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    The Unstoppable Rise of Sci-Hub: How does a new generation of researchers perceive Sci-Hub?

The Unstoppable Rise of Sci-Hub: How does a new generation of researchers perceive Sci-Hub?

How do early career researchers (ECRs) use Sci-Hub and why? In this post David Nicholas assesses early career researcher attitudes towards the journal pirating site, finding a strong preference for Sci-Hub amongst French ECRs. He raises the question, will Sci-Hub prove the ultimate disruptor and bring down the existing status quo in scholarly communications?

When we started the Harbingers Project […]

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    Invisible impact and insecure academics: structural barriers to engagement and why we should do it anyway

Invisible impact and insecure academics: structural barriers to engagement and why we should do it anyway

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a form of research that involves prolonged and deep engagement with local communities and can produce profound social impacts. In this post, Dr Katrina Raynor describes how current approaches to impact assessment and the structure of the academic labour market impede researchers from engaging with PAR and raise particular challenges for insecurely employed early […]

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    Book Review: Taking Control of Writing Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End by Kay Guccione and Jerry Wellington

Book Review: Taking Control of Writing Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End by Kay Guccione and Jerry Wellington

In Taking Control of Writing Your Thesis: A Guide to Get You to the End, Kay Guccione and Jerry Wellington provide doctoral students nearing the end of their dissertations with a practical guide to taking charge of their thesis. Abha Rai strongly recommends the easy-to-read, conversational style of the book and its approach to real-world challenges to all doctoral students looking for writing support. 
This […]

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REF2021: Adding Insult to Injury?

In this repost, Dr Liz Morrish responds to the recent guidelines issued for REF 2021. Highlighting potential unintended consequences and bad incentives, she argues that the ability of higher education institutions to enter staff into the REF who have been made redundant or removed from their positions, may lead to fewer opportunities and greater exploitation of already precariously employed academics.

57 days […]

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    2018 in review: round-up of our top posts for PhDs, postdocs and early-career researchers

2018 in review: round-up of our top posts for PhDs, postdocs and early-career researchers

Transdisciplinary PhD programmes produce more high-impact publications and foster increased collaborations
Traditional doctoral programmes require students to gain in-depth knowledge in one subject area. Transdisciplinary programmes aim to foster synthesis across disciplines and focus on translating research findings into real-world solutions, helping students to develop a professional disciplinary identity that is enhanced by multidisciplinary methods and theories. Anna-Sigrid Keck, Stephanie Sloane, Janet M. […]

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    Postdocs trying to transition to non-academic careers should be offered more support by their supervisors and universities

Postdocs trying to transition to non-academic careers should be offered more support by their supervisors and universities

Despite the position being billed as a stepping stone on the way to tenure-track academic employment, many postdocs, discouraged by their poor prospects, are questioning their career choices and instead looking to non-academic jobs as an alternative. However, as Chris Hayter and Marla A. Parker reveal, making this transition is not as easy as it might first appear.

Why are […]

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Let’s focus on the research process, not the outputs

The outsized importance of publications has meant too many research students focus on featuring papers in prestigous journals, despite having success in doing so feeling like something of a lottery. To Mattias Björnmalm, a strong focus on the research output instead of the research process is detrimental to research itself. Research is about increasing our understanding of the world […]

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    Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Early-career researchers are subject to higher levels of scrutiny than ever before, with publication in academic journals essential to how they are funded and evaluated, and how their careers will be built. Margaret K. Merga, Shannon Mason and Julia E. Morris share insights from their own experiences of navigating the journal submission and publication process as ECRs, emphasising the […]

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    How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

Research funders impose length limits on applications for practical reasons: to discourage epic submissions, and to ease the burden on reviewers. It’s also true that concise ideas are generally stronger ideas. But sticking to these limits can often seem a difficult and frustrating task. Jonathan O’Donnell offers advice to researchers looking to find a little more space in their […]

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    Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success. Chris Smith reports on research investigating the tools and systems academics from all career stages use to keep writing and publishing. Age, experience, and having a sense of certainty about what sort of writing system suits you and your life are all important to productivity and overall […]

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    Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Most PhD students think of their doctorate as a lone undertaking. This may be why a high proportion leave graduate school without finishing, and has also been identified as a contributing factor to the mental health problems experienced by many PhD students. Julian Kirchherr argues that tackling the PhD as a team project would be more beneficial. The team […]

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    How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

PhD graduates make valuable contributions to society and its organisations. But what of the value of the doctorate to the graduates themselves? Kay Guccione and Billy Bryan questioned how graduates, as individuals, experience benefit from their doctorate and how they perceive its value. Findings reveal that graduates do consider their doctorate to have been worth it – in ways […]

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    It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

In debates on the validity of academic research findings, focus has been drawn to so-called questionable research practices, commonly understood to encompass a laundry list of behaviours that can increase the likelihood of statistically significant (and so more publishable) results. Anand Krishna and Sebastian M. Peter report on research examining attitudes to questionable research practices among students who have […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

Internal vs. external promotion, part two: seven advantages of internal promotion, plus some general tips for both

In the second and final part of a series considering the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out why seeking advancement internally might be a more attractive option, again highlighting seven specific reasons. The series concludes with some more general tips for promotion applications, including how to harness your experience submitting to academic journals.

The […]

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    Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Internal vs. external promotion, part one: seven reasons why external promotion is easier

Climbing the academic career ladder can be a slow, frustrating, and opaque process. Some academics may be unsure whether to seek promotion within their own institutions or to look to another university for advancement opportunities. In the first of a two-part series, Anne-Wil Harzing sets out the relative merits of pursuing internal or external promotions. This first instalment outlines […]

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    Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Scientific research has changed, now being largely conducted in collaborative teams. However, undergraduate student training has not necessarily kept pace with these changes. In order to work effectively in collaborative settings, students need to develop not only the technical skills related to their discipline, but also communication and interpersonal skills needed to work in teams. Nora J. Casson reports […]

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    Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

In How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching, Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa aim to support fellow academic workers at all career stages to become more efficient, successful and happier through focusing on fostering good habits over and above talent or skills. Eddy Li welcomes this insider perspective on seeing, doing and – most importantly […]

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    Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Bright spots at the interface of science, policy and practice: the case (and need) for optimism

Achieving tangible impacts on policy and practice is not easy. But it’s made even harder by starting with a pessimistic outlook. Much of the academic discourse around the interface of science, policy, and practice has become dominated by negative language such as the science-policy “gap”, or “challenges” and “barriers” that must be overcome. Chris Cvitanovic makes the case for […]

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    Despite becoming increasingly institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

Despite becoming increasingly institutionalised, there remains a lack of discourse about research metrics among much of academia

The active use of metrics in everyday research activities suggests academics have accepted them as standards of evaluation, that they are “thinking with indicators”. Yet when asked, many academics profess concern about the limitations of evaluative metrics and the extent of their use. Why is there such a discrepancy between principle and practices pertaining to metrics? Lai Ma suggests […]

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