Impact Round-Up 21st December: Interdisciplinary collaboration, the econoblogosphere and obstacles to open access.


Managing Editor Sierra Williams presents a round-up of popular stories from around the web on higher education, academic impact, and trends in scholarly communication.

  1. Novelty Squared: A Challenge of Modern Interdisciplinary Scientific Collaboration by Joshua Bloom, Astrophysics professor at UC Berkeley.

One of the growing modern challenges is that domain scientists must gain exposure to the ever-growing landscape of toolkits, to understand what tools not traditionally used in their discipline might be useful, and to become proficient users of the tools for their own pursuits. This is indeed an increasingly larger systemic issue: it’s hard enough to keep up with all the new knowledge arising in our sub-domains, let alone continually learn what new techniques are popping up across the landscape well outside of our discipline.

Image credit: Wikimedia (public domain)

2. The Facebooking of Economics by Paul Krugman.

How does the econoblogosphere work? It’s a lot like the 17th-century coffee shop culture Tom Standage describes in his lovely book Writing on the Wall…As Standage explains, this informal system gradually evolved into the modern structure of scientific journals, as the process of circulating research writing became formalized, with refereeing as a form of quality check. But the way it began, as Standage says, was in important ways more like social media than like centralized publication with clear lines of authority.

3. The Next Obstacle for OA Publishing in the HSS: More Costs? Or the License? by Andrea Hacker at A Hacker’s View.

An amazing network has grown over the last couple of years including authors, libraries, colleagues, funding agencies, and developers of infrastructure. And as we are getting ready to produce our first open access book-series here in Heidelberg, propelled by all this good will and spirit of adventure, I am realizing that the clincher in the whole endeavor may very well be the issue of licenses. Hunting for reviews and offering author-copies costs money, but may be doable. Financing copyright clearance and running CC-BY, however, may be well beyond our means.

4. Lessons From Experience by Richard Rose, Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde at the Political Studies Association blog.

My preference is to lead by example. Thus, when writing the first edition of Politics in England I did not make it a manifesto telling other people how to do political science. Instead, I tried to demonstrate that there was a better way of doing so than what was then the practice of Oxford and the LSE.

And that’s the Round-up! Happy holidays from the Impact of Social Sciences team.