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    Is our current research culture on the brink of major change?

Is our current research culture on the brink of major change?

The culture of research often appears timeless and self-evident. Despite the current system of research being critiqued for its lack of openness, diversity and at times quality, it has remained largely unchanged for at least a generation. In this post, Liz Allen, highlights how contrary to this view, a growing number of developments are currently taking place across different […]

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    Is who you know as important as what you know? Mapping the invisible colleges supporting academic prestige

Is who you know as important as what you know? Mapping the invisible colleges supporting academic prestige

A core principle of modern research culture according to the sociologist Robert Merton was ‘universalism’, the idea that the validity of ideas was independent of the status of the person making them. However, as a number of recent studies have shown in practice academia can also be exclusionary. In this post, Margath Walker shows how academic networks – invisible […]

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    What’s in a name? How false author affiliations are damaging academic research

What’s in a name? How false author affiliations are damaging academic research

When reading a research paper, can you be certain that the institution the author claims to be affiliated with is actually the institution that was responsible for supporting the research? In this post Vivienne C. Bachelet presents findings from a recent study suggesting that a significant proportion of author affiliations are unverifiable. Highlighting how a lack of editorial guidance […]

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    Lessons from the past – Why our current understanding of UK research policy is wrong

Lessons from the past – Why our current understanding of UK research policy is wrong

As a result of Brexit, research policy in the UK is being asked to perform an increasingly large array of functions and will likely undergo significant changes. In this post David Edgerton draws on the findings of a recent British Academy report on the history of UK research policy to highlight how research policy in the UK is frequently […]

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    Giving Credit: Gender and the hidden labour behind academic prestige

Giving Credit: Gender and the hidden labour behind academic prestige

In recent months, a number of high profile cases have focused attention on how credit is attributed to the creation of academic research and in particular the way in which the role of women is often diminished or effaced as part of this process. In this post Donica Belisle and Kiera Mitchell highlight the historical precedent of Mary […]

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Open Syllabus Explorer: evidencing research-based teaching?

Research impact is often equated with the way in which research articles are cited and used by other researchers and non-academics. An often less appreciated aspect of research impact is the impact that the ideas contained within research papers and books have when used to teach students. In this re-post Anne-Wil Harzing presents the The Open Syllabus Explorer, an online tool […]

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    India’s retrospective review of PhD research quality is set to significantly change research practices

India’s retrospective review of PhD research quality is set to significantly change research practices

India’s University Grants Commission recently invited proposals to retrospectively assess the quality of PhD theses awarded by the country’s universities over the past 10 years. In this post Santosh C. Hulagabali, outlines the potential impacts of this review on Indian universities and scholars and highlights the role of this review in signaling the quality of Indian research.   

In the […]

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    A call for funders to ban institutions that use grant capture targets

A call for funders to ban institutions that use grant capture targets

Grant capture, or the ability of researchers to secure funding for their projects, is often used as a formal metric for academic evaluation. In this repost, Dorothy Bishop argues that this practice has led to peverse incentives for researchers and institutions and that research funders have both a responsibility and a significant interest in using their influence to halt […]

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    Academic review promotion and tenure documents promote a view of open access that is at odds with the wider academic community

Academic review promotion and tenure documents promote a view of open access that is at odds with the wider academic community

A critical issue for advocates of Open Access (OA) has been the persistent lack of institutional incentives for academics to engage with Open Access publishing. Drawing on their research into Review, Promotion and Tenure documents, a team at the Scholarly Communications Lab, including Juan Pablo Alperin, Esteban Morales and Erin McKiernan argue that when these key documents for research […]

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    Do no harm? – What development practice can teach us about negative impact

Do no harm? – What development practice can teach us about negative impact

As previous posts on the Impact Blog have highlighted, one aspect of the impact agenda that has until recently been relatively neglected has been that of negative impact, or ‘grimpact’. In this post Valeria Izzi and Becky Murray draw on examples from development practice and research to advance a more complex understanding of grimpact and argue that as development […]

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    The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used […]

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    How will the emerging generation of scholars transform scholarly communication?

How will the emerging generation of scholars transform scholarly communication?

Presenting evidence from the Harbingers Study, a three-year longitudinal study of Early Career Researchers (ECRs), David Nicholas assesses the extent to which the new wave of researchers are driving changes in scholarly practices. Finding that innovative practices are often constrained by institutional structures and precarious employment, he suggests that the pace of change in these areas is always going […]

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    Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. In this post Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘Grimpact’, to describe instances where research negatively impacts society, and argue that the implicit optimism of research assessment has rendered researchers and science systems poorly equipped to […]

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    Charting the rise and fall of North American leadership in global science: Insights from the population of Nobel Laureates.

Charting the rise and fall of North American leadership in global science: Insights from the population of Nobel Laureates.

For the majority of the last century North America has been at the epicentre of global scientific research. However, through the course of the 21st century other countries have begun to close this gap in a number of ways, notably China is now the global leader in published research and is on course to overtake the US in […]

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    Knowledge exchange or research impact – what is the difference between REF and KEF?

Knowledge exchange or research impact – what is the difference between REF and KEF?

The UK research system has historically been innovative in its approach to measuring and assessing the impacts of academic research. However, the recent development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), has elicited scepticism as to how this framework will significantly differ from the impact element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). In this post Hamish McAlpine and Steven […]

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    Assessing Impact Assessment – What can be learnt from Australia’s Engagement and Impact Assessment?

Assessing Impact Assessment – What can be learnt from Australia’s Engagement and Impact Assessment?

The impact agenda is an international and evolutionary phenomenon that has undergone numerous iterations. Discussing the development and recent release of the results of the Australian Engagement and Impact Assessment (EIA), Ksenia Sawczak considers the effectiveness of this latest exercise in impact assessment, finding it to provide an inadequate account of the impact of Australian research and ultimately a shaky […]

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    Mapping the impact of UN Sustainable Development Goals on global research

Mapping the impact of UN Sustainable Development Goals on global research

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent one of the largest and most sustained influences on global research to date. However, charting the effect of these 17 goals on the global research community is a complex task. In this post, Martin Szomszor draws on the findings of a recent bibliometric study to produce a ‘citation map’ of sustainability research, […]

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    To unlock the impact of ECR research, create stable academic identities

To unlock the impact of ECR research, create stable academic identities

Societal impact has become the hallmark of high quality research, as is reflected in the decision to make impact worth 25% of REF 2021 assessments and the introduction of Research Missions into the Horizon Europe framework. However, the ability to produce societal impacts is often linked to career stage and job stability. Reporting on a survey of Early Career […]

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    Self-organising peer review for preprints – A future paradigm for scholarly publishing

Self-organising peer review for preprints – A future paradigm for scholarly publishing

Preprints – rapidly published non peer reviewed research articles – are becoming an increasingly common fixture in scholarly communication. However, without being peer reviewed they serve a limited function, as they are often not recognised as high quality research publications. In this post Wang LingFeng discusses how the development of preprint servers as self-organising peer review platforms could be the future […]

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