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    University rankings wield immense influence over Higher Ed and society at large – with positive and perverse effects.

University rankings wield immense influence over Higher Ed and society at large – with positive and perverse effects.

In a time of growing demand for and on higher education, university rankings have transformed university strategy. Ellen Hazelkorn finds their crude simplicity is what makes rankings so infectious. Yet, quality is a complex concept. Most of the indicators used are effectively measures of socio-economic advantage, and privilege the most resource-intensive institutions and-or countries. In response and reaction to the limited […]

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    Research assessment, altmetrics and tools for determining impact: Reading list for #HEFCEmetrics review launch.

Research assessment, altmetrics and tools for determining impact: Reading list for #HEFCEmetrics review launch.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, has announced that HEFCE are arranging an independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment and management. The Impact blog welcomes this review and will look to encourage wider discussion and debate on how research is currently assessed and how it could be in years to come. Over the last […]

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    From STEM to STEAM: The potential for arts to facilitate innovation, literacy and participatory democracy.

From STEM to STEAM: The potential for arts to facilitate innovation, literacy and participatory democracy.

The value of the arts goes far beyond its monetary returns. Malaika Cunningham outlines how the arts play a huge role in boosting proficiency within STEM subjects. Creative thinking is needed for truly excellent scientists, engineers and mathematicians, and how better to foster this than a rounded education, which includes arts subjects? Arts education fosters a literate and innovative workforce and strengthens the […]

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The case for greater transparency in experimental and social science research

Proving public value can be an especially difficult task when high-profile cases of fraud in social science disciplines emerge. Rose McDermott makes the case for greater transparency in both the production and review of social science to restore the legitimacy of the scientific endeavour. While no one practice can eliminate fraud, greater transparency can make it both more difficult to […]

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The academic career path has been thoroughly destabilised by the precarious practices of the neoliberal university.

It is an increasingly difficult time to begin an academic career. The pressures of the REF, casualization and adjunctification of teaching and the disappearance of research funding are enormous obstacles academics face. Sydney Calkin looks at how academics have in many ways become model neoliberal subjects. How might we effectively challenge the growing acceptance of the unpaid, underpaid, zero hours work within […]

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Exploratory analysis of researcher behaviour challenges the assumption that STEM subjects are more societally useful than SSH.

Using a database with information on over 1,500 researchers, statistical analysis was recently undertaken to test the hypothesis that technical STEM subjects were more societally useful than social science and humanities (SSH) subjects. Paul Benneworth describes the research process and the findings which suggest SSH research is just as useful as STEM research. A less stereotypical understanding of impact is […]

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As the European Commission paves the way for open access, a consistent policy environment is needed across the EU.

The European Commission has extended and solidified its open access policy for the upcoming Horizon 2020 research funding programme. Alma Swan welcomes the clear signal from Brussels which has issued a Recommendation for Member States to follow its lead. But the policy picture across the Union is patchy and there is a need for a simple, consistent set of requirements to […]

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Book Review: Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research

Traditional textbooks on research methods tend to ignore, or gloss over, how research questions are constructed. In this text, Mats Alvesson & Jorgen Sandberg seek to challenge researchers to look past the easy or obvious choices and create more interesting and rewarding questions. Joanna Lenihan feels that this is potentially a valuable and practical tool for researchers and could be integrated into […]

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Don’t just complain, take the lead! Social Sciences and Humanities must look to integrate into Horizon 2020 targets.

It is a crucial point in time for the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) to demonstrate their value and relevance. Nothing would be more fatal than to fall back to the “complaining mode”, argues Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council. Rather, SSH must accept the fact that integration into policy research programmes is necessary and beneficial. Furthermore, disciplines themselves […]

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October 10th, 2013|Research funding|3 Comments|

Put your money where your citations are: a proposal for a new funding system

What would happen if researchers were given more control over their own funding and the funding of others? Hadas Shema looks at the results from an article that makes the case for a collective approach to the allocation of science funding. By funding people directly rather than projects, money and time would be saved and researchers would be given more […]

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A good humanities degree has real value and opens the door to a wide range of career prospects.

Looking at Oxford University alumni data from 1960 – 1989, a new report seeks to demonstrate the value of humanities disciplines by examining the impact of graduates on the UK economy. The significant increase of graduates who went into growth sectors of the economy during this time provides an empirical base for real value. As this study was always intended to be a […]

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We need more mainstream social science, not less.

A recent New York Times op-ed has provoked a great deal of debate over the relevance and reinvigoration of the social sciences. Alex Golub welcomes some of the criticism levied at the social sciences as a whole but finds the lack of evidence supporting many of the sweeping claims on why social science is stagnating to be unreconcilable given massive […]

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Is scientific misconduct increasing? Retraction rates may present more questions than answers.

Drawing on the research from his recent study into rising retraction rates R. Grant Steen argues retractions alone may be a poor surrogate measure of scientific misconduct. Science cultures are shifting to become more aware of certain “crimes” and publishing cultures may also be more willing to take immediate action. Nevertheless, there is reason to suspect that misconduct may really be increasing […]

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Monographs and book chapters must become a larger part of the open access landscape

The Wellcome Trust’s open access policy, which requires funded research publications be made openly available, now extends to scholarly monographs and book chapters and additional funds will be provided to cover publishers’ OA monograph processing charges. Cecy Marden provides further background on the Trust’s decision-making process and explains why the additional costs (0.1% of their total research spend) are worth the […]

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Attacks on US federal funding of the social sciences date back to the 1940s and will continue to intensify

In the wake of the restrictions placed on US political science funding, Jeanne Zaino examines the extent to which social scientists should be concerned on future eligibility of funding. More recent events in Congress suggest the attacks on funding will not only continue but will intensify. It is also worth remembering that these attacks are just the latest in a long standing […]

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The greater market integration of the European Higher Education Area may have unequal benefits across countries and disciplines.

Since the late 1990s, European higher education has moved towards greater integration, increasing student mobility and more comparable national systems. The past two decades have also seen a gradual rise in the role of market elements in higher education. Pedro Teixeira finds that this greater integration may be leading to a greater concentration of funding across certain countries and academic disciplines. He […]

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Book Review: The Great University Gamble: Money, Markets and the Future of Higher Education

In The Great University Gamble, Andrew McGettigan surveys the emerging brave new world of higher education, asking what the role of universities within society might become, how they might be funded, and what kind of experiences will be on offer for students. Written in a clear and accessible style, this book outlines the architecture of the new policy regime and tracks the […]

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