Women ask fewer questions than men in academic seminars

During academic seminars, any given question is 2.5 times more likely to be asked by a male than a female audience member. Alecia Carter reports on this research, which suggests that internalised gender stereotypes are at least partly responsible for the observed imbalance, both in men’s participation and women’s lack of it. The findings are important as having models […]

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    Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Why has no other European country adopted the Research Excellence Framework?

Most European countries have followed the UK’s lead in developing performance-based research funding systems (PRFS) for their universities. However, what these countries have not done is adopt the same system, the Research Excellence Framework being its most recent iteration. Instead, many use indicators of institutional performance for funding decisions rather than panel evaluation and peer review. Gunnar Sivertsen has […]

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    The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the UK. The authors highlight four core elements that comprise […]

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2017 in review: top posts of the year

As 2017 nears its end and before our focus is drawn to whatever the new year might have in store, now is the perfect time to look back and reflect on the last twelve months on the Impact Blog. Editor Kieran Booluck reports on another year in which our readership has grown, and also shares a selection of the […]

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    2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

2017 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

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 […]

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    The crumbling façade: my experience working for an essay mill

The crumbling façade: my experience working for an essay mill

According to a recent UK Government-backed review, academics are topping up their earnings by writing for “essay mill” sites which help students to cheat in their assignments. S. A. Mills was one of those academics and recounts the experience here; offering an insight into the allure of such opportunities for those either out of work or in precarious positions, as […]

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    Where are the rising stars of research working? Towards a momentum-based look at research excellence

Where are the rising stars of research working? Towards a momentum-based look at research excellence

Traditional university rankings and leaderboards are largely an indicator of past performance of academic staff, some of whom conducted the research for which they are most famous elsewhere. Paul X. McCarthy has analysed bibliometric data to see which research institutions are accelerating fastest in terms of output and impact. The same data also offers a glimpse into the future, […]

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    How to start dismantling white privilege in higher education

How to start dismantling white privilege in higher education

Racism is still alive and well in US and UK academia, with many from black and minority ethnic backgrounds less likely to gain access to universities or occupy decision-making roles. Kalwant Bhopal argues that to address this problem requires radical action from universities, which must start by acknowledging the existence of institutional racism and white privilege.

Despite many claims to the […]

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    Understanding the additional labour of a disabled PhD student

Understanding the additional labour of a disabled PhD student

For those with little experience of disability, it can be easy to believe that disabled students are provided with all the support they require for their studies. Stephanie Hannam-Swain offers a personal insight into life as a disabled PhD student, highlighting the many issues and potential complications around aspects of disability policy. Disabled students also face the difficult decision […]

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November 28th, 2017|Higher education|0 Comments|
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    Policy Fellowships Programme: developing enduring relationships between academia and policymakers

Policy Fellowships Programme: developing enduring relationships between academia and policymakers

Having an impact on policy is an important part of demonstrating the wider contribution of academic work and expertise. The Policy Fellowships Programme was set up as part of a wider commitment to find increased and better ways for scientific expertise and evidence to be considered in public policy. Nicola Buckley and Charlotte Sausman explain the background to the programme, […]

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    How to survive the cruel world of peer-reviewed funding applications

How to survive the cruel world of peer-reviewed funding applications

With government funding and industry support for research either static or falling, the grant funding environment has become increasingly competitive. Most funding goes to those in secure employment who have been in academia for some time, making the outlook particularly grim for early-career researchers. Jonathan O’Donnell sets out some practical advice for early-career researchers competing for grant funding; starting […]

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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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