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    How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

How long does a scientific paper need to be? Length limits can have a detrimental effect on scientific reporting.

In principle, length limits should help with the accessibility and readability of a scientific paper. But in practice these limits often achieve the opposite effect. Now that journals are becoming online-only, Dorothy Bishop argues, lengths limits are far less relevant. Yes, we should encourage authors to be succinct, but not so succinct that scientific communication is compromised.

There was an interesting exchange a […]

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    Fast and made to last: Academic blogs look to ensure long-term accessibility and stability of content.

Fast and made to last: Academic blogs look to ensure long-term accessibility and stability of content.

Academic blogging has distinct advantages over traditional forms of scholarly communication but questions on their lasting preservation still remain to be seen. Who makes sure academic blog content stays online in the long term? Who guarantees that links to the post remains the same? Who ensures that the text will not be modified later on? Christof Schöch argues these are issues that […]

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    ‘Nudges’ may be effective at times, but policymakers can’t rely on them to tackle entrenched social problems.

‘Nudges’ may be effective at times, but policymakers can’t rely on them to tackle entrenched social problems.

Since the publication of 2008’s Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, policy ‘nudges’ have been in fashion, with smaller interventions aimed at altering public behaviour in a subtle manner being adopted by many governments, including in the UK. Frank Mols looked at this phenomenon in a recent journal article, and argues here that while nudges undoubtedly can be effective, their limitations must be […]

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    Scholarly behaviour and evaluation criteria: Uncovering the superficial characteristics that lead to higher citations

Scholarly behaviour and evaluation criteria: Uncovering the superficial characteristics that lead to higher citations

Do scholars adjust their publication behaviour depending on the criteria used in their evaluation? Maarten van Wesel presents findings showing how the publishing behaviour of scholars changed when evaluation switched from emphasising ‘publish-or-perish’ to impact factors. Whilst this may suggest a shift from quantity to quality, the number of citations a paper receives not only depends on its scholarly value, […]

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    The Professor Divide at American Universities and How to Fix It — The Case for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

The Professor Divide at American Universities and How to Fix It — The Case for a Teaching-Intensive Tenure Track.

The casual hiring of non-permanent teaching staff is a pressing issue for universities in the U.S. and the U.K. Jennifer Ruth focuses her analysis on U.S. universities in particular and shows to what extent this now common practice is deprofessionalizing the academic profession. Creating a tenure track for full-time faculty hired and promoted on the basis of excellence in teaching would establish […]

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    Who, What, Where, When, Why: Using the 5 Ws to communicate your research

Who, What, Where, When, Why: Using the 5 Ws to communicate your research

A lay summary can be a useful approach to breaking down barriers and making research accessible. A good summary focuses on the important aspects of the research, but distilling this information is not always easy. A helpful starting point for identifying the key elements of a research story can be the 5 Ws. Andy Tattersall finds this approach might not work for every piece of research, […]

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    Life in the Accelerated Academy: anxiety thrives, demands intensify and metrics hold the tangled web together.

Life in the Accelerated Academy: anxiety thrives, demands intensify and metrics hold the tangled web together.

The imagined slowness of university life has given way to a frenetic pace, defined by a perpetual ratcheting up of demands and an entrepreneurial ethos seeking new and quantifiable opportunities. Mark Carrigan explores the toxic elements of this culture and its underlying structural roots. As things get faster, we tend to accept things as they are rather than imagining how they might […]

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Book Review: How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco

Now in its twenty-third edition in Italy and translated into seventeen languages, How to Write a Thesis has become a classic. This is its first, long overdue publication in English. Vanessa Longden thinks that in addition to its witty one-liners, Eco’s book contains the bare bones on which to build research. 

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books.

How to Write a Thesis. […]

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    Studies in social data: how industry uses social media for communications and research.

Studies in social data: how industry uses social media for communications and research.

A series of meetups have been arranged for those interested in the use and applications of social data. Farida Vis provides a brief overview of the latest event on business uses of social data. Speakers reflected on principles for handling data, the need to collaborate externally, and how to look more closely at the full lifecycle of social data. Sometimes social […]

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    Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaborate or die? Interdisciplinary work holds great promise but goal-oriented assumptions must be challenged.

Collaboration holds great promise for social science disciplines, but simply replicating practices from STEM disciplines will not necessarily lead to greater quality research. Each discipline has its own language and set of assumptions, argues Jenny Lewis and ground work must be done to set the stage for a successful exchange of ideas. Disciplines that rest on strongly contested knowledge bases […]

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    What’s the matter with ebooks? In our praise for print, we forget the great virtues of digital formats.

What’s the matter with ebooks? In our praise for print, we forget the great virtues of digital formats.

Do print versions still have an advantage over electronic formats? Ebook sales may be reaching a plateau but Dan Cohen argues there may be much more dark reading going on than the stats are showing. A huge and growing percentage of ebooks are being sold by indie publishers or authors themselves, and a third of them don’t even have ISBNs, the universal ID used to track […]

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    Influential, international and interdisciplinary: The impact of the UK’s research.

Influential, international and interdisciplinary: The impact of the UK’s research.

The Policy Institute at King’s College London, along with colleagues in the digital humanities department, teamed up with technology company Digital Science to build a searchable database and produce a rich analysis of the impact case studies for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Saba Hinrichs and Jonathan Grant introduce the key findings of the analysis and explain how the resource […]

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    Measuring development: the importance of statistics on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Measuring development: the importance of statistics on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

In 2013 the UN set up a specific group to look at broadening its data gathering. This is part of a wider trend looking to embrace partnerships that can provide regular evidence of development progress. Thomas Wheeler and Craig Fagan argue that in the age of ‘open’ government, budgets, contracts and aid, there is no reason why data should remain the remit […]

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    A blog may get you street credibility, but for formal academic recognition, books are still the preferred medium.

A blog may get you street credibility, but for formal academic recognition, books are still the preferred medium.

Could blogs replace books? Michael Piotrowski reflects on the current scholarly debate surrounding immediacy and impact of academic work. A significant issue for blogs is the lack of formal recognition, largely down to the general lack of pre-publication peer review. Books are more formal in all respects, but this doesn’t disqualify blogs per se. Blogs and books have different strengths and […]

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