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    Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

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 […]

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    Five minutes with Ha-Joon Chang: “Members of the general public have a duty to educate themselves in economics”

Five minutes with Ha-Joon Chang: “Members of the general public have a duty to educate themselves in economics”

In an interview with Joel Suss, editor of the British Politics and Policy blog, Ha-Joon Chang discusses his new book, Economics: The User’s Guide, and the need for a pluralist approach to economics. He recently gave a public lecture at the LSE, the video of which can be seen here. 
This post originally appeared on British Politics and Policy (BPP).
In a recent article, you wrote: […]

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    Participatory workshops with non-academics foster positive social impact and work as a research validation mechanism.

Participatory workshops with non-academics foster positive social impact and work as a research validation mechanism.

Non-academic research users are often powerless in the decision-making processes for how research is communicated. Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez shares lessons from a knowledge exchange toolkit which aims to address this imbalance through participatory workshops. Drawing on a Freirean approach to learning, interactions between participants and researchers are seen as a key objective in itself. She argues that plans for impact need to be devised for the benefits […]

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    Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

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 […]

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    Is the fear of metrics symptomatic of a deeper malaise? On fiefdoms and scapegoats of the academic community.

Is the fear of metrics symptomatic of a deeper malaise? On fiefdoms and scapegoats of the academic community.

This Monday marks the end of the open consultation for HEFCE’s Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment. Steve Fuller expands on his submission and also responds to other prominent critiques offered. He argues that academics, especially interdisciplinary scholars, should welcome the opportunity to approach the task of citation differently. Whilst many complain of the high citation rates […]

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    Surely there’s more to science than money? Economic determinism fails to capture science’s practical social benefit.

Surely there’s more to science than money? Economic determinism fails to capture science’s practical social benefit.

The benefits of the scientific enterprise can be difficult to pin-point directly. Rather than grapple with the complexity, many prefer to emphasise how science spending will lead to economic growth. Richard Jones looks back at motivations for science funding historically and finds that pure economic determinism so popular today is far from the only option. National defence and cultural value […]

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    Reflections on the contemporary university: Reading List for Governing Academic Life #GAL2014

Reflections on the contemporary university: Reading List for Governing Academic Life #GAL2014

Changes to higher education, the role of neo-liberalism in academic life and the various social forces shaping researcher identity and practice are all set to be discussed and interrogated at the Governing Academic Life conference 25-26 June. To kick-start discussion ahead of the event we’ve pulled together a range of resources here on the topics to be explored over the two days. […]

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    Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

The disparity between academics’ perception of the impact of their research and the opinions of policy-makers was recently underlined by a team of researchers from the University of Queensland who undertook cross-sectional surveys and semi-structured interviews with social science academic researchers and personnel in policy-relevant roles in public sector agencies. Michele Ferguson, Brian Head, Adrian Cherney and Paul Boreham look […]

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    A note to administrators and librarians: Those that fund research are responsible for funding its dissemination.

A note to administrators and librarians: Those that fund research are responsible for funding its dissemination.

Only when the bulk of research comes with funds to pay author-side fees will publishers feel comfortable moving to new open business models. But who should be responsible for paying these new author-side fees? Stuart Shieber argues that those that fund research should be held responsible for funding its dissemination. As funders of research, universities themselves should be looking to […]

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    Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Oriana Bandiera describes the close collaboration between a team of economists and the Government of Zambia to evaluate strategies to recruit, motivate and retain agents in the rollout of its National Community Health Assistant Programme. Using a randomised experiment the findings illustrate that there is no tradeoff between career incentives, skills and social values. Providing career opportunities attracts more skilled individuals who perform […]

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    The Impact of Social Sciences Project by the numbers: encouraging real-time impact recording.

The Impact of Social Sciences Project by the numbers: encouraging real-time impact recording.

The Impact of Social Sciences blog emerged from a three-year research project devoted to a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the complexity of academic impact. To not let any impact-relevant knowledge dissolve away, Jane Tinkler takes a look back at the outputs, outcomes and connections made throughout the research process. Whilst these figures help to establish a real-time understanding of academic […]

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    Five Minutes with Anne Barron and Mary Evans: “Academics seldom have the opportunity to discuss issues about their profession”

Five Minutes with Anne Barron and Mary Evans: “Academics seldom have the opportunity to discuss issues about their profession”

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the death of social theorist Michel Foucault, Anne Barron and Mary Evans have organised a conference in late June for academics to reflect on his legacy in relation to higher education. Governing Academic Life will create an interdisciplinary space to discuss the public university, neoliberalism, academic publishing, and assessment measurement. Managing Editor Sierra Williams […]

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    Book Review: What Use is Sociology? Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman, Michael-Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester

Book Review: What Use is Sociology? Conversations with Zygmunt Bauman, Michael-Hviid Jacobsen and Keith Tester

This conversational book with Zygmunt Bauman looks at the usefulness of sociology with an aim to inspire future conversations about the discipline. Olivia Mena found this book to be a sounding board of the timeless but central questions which social theorists and practitioners must revisit regularly in the everyday practice of the ‘scientific sorcery’ that is sociology.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review […]

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    Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy: “The Treasury have woefully misapplied our research estimates”

Five minutes with Patrick Dunleavy: “The Treasury have woefully misapplied our research estimates”

Academic impact, particularly within the policymaking process, can strike at unexpected moments. Earlier this week, the UK Treasury released a press release that included references to a 2010 LSE Public Policy Group report. Joel Suss, Managing Editor of British Politics and Policy blog, asks Patrick Dunleavy about the way in which the Treasury used his research findings to arrive at a figure […]

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