Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.

Credit: Eszter Hargittai (CC BY_NC_SA)

This week, there was much discussion around Nicholas Kristof’s plea in the New York Times, Professors, We Need You and his mid-week addendum, Bridging the Moat Around Universities. Here is a comprehensive Roundup of Responses to Kristof’s Call for Professors in the Public Sphere at Just Publics@ 365 by Jessie Daniels, which helpfully categorises the many reflections, criticisms and witty rejoinders. Also worth a mention is Diane Coyle’s response piece Economists and our responsibilities to society, which notably focuses on the research from the Impact of Social Sciences project:

Of course I agree with the general point that academics – especially social scientists! – have to engage with society. Not just engage with as in discuss one’s research in intelligible language, but understand how academic research and teaching interact with society, influence it and are influenced by it…Using the data set on academics’ channels of influence built for the research, the [Impact of Social Sciences book] assesses the character of the ‘outputs’ of the academics (which varies quite a lot between disciplines) and looks at two arguments about academics’ impact. One is that there are ‘popularisers’ who can communicate but do little valuable research, and academics of course tend to sneer at this group. Another is that there are superstars who do the best research and are brilliant communicators. The truth is in between – most of the group are middling at both research output and public communication. [read more]

Data visualisation throughout the ages by Angus Montgomery at Design Week highlights the fascinating exhibit at the British Library running from 20 February-26 May. Beautiful Science: Picturing Data, Inspiring Insight.

Roger Federer Grand Slam History. Credit: Sacks08 (CC BY)


A model OA journal publication agreement by Stuart Shieber at The Occasional Pamphlet provides a template for budding open access publishers outlining the language for authors to grant use of the Creative Commons license for their research articles.

Writing informative abstracts for journal articles: Be substantive and communicate your key findings by Patrick Dunleavy at the Writing For Research blog.

Neglecting abstracts has very real costs, however. Typically you have between two and five years for your article to attract the attention of other researchers and to get cited. After that it’s basically burnt toast. And of course, the wheels of academia often turn slow, so that your window of opportunity is eroded at the start too, especially in the humanities and ‘soft’ social sciences. [read more]

Credit: Austin Kleon (CC BY-NC-ND)

Analysing analytics: what does big data mean for HR? by Tom Calvard at HRZone.

What is important is that what we can find out and achieve with the help of lots of data doesn’t become something mythical but stays firmly rooted in philosophy of science and knowledge considerations. A lot depends on views and interpretations of truth and evidence – which can seem dry at times, yet become central in relation to large amounts of complex data. Knowledge management has been vaguely alive within HR for decades; thinking about how to turn raw data into organised information and then finally into actionable knowledge. [read more]

Can Scholarship be Free to Read? Cultural Anthropology Goes Open Access – Bascom Guffin and Jonah S Rubin interview four leading voices pushing for open access in anthropology in the latest podcast of AnthroPod.

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