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    In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

In the wake of the REF, LSE launches impact website to demonstrate how research can make a difference.

Love it or loathe it, impact is fast becoming the buzz word in UK academia.  To coincide with the release of the REF2014 results on 18 December 2014, which will demonstrate how well (or otherwise) UK academia is creating impact from its research beyond the academy, LSE is joining the growing number of UK higher education institutions to showcase […]

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    Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Time for REFlection: HEFCE look ahead to provide rounded evaluation of the REF.

Head of Research Policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Steven Hill, presents an overview of the work HEFCE are currently commissioning which they are hoping will build a robust evidence base for research assessment. He argues that attention on the costs, benefits, problems and solutions of the REF are an obvious starting point, but it is also important that the […]

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    Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Collaborative ‘science of science’ needed to ensure research and education make a difference to practice.

Zoë Sheppard, Vanora Hundley, Edwin van Teijlingen and Paul Thompson of Bournemouth University present the challenges of impact in healthcare recently discussed at a symposium held by the Centre of Postgraduate Medical Research and Education at Bournemouth University. Given the imminent results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the summarised findings and issues raised on the implementation of impact point to further collaborations needed on […]

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December 15th, 2014|Government, Impact, REF 2014|0 Comments|
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    Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of  an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard […]

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    Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Changing UK science culture – a publisher perspective on the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Rebecca Lawrence shares her response to the Nuffield Council on Biothetics’ report on the culture of scientific research. The report raised important issues that publishers across the industry are actively working towards. But further collaboration is needed amongst research funders, universities and publishers to tackle the many issues in quality assessment, recognition of negative findings, and adequate peer review. Otherwise we […]

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    Taking pleasure in small numbers: How intimately are social media stats governing us?

Taking pleasure in small numbers: How intimately are social media stats governing us?

Critical academics have long been wary of the way formal quantitative data get used to rank, assess and differentially value universities, departments and people. Do similar concerns apply to social networking statistics? Or, is this data on likes, views and followers quite a different matter? At a time when pressures exist to grow one’s numbers, Davina Cooper asks whether there […]

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Book Review: Psychology in the Bathroom by Nick Haslam

The toilet is a focus of intense emotions, unseemly interests, strange afflictions and earthy humour. Psychology in the Bathroom looks to survey a variety of embarrassing processes, shameful disorders and disgusting habits. Elizabeth Cotton recommends this book to anyone curious about the politics and psychology of ‘dirty protests’ and ‘defensive flatulence’.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books.

Psychology in the Bathroom. Nick Haslam. Palgrave […]

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November 30th, 2014|Book Reviews, Impact|0 Comments|
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    Stand Up and Be Counted: Why social science should stop using the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy

Stand Up and Be Counted: Why social science should stop using the qualitative/quantitative dichotomy

Qualitative and quantitative research methods have long been asserted as distinctly separate, but to what end? Howard Aldrich argues the simple dichotomy fails to account for the breadth of collection and analysis techniques currently in use. But institutional norms and practices keep alive the implicit message that non-statistical approaches are somehow less rigorous than statistical ones.

Over the past year, I’ve met with many doctoral […]

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    ‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

‘Frontier methods’ offer a powerful but accessible approach for measuring efficiency of public sector organisations

How can the efficiency of public sector organisations best be measured? Jesse Stroobants and Geert Bouckaert write that while the efficiency of an organisation is typically measured using performance indicators, there are some notable problems with this approach, such as the tendency for different indicators to produce conflicting conclusions on organisational performance. As an alternative, they outline so called ‘frontier methods’, which use […]

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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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