as much as the last UK assessment exercise. The costly increase in staff time was driven by the increased importance […]

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    Doing things differently: By embracing the politics of Higher Education, academics can help create a better system.

Doing things differently: By embracing the politics of Higher Education, academics can help create a better system.

With higher education in constant flux around the latest assessment exercise, to what extent are academics and administrators ‘hitting the target and missing the point’? John Turnpenny discusses the critical role of the arts and humanities and the grudging acceptance of the linear-rational model for evidence-based decision-making. He argues that by acknowledging that higher education policy is something we help create, rather than […]

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    Book Review: Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals

Book Review: Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals

In Conflict in the Academy: A Study in the Sociology of Intellectuals, Marcus Morgan and Patrick Baert yield key insights into the dark underside of academe by exploring the dynamics behind a contentious dispute, known as the ‘MacCabe Affair’, over a faculty appointment of an obscure, young scholar at Cambridge University through the framework of cultural sociology and positioning theory, […]

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  • drowning by numbers
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    Can metrics be used responsibly? Structural conditions in Higher Ed push against expert-led, reflexive approach.

Can metrics be used responsibly? Structural conditions in Higher Ed push against expert-led, reflexive approach.

Do institutions and academics have a free choice in how they use metrics? Meera Sabaratnam argues that structural conditions in the present UK Higher Education system inhibit the responsible use of metrics. Funding volatility, rankings culture, and time constraints are just some of the issues making it highly improbable that the sector is capable of enacting the approach that the Metric […]

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  • refmetrics
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    Using REF results to make simple comparisons is not necessarily responsible. Careful interpretation needed.

Using REF results to make simple comparisons is not necessarily responsible. Careful interpretation needed.

What are the implications of the HEFCEmetrics review for the next REF? Is is easy to forget that the REF is already all about metrics of research performance. Steven Hill, Head of Research Policy at HEFCE, reiterates that like any use of metrics, we need to take great care in how we use and interpret the results of the REF.

This is […]

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  • orcid id featured
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    The Management of Metrics: Globally agreed, unique identifiers for academic staff are a step in the right direction.

The Management of Metrics: Globally agreed, unique identifiers for academic staff are a step in the right direction.

The Metric Tide report calls for research managers and administrators to champion the use of responsible metrics within their institutions. Simon Kerridge looks at greater detail at specific institutional actions. Signing up to initiatives such as the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) is a good start. Furthermore, by mandating unique and disambiguated identifiers for academic staff, like ORCID iDs, […]

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    The metrics dilemma: University leadership needs to get smart about their strategic choices over what counts.

The metrics dilemma: University leadership needs to get smart about their strategic choices over what counts.

The review of metrics enjoins universities not to drift with the ‘metric tide’. To do this requires a united front of strategic leadership across the sector, argues HEFCE’s Steven Hill. Rather than the inevitable claims about league table positions on website front pages, universities could offer further explanation of how the rankings relate to the distinct mission of the institution.

This is part […]

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    The metric tide is rising: HEFCEmetrics report argues metrics should support, not supplant, expert judgement.

The metric tide is rising: HEFCEmetrics report argues metrics should support, not supplant, expert judgement.

James Wilsdon introduces the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management. The review found that the production and consumption of metrics remains contested and open to misunderstanding. Wider use of quantitative indicators, and the emergence of alternative metrics for societal impact, could support the transition to a more open, accountable and outward-facing research system. But […]

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    Expensive, highly-produced videos are not necessary to achieve a quality learning experience for your MOOC.

Expensive, highly-produced videos are not necessary to achieve a quality learning experience for your MOOC.

Drawing on her extensive experience developing and participating in open educational resources and online learning platforms, Lorena Barba shares why the fixation on snazzy and expensive video production might not necessarily produce better learning experiences. Despite their popularity in MOOCs, “lecture videos” have the same pitfalls as regular lectures. Students need to engage with educational concepts in various ways and […]

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  • Umass_Amherst_Chapel_&_Library_in_the_evening
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    Job security for early career researchers is a significant factor in helping research make an impact.

Job security for early career researchers is a significant factor in helping research make an impact.

Doctorate holders’ careers are increasingly diverse and research funders have a strong interest in exploring how their investment has contributed to the career paths of the researchers supported and how their work benefits society. Funders are also looking to understand the challenges, bottlenecks and opportunities at different career stages in order to tailor policies and activities to researchers’ needs. Siobhan […]

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