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    Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

Developing social impact requires the research agenda to move beyond conventional academic boundaries.

The Dutch Senate recently passed a new Standard Evaluation Protocol (SEP). The SEP highlights the importance of social impact for research. The new Protocol was developed by the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences), VSNU (Association of Dutch universities) and NWO (Dutch Science Council) and is to be used to evaluate academic research from 2015-2021. Based on recent […]

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Buzzfeed: A new home for research?

Jeff Knezovich shares his experience using the online news portal Buzzfeed to share the latest research findings. For topics not usually at the front-and-centre, Buzzfeed provides a quick and easy way to bring people up to speed. Buzzfeed’s ‘splainer (short for ‘explainer’) format was very well received, with the post accessed ten times more than the PDF and research website […]

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    Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

In order to get a perfect assessment method, are we at risk of developing systems that are ever more complex and time-consuming? Dorothy Bishop looks at the differences between readily available measures to award research funding and the highly complicated RAE formula. An evaluation system need not be perfect – it just needs to be ‘good enough’ to provide a […]

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    What is the difference between an impact and an outcome? Impact is the longer term effect of an outcome.

What is the difference between an impact and an outcome? Impact is the longer term effect of an outcome.

Andrew Harding looks closely at the terminology and theoretical differences between an impact and an outcome in welfare research. Outcomes tend to be pre-defined and can be measured objectively, but the personal experiences and nature of impact is intuitively subjective. A mixed methods approach that focuses on delineating outcomes and exploring impact might be appropriate.

In recent years ‘impact’ and […]

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    Five recommendations for using alternative metrics in the future UK Research Excellence Framework

Five recommendations for using alternative metrics in the future UK Research Excellence Framework

Although many are excited by the possibilities for using alternative metrics to supplement research assessment, others are concerned about the ease with which the figures can be gamed. It is clear that there is already gaming within traditional citation impact metrics in peer reviewed journals and without quality control mechanisms, social media metrics would be susceptible to the same. Mike […]

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    Data Descriptors: Providing the necessary information to make data open, discoverable and reusable.

Data Descriptors: Providing the necessary information to make data open, discoverable and reusable.

Data need to be more than just available, they need to be discoverable and understandable. Iain Hrynaszkiewicz introduces Nature’s new published data paper format, a Data Descriptor. Peer-review and curation of these data papers will facilitate open access to knowledge and interdisciplinary research, pushing the boundaries of discovery. Some of the most tangible benefits of open data stem from social and […]

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    Replication is not about making or breaking careers: it is about providing an opportunity to move science forward.

Replication is not about making or breaking careers: it is about providing an opportunity to move science forward.

Replication and closer scrutiny of published findings are generally welcome in the scientific community, but questions have been raised over how replication attempts are being reported. Whilst there are certainly arguments for more friendly and cooperative tones to scientific debate, Dorothy Bishop welcomes this next chapter in rigorous debate. Reputation and career prospects will, at the end of the day, […]

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    Five Minutes with Nicholas A. Christakis: “Discovery is greatly facilitated by methodological innovation.”

Five Minutes with Nicholas A. Christakis: “Discovery is greatly facilitated by methodological innovation.”

Managing Editor Sierra Williams spoke to Professor Nicholas A. Christakis ahead of next week’s LSE event, Do We Need to Shake Up the Social Sciences? Here he discusses his thoughts on the frontiers in interdisciplinary research, the need for social science departmental re-shuffles, and the radical changes shaping social science’s relevance today.

Back in July, your article Let’s Shake Up the Social […]

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    Altmetrics can signal flows of information for paths in scholarly communication not yet mapped.

Altmetrics can signal flows of information for paths in scholarly communication not yet mapped.

Research metrics are currently being debated across the UK. With last week’s 1AM conference discussing alternative metrics and this week’s In metrics we trust? event as part of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment, the uses and misuses of metrics are under close scrutiny. Cameron Neylon reports back from last week’s altmetrics conference and looks at the primary motivations […]

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    How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.

How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.

Competition for funding and jobs is often cited as a helpful mechanism for spurning innovation and productivity in science. But Jessica Polka challenges this idea by drawing from the results of an experiment known as Duncker’s candle problem. The experiment revealed external rewards can actually inhibit creative thinking. If science is like the version of the candle problem, are […]

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    Proof over promise: Moving citation metric systems beyond journal impact towards a career impact approach.

Proof over promise: Moving citation metric systems beyond journal impact towards a career impact approach.

Publishing in a high-impact journal carries the implicit promise that the article will also be highly cited. But the proof of this logic remains unsubstantiated. By combining more accurate citation metrics, like the hIa-index and the citation-per-author-per-year metric, Anne-Wil Harzing and Wilfred Mijnhardt provide a more substantial alternative to the narrow journal-based metric. This combined metric provides a more reliable comparison between […]

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    Publication bias against negative findings is detrimental to the progression of science.

Publication bias against negative findings is detrimental to the progression of science.

As a large funder of biomedical research, the Wellcome Trust is keen to ensure that the findings of that research are widely and openly shared. There is a body of evidence that indicates a bias against writing up and publishing of negative findings. Jonathon Kram and Adam Dinsmore, from the Wellcome Trust evaluation team, discuss why this could create a barrier to scientific progress.

There is a […]

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    Is Digital Humanities a collaborative discipline? Joint-authorship publication patterns clash with defining narrative

Is Digital Humanities a collaborative discipline? Joint-authorship publication patterns clash with defining narrative

As an emerging discipline still defining itself, Digital Humanities offers an ideal opportunity to reflect on its broader disciplinary narratives. Julianne Nyhan and Oliver Duke-Williams examined its collaborative nature through the lens of publication patterns in some of its core journals. They found predominately single-authored papers were published during the time-frames, suggesting individual scholarship is still playing a large role. But this may be a case where […]

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    The citation revolution will not be televised: the end of papers and the rise of data.

The citation revolution will not be televised: the end of papers and the rise of data.

Providing access across subjects and regions, the Data Citation Index is linking up with repositories to provide a single-point recognition mechanism for quality research data. Christopher Lortie welcomes this development as it will profoundly reshape the publication pipeline and further fuel the open science movement. Data can now be recognised and cited as independent products, with or without them being linked to […]

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    Say it once, say it right: Seven strategies to improve your academic writing.

Say it once, say it right: Seven strategies to improve your academic writing.

Whether writing a research article or a grant proposal, it can be difficult to pinpoint the sections and areas that need further improvement. It is useful to have a set of tactics on hand to address the work. Patrick Dunleavy outlines seven upgrade strategies for a problematic article or chapter: Do one thing well. Flatten the structure. Say it […]

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    Five Minutes with Trish Greenhalgh: “We need to be clear that research impact isn’t a single dimension.”

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 […]

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    Discovering Open Practices: one-day conference on open research information for PGRs and Early Career Researchers.

Discovering Open Practices: one-day conference on open research information for PGRs and Early Career Researchers.

The FOSTER project is currently looking at sustainable mechanisms to encourage wider adoption of open practices amongst EU researchers. A one day conference this Thursday in London will look to introduce key themes and wider considerations of open access for students and early career researchers. Lucy Ayre writes the aim of the afternoon is to show the practical steps, which complement […]

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