Gender bias in peer review – opening up the black box

Gender bias in peer review has been much discussed in the wider research community. However, there have been few attempts to analyse the issue within the social sciences. To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), this post by Alex Holmes and Sally Hardy highlights research undertaken by the Regional Studies Association to investigate the effect of gender on peer review […]

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    Self-plagiarism: When is re-purposing text ethically justifiable?

Self-plagiarism: When is re-purposing text ethically justifiable?

Self-plagiarism, or publishing substantially similar work twice, is frowned upon in academia as a way of gaining an unfair advantage in a competitive ‘publish or perish’ environment. However, the increasingly open and digital nature of academic publishing means that replication is now easier than ever before. In this post, Mark Israel explores the ethics of self-plagiarism and asks, when is it […]

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    “Greetings from Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing” – Should we call time on international academic travel?

“Greetings from Berlin, Tokyo, Beijing” – Should we call time on international academic travel?

Citing the ecological damage caused by the frequent international flights made by academics, Jürgen Gerhards asks: do academics really need to travel so much? He then presents four simple changes that could be made to reduce the environmental impact of international academic travel.

 Students and lecturers alike are worried about global warming and related climate change. With a clear ecological […]

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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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    Book Review: Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch

Book Review: Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education edited by Marc Spooner and James McNinch

In Dissident Knowledge in Higher Education, editors Marc Spooner and James McNinch bring together contributors including Noam Chomsky, Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Eve Tuck to offer critical perspectives on the impact of neoliberalism and new managerialism on universities. Grounded in rigorous research, this is a worthy read for scholars, policymakers and education practitioners, writes Khalaf Mohamed Abdellatif.
This post originally appeared on LSE Review of Books. […]

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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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Building reliable teams, a cure for research pathologies?

You-Na Lee and John P. Walsh argue that the solution to rising incidences of unreliable findings and research pathologies does not necessarily lie with preventing individual malpractice, but rather with promoting structural research integrity and developing better research teams and organizations.

There is increasing concern amongst the scientific community, policymakers and the general public about the unreliability of science. This […]

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    The growing, high-stakes audit culture within the academy has brought about a different kind of publishing crisis

The growing, high-stakes audit culture within the academy has brought about a different kind of publishing crisis

The spate of high-profile cases of fraudulent publications has revealed a widening replication, or outright deception, crisis in the social sciences. To Marc Spooner, researchers “cooking up” findings and the deliberate faking of science is a result of extreme pressures to publish, brought about by an increasingly pervasive audit culture within the academy.

By now most readers will have heard […]

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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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    Book Review: Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age by Matthew J. Salganik

Book Review: Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age by Matthew J. Salganik

In Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, Matthew J. Salganik explores the process of undertaking social research in the digital era, examining a wide range of concepts while also offering teaching activities and materials. In bringing together the expertise of social and data scientists to the benefit of both, this is a comprehensive overview of new approaches to social […]

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    An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

Just as some journals support open science by adding badges to those research papers for which the authors have shared the data, Adrian Barnett suggests journals might similarly recognise those authors who uphold research integrity by publishing their results despite attempts at suppression or sanitisation. To do so would require evidence of the attempted suppression but ultimately draw attention […]

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    How people feel about what companies do with their data is just as important as what they know about it

How people feel about what companies do with their data is just as important as what they know about it

The recent revelation that Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire the Facebook data of 50 million people has led to a surge of interest and questions around what companies do with people’s data. Amidst all of this, little attention has been paid to the feelings of those whose data are used, shared, and acted upon. According to Helen Kennedy, […]

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    False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

A recent study has revealed widespread unethical behaviour in academic research. Allen Wilhite focuses on two activities in particular; the addition to funding proposals of investigators not expected to contribute to the research, and editors who coerce authors to add citations to manuscripts even though those citations were not part of the scholars’ reference material. Research institutions, funders, rankings bodies, and […]

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    Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

The difficulty of reaching practitioners and experts is one of the main challenges faced by early-career researchers in particular, and one that can overshadow fieldwork experiences and attempts to produce new knowledge. While researchers might feel that they are being ignored or treated as a nuisance by experts, the latter often have a different view of researchers’ attempt to […]

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    Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

The appeal of collaborating with a government agency, or an organisation funded by one, seems obvious. It provides researchers with much needed resources and information, while also offering practitioners and policymakers a way of generating the evidence needed to design better programmes. In practice, however, it’s not always easy to make collaborative research work well. Susan Dodsworth and Nic […]

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    Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, editors Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean offer a collection that seeks to open up the possibilities for ethnographic research by approaching writing as a “material adventure”. As the volume grapples with longstanding questions regarding the ethical challenges of capturing one’s subjects in language, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani nonetheless finds this a moving reminder of the power of words to enable entry […]

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    Book Review: Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide (2nd Ed.) by Helen Kara

Book Review: Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide (2nd Ed.) by Helen Kara

In this new second edition of Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide, Helen Kara offers a book for students, researchers and practitioners looking to manage their time effectively and maintain a good work-life balance whilst undertaking methodologically and ethically robust social research and evaluation projects. This is a well-written and clear guide that will trigger self-reflection and boost […]

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    Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

The present system of labelling changes made to published articles is confusing, inconsistently applied, and out of step with digital publishing. It carries negative connotations for authors, editors, and publishers. Is there a way to efficiently and neutrally flag a change to a published article in a way that says what happened that is separated from why it happened? […]

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    With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

Crowdsourcing offers researchers ready access to large numbers of participants, while enabling the processing of huge, unique datasets. However, the power of crowdsourcing raises several issues, including whether or not what initially emerged as a business practice can be transformed into a sound research method. Isabell Stamm and Lina Eklund argue that the complexities of managing large numbers of […]

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