The Government’s policy on open access and scholarly publishing is severely lacking

The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills committee’s latest report, Open Access: Achieving a Functional Market, issued this week looks into the Government’s current policy on Open Access (OA) and scholarly publishing in general. The Committee, of which Ann McKechin MP is a member, unanimously found this policy to be severely lacking in many areas. Here, she discusses her […]

September 14th, 2013|Impact|2 Comments|

Qualitative research stresses the social context of welfare reform, but this complexity has been ignored by policy makers

Welfare reform and the implementation of Universal Credit has been met with a high degree of scepticism, not least because previous research highlights the many flaws in the system. Fran Bennett looks at why, in this case, it has been hard to influence policy makers in terms of shaping the government’s proposals. While the usual pitfalls of pre-conceived government objectives and […]

August 31st, 2013|Impact|0 Comments|

Getting Somewhere: HEFCE Proposals on Open Access for a Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

Proposals for how the UK government intends to mandate open access for research assessment have been issued, along with the invitation for the academic community to respond. Meera Sabaratnam and Paul Kirby welcome the clarification on these policies and look ahead to what remains to be done to ensure an appropriate restructuring of the current publishing system. Last week, the UK’s Higher Education Funding Council for England […]

August 3rd, 2013|Impact|1 Comment|

Communicating the uncertainty in science is necessary to improve public confidence and decision-making of non-specialists

Uncertainty is part of science. But is scientific uncertainty a reason to worry about the reliability of findings? Tabitha Innocent presents a new public guide, Making Sense of Uncertainty, where scientists are challenging the idea that uncertainty compromises validity. Furthermore, the guide argues communicating uncertainty will help build public and political confidence in decision-making which incorporates the uncertainty into constructive action. Begin […]

July 27th, 2013|Impact|2 Comments|

Experimental social psychology relies too heavily on sample findings from undergraduate students

The leading journals for experimental social psychology rely disproportionally on undergraduate students for their findings. James Hartley argues necessary steps need to be taken to widen the sample size to restore credibility to the studies and to the discipline as a whole. Digital communication methods and a firmer commitment to replication studies with different populations could help to improve the situation. When I began my […]

July 13th, 2013|Impact|0 Comments|

Universities are crucial spaces to foster capabilities for the formation of social citizens in times of growing inequality

The value of the university cannot be reduced to a monetised figure. By drawing from human development discourse and the capabilities approach, Melanie Walker argues the university can be re-imagined in terms of its commitment to individual freedoms, social citizenship formation and social change. The university should have an active role, engaged in local and global spaces, to foster and support a just […]

Attacks on US federal funding of the social sciences date back to the 1940s and will continue to intensify

In the wake of the restrictions placed on US political science funding, Jeanne Zaino examines the extent to which social scientists should be concerned on future eligibility of funding. More recent events in Congress suggest the attacks on funding will not only continue but will intensify. It is also worth remembering that these attacks are just the latest in a long standing […]

June 29th, 2013|Impact|0 Comments|

Academics may not be celebrities, but their careful research is improving public policy

Last week Phillip Blond proposed a simplistic solution to the problem of why academics are failing to make policy impacts: less evidence, more “big ideas”. Robert Ford and Matthew Goodwin find substantial flaws in this reasoning. Academics are in fact, already impacting policy. While rigorous analysis is not as glamorous as the sweeping grand narrative, it is essential to determine […]

June 22nd, 2013|Impact|2 Comments|