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    Is withholding your data simply bad science, or should it fall under scientific misconduct?

Is withholding your data simply bad science, or should it fall under scientific misconduct?

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 […]

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    First among equals? Recommendations and guidelines for deciding who gets authorship credit.

First among equals? Recommendations and guidelines for deciding who gets authorship credit.

Across all disciplines, the course of determining authorship does not always run smoothly. Emma-Louise Aveling and Graham Martin argue that with funders pushing for wider collaboration, dilemmas about how to allocate authorship fairly is set to intensify. They present guidelines for research teams to consider. To ensure all decisions remain transparent, start discussions on authorship credit early on in the research process.

If there’s […]

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    ‘Picturing the Social’: Questions of method, ethics and transparency in the analysis of social media photography.

‘Picturing the Social’: Questions of method, ethics and transparency in the analysis of social media photography.

Anne Burns has been researching current norms of social media sharing, particularly in relation to photo sharing practices, and reflects here on the implications this research might have for social media research in years to come. Whilst there are many opportunities for researchers, more reflection is needed on the potential for harm that can be caused by the unauthorized reproduction […]

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    Should policymakers follow the lead of Facebook and Google and use field experiments to implement better services?

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 […]

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    Passing Review: how the R-index aims to improve the peer-review system by quantifying reviewer contributions.

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 […]

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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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    A clear distinction is needed between replication tests and the evaluation of robustness in social science literature

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 […]

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The importance of informed consent in social media research

Informed consent is important in large-scale social media research to protect the privacy, autonomy, and control of social media users. Ilka Gleibs argues for an approach to consent that fosters contextual integrity where adequate protection for privacy is tied to specific contexts. Rather than prescribing universal rules for what is public (a Facebook page, or Twitter feed) and what is private, contextual […]

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    Academic freedom under threat as US Congress targets climate change scholars.

Academic freedom under threat as US Congress targets climate change scholars.

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 […]

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Identity in the Digital Age: Podcast and Reading List

Literary Festival 2015: Digital Personhood and Identity
Panellists Luke Dormehl (@lukedormehl), Andrew Murray (@AndrewDMurray), Aleks Krotoski (@aleksk), and Sonia Livingstone (@Livingstone_S) presented a mixture of research and reflection for the Digital Personhood and Identity event at the LSE Literary Festival. Speakers explored what affect our digital landscape and our digital lives have on the foundations of our identity. The Impact blog’s Sierra Williams chaired the […]

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    Emma Uprichard: Most big data is social data – the analytics need serious interrogation

Emma Uprichard: Most big data is social data – the analytics need serious interrogation

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 […]

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    What is the difference between ‘doing Digital Humanities’ and using digital tools for research?

What is the difference between ‘doing Digital Humanities’ and using digital tools for research?

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 […]

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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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    Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

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 […]

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