Efforts to strengthen UK universities will suffer if campaigns ignore their European counterparts

Moves to prove impact have led to a rise in campaign groups in support of public universities and the social sciences across the UK and Europe. Anne Corbett finds a worrying level of insularity in the UK’s organisations and argues that that there is space for a Campaign for European Universities to strengthen the impact of these groups. This post […]

December 13th, 2012|Government, Impact|0 Comments|

A new paradigm of scholarly communications is emerging: A report from the Future of Impact conference

Policymakers and academics agree that the economic or public impact of research can’t be demonstrated through just citations and bibliometrics yet open access publishing, altmetrics and online methods must be further developed before we can rely on them to prove impact. Ernesto Priego reports from last week’s Future of Impact conference. How can alternative digital methods of scholarly assessment maximise […]

December 12th, 2012|Events, Impact|7 Comments|

Research-based policymaking is complicated… or is it?

Having an impact on policymaking with your research may seem like an impenetrable dream when academics start of think of the tangled web of policy interactions that they must navigate. Kirsty Newman explains that the policymaking process is easy… once you know how. If you’ve ever seen a talk by a member of the Research and Policy in Development team […]

Higher education reforms have put teaching and research infrastructure at serious risk

As part of a British Politics and Policy special feature John Holmwood reflects on the broader changes which higher unviersity fees will brought about, arguing that higher education has a enduring public value which is obscured within the contemporary debate but that the public university faces an existential threat.  This article was originally published on British Politics and Policy at LSE. The academic […]

November 18th, 2012|Government, Impact|6 Comments|

The scientist as political tourist: the perils of pairing

Pairing MPs with scientists could be a great start to a working relationship but Alex Smith doubts the scheme’s credibility. He argues that more grounded and sustained engagement with politics is needed for academic to gain a real insight into the policymaking process. BBC Radio Four’s ‘Today’ programme recently featured a scheme run by the Royal Society to promote interaction and […]

I disagree that I disagree! There is room for more than one method of evidence in policymaking

Academics should not get ‘bogged down’ in their perceptions of what methods of research government values. Kirsty Newman explains that when it comes to decision making in government, there is no universal preference for one form of research evidence over another. I have been meaning for some time to write a response to Andries de Toit’s paper Making Sense of […]

Evidence alone is not enough: policymakers must be able to access relevant evidence if their policy is to work

It is not enough to look for evidence of a previous policy success. Jeremy Hardie and Nancy Cartwright argue that exactly what evidence is needed, and of what, is the key question that needs to be asked for making real evidence-based social policy interventions. A great deal of impressive work has been done in evidence-based policymaking to help show what facts are  true– […]

How and when social scientists in Government contribute to policy

Does a PhD allow social scientists in Government to climb the career ladder and make a difference to government policy? Mariell Juhlin, Puay Tang and Jordi Molas Gallart find that social scientists working within government benefit from an ‘expert’ effect as having an academic background enhances credibility when dealing with policy colleagues. The good news for anyone with a PhD or studying for a PhD […]

If impact is essential to REF, how can we find a common definition across research fields?

‘Impact’ can mean different things to different people yet all researchers are being faced with proving evidence of their own impact. Teresa Penfield introduces the DESCRIBE project; an attempt to find a definition common to academics, international experts and professionals. How do we define research impact?  What indicators and evidence can be used to demonstrate impact? The DESCRIBE project has […]

August 17th, 2012|Government, Impact|0 Comments|

UK Government goes for broke on open access

Government has made a good start on opening up a route to open access but it will be left to researchers to push for the establishment of publication funds at universities and to shape the way these are run. Stephen Curry asks academics to get ready to agitate for open access. This article originally appeared on Stephen Curry’s personal blog, […]

Peer review is vital but its closed nature belongs to a bygone age. It’s time to open up

Biases, deliberate delay, repeated rejection – peer review has its problems but it is a crucial part of research dissemination, writes Rebecca Lawrence, who explains that open publication of all good science followed by open peer review is the key to future publishing. Discontent with the traditional peer review system and the problems it brings has been building for many […]

Invest in brains, not buildings, to raise scientific output and impact

Which is more valuable to the creation of scientific knowledge, high quality scientists or first-class facilities? Fabian Waldinger looks at the dramatic effects of the Nazi expulsion of Jewish scientists and the Allied bombing of university buildings and discovers that brains had more impact than buildings. At the moment, many countries such as Brazil, South Korea, and especially China, are […]

July 27th, 2012|Government, Impact|1 Comment|

It’s time for government to use relevant research to dictate the policies of the future

The lack of research that informs major policy decisions can be astounding, writes Juliet Davenport. Academia has been criticised for not generating research that is relevant to the public but the issue of climate change is the perfect chance for this to change. My experience, working with a small electricity supplier in the UK energy market, is that it is […]

What about the authors who can’t pay? Why the government’s embrace of gold open access isn’t something to celebrate

Dismayed by news that the Government has embraced the Finch Report findings, Mark Carrigan asks what will happen to authors and early careers researchers who have not yet secured a steady stream of funding and cannot pay the upfront fees required of gold open access.  Sometimes I worry that Twitter is an echo chamber, reflecting my own prejudices back at […]

We expect to get information in two clicks, why can’t we get data as quickly?

Is the elusive nature of data just part of the normal challenges of research life? Or, should we look forward to a time when relevant data is easily accessible to the laziest internet browser? Peter John asks if data searching could be easier than finding that needle in the haystack. In part I of this blog, I reported some of the […]

What drives change in the UK policy agenda? Systemic data collection has the answer

In the first of a two-part series, Peter John explains how a systemic approach to data collection has enabled an exploration of the UK’s policy agenda and how it has changed over time. With the help of many others, I have spent the last seven years collecting data on what policies key decision-makers in Britain have been concentrating on for […]

The Finch Report on open access: it’s complicated

While some scholars may be disappointed with a smaller step towards open access publishing than they hoped for, Stephen Curry finds that the Finch Report pushes just hard enough at a door that is opening to open access. This post was originally published on Stephen Curry’s blog, Reciprocal Space. A committee set up by government was never going to foment […]

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