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    Counting is not enough – How plain language statements could improve research assessment

Counting is not enough – How plain language statements could improve research assessment

Academic hiring and promotion committees and funding bodies often use publication lists as a shortcut to assessing the quality of applications. In this repost, Janet Hering argues that in order to avoid bias towards prestigious titles, plain language statements should become a standard feature of academic assessment.

Let’s start with the obvious. Evaluation and assessment are part and parcel of the […]

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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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    Research Translation for Health Impact, The state of the art

Research Translation for Health Impact, The state of the art

Alex Rushforth and Adam Kamenetzky report on the international symposium, ‘In the Trenches: Research Translation for Health Impact’, outlining how the concept of research impact has developed in health research, they highlight three key areas of interest; complexity, community and continuity and suggest that to advance, health impact research needs to adopt a more reflexive critical approach to value.

Impact […]

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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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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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    Six important things about impact you need to know from the REF2021 guidance

Six important things about impact you need to know from the REF2021 guidance

Mark Reed presents 6 key points from the REF2021 guidelines and outlines how they change the current working understanding of impact in the UK.

 

 

The final guidance for REF2021 was released this week. Most of the guidance on impact is consistent with what I expected from the consultation. For the full guidance on the submission of impact case studies to […]

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    2018 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

2018 in review: round-up of our top posts on research evaluation and impact

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?
Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the […]

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The A to Z of writing an impact case study

With submission to REF 2021 now less than two years away, university staff and academics are stepping up work to present their best examples of research impact in the form of compelling impact case studies. In thinking about how to approach writing these documents, Sally Brown has compiled this useful A to Z; from understanding your impact aim, all […]

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    The evaluative inquiry: a new approach to research evaluation

The evaluative inquiry: a new approach to research evaluation

Contemporary research evaluation systems are often criticised for negative effects they can have on academic environments and even on knowledge production itself. Established in response to many of these criticisms, the evaluative inquiry is a new, less standardised approach to research assessment. Tjitske Holtrop outlines the four principles that give shape to the evaluative inquiry’s method: employing versatile methods; […]

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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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    Towards more consistent, transparent, and multi-purpose national bibliographic databases for research output

Towards more consistent, transparent, and multi-purpose national bibliographic databases for research output

National bibliographic databases for research output collect metadata on universities’ scholarly publications, such as journal articles, monographs, and conference papers. As this sort of research information is increasingly used in assessments, funding allocation, and other academic reward structures, the value in developing comprehensive and reliable national databases becomes more and more clear. Linda Sīle, Raf Guns and Tim Engels […]

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    Could it all be much ado about nothing? A tragicomic perspective on research impact

Could it all be much ado about nothing? A tragicomic perspective on research impact

The contemporary drive to understand exactly how academic research has had an impact on society represents a major undertaking, with significant resources being expended. However, researchers acknowledge there may be occasions where no amount of time, effort, or funds will identify the impact arising from certain research. Given the considerable effort that has been dedicated to research assessment processes, […]

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    Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder

Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder

Assessing research impact is complex and challenging, but essential for understanding the link between research funding investments and outcomes both within and beyond academia. Julia Langton provides an overview of how a Canadian health research funder approaches impact assessment; urging caution in the use of quantitative data, highlighting the importance of organisation-wide capacity-building, and outlining the value of a […]

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    Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

The “gold standard” of impactful international development research involves equitable north-south partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and co-production with non-academic actors, ideally including local communities. Such participatory and collaborative approaches are intended to have longer-term benefits, strengthening capacity for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Admirable though this may sound, it’s easy to see how it might appear overwhelming to researchers expected […]

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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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    Better, fairer, more meaningful research evaluation – in seven hashtags

Better, fairer, more meaningful research evaluation – in seven hashtags

Considering the future of research assessment, Elizabeth Gadd outlines how she believes research evaluation could be made better, fairer, and more meaningful. The resulting seven guiding principles, neatly framed as hashtags, range from understanding our responsibilities to researchers as people, through to ensuring our evaluations are a more formative process, offering valuable, constructive feedback.

Imperial College recently held an event […]

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    Developing a “responsible assessment” system to improve research impact: a case study from Catalonia

Developing a “responsible assessment” system to improve research impact: a case study from Catalonia

Many lessons can be drawn from the burgeoning discourse on research impact assessment. Paula Adam, Maite Solans-Domènech, Núria Radó-Trilla, Toni Dedeu and Albert Barberà explain how they have applied these to the design of a health research assessment system in Catalonia, one that helps to embed impact from the early stages of a research programme. Emphasising the importance of […]

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    Using citation metrics as part of academic recruitment decisions leads to an increase in self-citations

Using citation metrics as part of academic recruitment decisions leads to an increase in self-citations

The use of citation metrics in academic hiring and promotion decisions was intended as a response to important and legitimate concerns over the meritocracy of recruitment procedures. However, evidence suggests that doing so distorts scientists’ behaviour and increases the risk that these measures become unreliable. Marco Seeber, Mattia Cattaneo, Michele Meoli and Paolo Malighetti investigated the use of citation […]

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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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