A recent study sent data requests to 200 authors of economics articles where it was stated ‘data available upon request’. Most of the authors refused. What does the scientific community think about those withholding their data? Are they guilty of scientific misconduct? Nicole Janz argues that if you don’t share your data, you are breaking professional standards in research, and are […]
Academic freedom and authority are fundamentally about responsibilities and public scholars must navigate with care.
The boundaries between scholarly speech and wider public speech are blurry, as separate discussions about Tim Hunt and ethnographer Alice Goffman have both proved. Academic authority and academic freedom are not easy bedfellows. Cameron Neylon argues that much of the entanglement is due to an incomplete understanding of responsibility. Academic freedom is not the right to speak one’s mind. […]
Should policymakers follow the lead of Facebook and Google and use field experiments to implement better services?
In this article, Robert Metcalfe argues that field experiments can be instrumental in helping policymakers understand how to improve the welfare of their citizens. Field experiments represent a relatively new methodological approach capable of measuring the causal links between variables, thereby allowing policymakers to understand the behavioural responses of their citizens to changes in policies.
Do neighbourhoods matter to outcomes? Which classroom […]
Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.
Peer review is flawed. Look no further than the storm of attention over sexist reviewer comments. A new index proposes a simple way to create transparency and quality control mechanisms. Shane Gero and Maurício Cantor believe that giving citable recognition to reviewers can improve the system by encouraging more participation but also higher quality, constructive input, without the need for a […]
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, […]
A clear distinction is needed between replication tests and the evaluation of robustness in social science literature
Confusion over the meaning of replication is harming social science, argues Michael Clemens. There has been a profound evolution in methods and concepts, particularly with the rise of empirical social science, but our terminology has not yet caught up. The meaning of replication must be standardized so that researchers can easily distinguish between replication efforts and the evaluation of robustness.
In Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable […]
We are living through a frontier moment of online publishing. The dynamics of open access are new, and the internet opens up the possibility of an ongoing process of revision that is new to publishers, writers, and readers in the academy. Jo Guldi reflects on the experience of releasing The History Manifesto and the subsequent criticism of the lack of a […]
A few weeks ago allegations surfaced over undisclosed ties between Dr Willie Soon, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and corporate interests from the energy industry. Dr Soon is now under investigation, and a Democratic member of Congress has used it as an opportunity to suggest climate change academics who have been invited by Republicans to give evidence at Congressional […]
Open peer review and its discontents: Criticism is an integral part of science – essential for progress and cohesion.
Discussing specific shortcomings of scientific research is no longer confined to scientific publications and discreet letters, but can be found online in blogs and across social media. This has opened up fruitful discussion, encouraging a more public form of peer review. But not all scientists are happy with public criticism. Sabine Hossenfelder argues that while not all scientific discourse should be conducted in […]
In the final interview in our Philosophy of Data Science series, Emma Uprichard, in conversation with Mark Carrigan, emphasises that big data has serious repercussions to the kinds of social futures we are shaping and those that are supporting big data developments need to be held accountable. This means we should also take stock of the methodological harm present in many big […]
Tara Thomson shares her experience attending a participant-driven ‘unconference’ for digital humanities students and scholars. The event format aims to be democratic, aligned with how the Digital Humanities has aimed to build itself on devolved authority. But disciplinary knowledge is not always equally shared. The discussions highlighted problems of access and exclusion as primary concerns for the field. Some felt excluded from the Digital Humanities as […]
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 […]
This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change.
This piece originally appeared on LSE […]
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, […]
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 […]
Under the rouse of rigour and seriousness, professional norms in academia often preclude kindness. Jason Laker looks at the issue systemically in an effort to uncover why being kind and supportive to each other should be seen as surprising. He wonders how much of this contemptuous rhetoric is authentic, or rather, a performance used to socialize academics as a […]