Under the rouse of rigour and seriousness, professional norms in academia often preclude kindness. Jason Laker looks at the issue systemically in an effort to uncover why being kind and supportive to each other should be seen as surprising. He wonders how much of this contemptuous rhetoric is authentic, or rather, a performance used to socialize academics as a […]
Five Minutes with Trish Greenhalgh: “We need to be clear that research impact isn’t a single dimension.”
Trish Greenhalgh is currently Dean for Research Impact at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. In discussion with Managing Editor Sierra Williams she delves into the nature of academic impact and the remit of her appointment. She finds that many academics still have a naïve and overly rationalistic view of how their work might link with policy. Drawing on the […]
In a study of over 500 four year post-secondary institutions in all fifty US states from 1993-2010, Amanda Rutherford and Thomas Rabovsky find that current performance funding policies are not associated with higher levels of student performance and that these policies may in fact contribute to lower performance over a longer period of time. However, more recent policies linked to institutional base funding may produce […]
‘Robbins Rebooted’ details Labour’s approach to boosting technical skills and regional growth through higher education
Shadow Higher Education Minister Liam Byrne MP has released Robbins Rebooted, a pamphlet on the importance of higher education to the UK’s national life and economic future. Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) welcomes the pamphlet as a clear articulation of Labour’s vision for maintaining a world-class higher education sector, even if ambiguity remains over hard figures and clear […]
The Research Funding Officer role is increasingly fundamental to impact, growing in importance as bidding becomes more competitive and the impact stakes get higher. Casper Hitchins and Julie Bayley argue that the dramatic elevation of impact in funding applications demands more insightful planning. Focus at the funding application stage not only generates more competitive bids, but also secures resources for […]
Lord Heseltine has called to question the UK government’s approach to counting non-EU students in its net immigration figures and has argued instead that foreign students should be excluded from government plans to cut net immigration to the UK. Higher Education is a thriving sector largely due to the diverse student body to which it seek to cater. Increasingly restricted immigration […]
Capturing the value of university-business collaboration in education requires flexible approach to measurement tools
Co-operation between businesses and universities is now firmly on the agenda. However, co-operation in the field of education plays something of a runner-up to co-operation in the field of research, particularly when it comes to valuing and measuring the outcomes of this. Adrian Healy recently led an exploratory study for the European Commission’s Directorate General of Education and Culture, examining […]
Much sharing and use of open educational resources (OER) is relatively informal, difficult to observe, and part of a wider pattern of open activity. What the open education movement needs is a way to draw together disparate fragments of evidence into a coherent analytic framework. Rob Farrow provides background on a project devoted to consolidating efforts of OER practitioners […]
Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?
Now that the cabinet reshuffle news has settled and Greg Clark MP, the new Minister for Universities, Science, and Cities has begun his tenure, we asked for further reflections on the positions taken by previous minister David Willetts. David Prosser covers the dramatic influence Willetts had on open access legislation and momentum in the UK. Lee Jones instead emphasises the escalation […]
Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.
The idea that research should have an impact on policy is premised on an instrumentalist, or problem-solving theory of research utilisation: namely, that research is valued by policy-makers as a means of adjusting their outputs. Yet Christina Boswell’s research has shown that expert knowledge is just as likely to be valued for its symbolic function: as a means of […]
Disruption disrupted? As innovation comes to academia, scholars look to challenge Christensen’s compelling theory.
‘Disruptive Innovation’ has become a more practical than theoretical debate in higher education all while criticism mounts over the theory’s scholarly merits. In the midst of high-profile interrogation by academics, Eric Van de Velde reflects on his experience of the value of Christensen’s concept of disruption for information sharing and technological advancement in the scholarly community. The episode also poses […]
The rejection of metrics for the REF does not take account of existing problems of determining research quality.
Amidst heavy scepticism over the role of metrics in research assessments, Martin Smith wonders whether the flaws of the current system have been fully recognised. There is no system of research assessment that is perfect and peer review may well be a better, although problematic, measure of quality than metrics. But the REF has become disproportionate. The question that arises […]
Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.
Susan Wright, Bruce Curtis, Lisa Lucas and Susan Robertson provide a basic outline of their working paper on how performance-based research assessment frameworks in different countries operate and govern academic life. They find that assessment methods steer academic effort away from wider purposes of the university, enhance the powers of leaders, propagate unsubstantiated myths of meritocracy, and demand conformity. But the latest […]
The FIRST Act’s demand for relevance at the expense of replication puts the entire scientific enterprise at risk.
The United States’ controversial FIRST Act would have profound implications for how social science research is managed and its funding allocated. David Takeuchi argues that even if the act doesn’t pass, it is clear that politicians are demanding more of a say in federally funded research. While a push to ensure research remains relevant can be a good thing, scientists and […]
Impact Round-Up 21st June: Universities as big business, coding the future, and openings in knowledge production.
Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.
Dorothy Bishop calls out the management decisions at King’s College London that could lead to redundancies for academic staff in order to improve its bottom line in The University as big business: The case of King’s College London.
Traditionally a university was […]