Author: Blog Admin

The messy business of impact for the social sciences: fear and failure, stealth and seeds

Failure is an inevitable part of any academic career. This may feel especially true for those researchers working to have an impact on politics and policy, with research work always vulnerable to rejection or disregard. Matthew Flinders explains how such precarity brings into sharp focus the messy business of impact for the social sciences: the great problem of sowing seeds […]

Collaborative research skills should be meaningfully incorporated into undergraduate programmes

Scientific research has changed, now being largely conducted in collaborative teams. However, undergraduate student training has not necessarily kept pace with these changes. In order to work effectively in collaborative settings, students need to develop not only the technical skills related to their discipline, but also communication and interpersonal skills needed to work in teams. Nora J. Casson reports on […]

How information about library collections represents a treasure trove for research in the humanities and social sciences

WorldCat, an aggregate database of library catalogues worldwide, was primarily set up to aid libraries in carrying out their work in areas such as cataloguing or resource sharing. But the information it carries about much of the world’s accumulated published output is also a a unique source of information for answering a wide range of questions about world literature and […]

Improved representation of female scientists in the media can show future generations of women that they belong

The attrition of women from STEM careers has been attributed to many factors, such as work/life balance, biased hiring committees, and prejudiced editorial boards. But might it also be that women still do not see themselves as “real” scientists, or lack female role models? Miranda Hart reports on research examining women’s visibility in two high-profile scientific publications. Not only were […]

In a globalised and networked world, what is the unique value a university can bring? Introducing Open Knowledge Institutions

Digital ubiquity has disrupted the traditional university model. The internet has shifted the balance of a tension between control and disorder in knowledge production, with many of the opportunities the web brings leading directly to many of the challenges we now need to address. Lucy Montgomery and Cameron Neylon advocate for the idea of universities as Open Knowledge Institutions, which […]

Book Review: How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching by Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa

In How to be a Happy Academic: A Guide to Being Effective in Research, Writing and Teaching, Alexander Clark and Bailey Sousa aim to support fellow academic workers at all career stages to become more efficient, successful and happier through focusing on fostering good habits over and above talent or skills. Eddy Li welcomes this insider perspective on seeing, doing and – most importantly – […]

Not all academics are comfortable with the idea of open peer review

There are many arguments in favour of open peer review, from anticipated improvements to the speed and quality of reviews brought about by the greater accountability, through to the likely reduction in unfair or illogical decisions because of the system’s transparency. Despite this, not all academics are comfortable with open peer review and remain fearful of their comments and views […]

Reading list: a selection of posts on peer review to celebrate #PeerReviewWeek18

This week is Peer Review Week 2018, a global event celebrating the essential role that peer review plays in maintaining scientific quality. Peer Review Week “brings together individuals, institutions, and organisations committed to sharing the central message that good peer review, whatever shape or form it might take, is critical to scholarly communications”. In addition to the new posts to […]

As demands on the peer review system are increasing, reviewers are simultaneously becoming less responsive to invitations

During this Peer Review Week 2018, Tom Culley shares findings from the new Publons “Global State of Peer Review” report. As demands on the peer review system increase, reviewers are actually becoming less responsive to invitations. Meanwhile, researchers from established regions such as the USA, UK, and Japan continue to review significantly more than their counterparts from emerging regions such […]

A privilege, a gift, and a reason for gratitude: appreciating the human dimension of peer review

The shortcomings of the peer review process are well-documented, with it being variously described as too slow, conservative, and even unkind. But amidst fevered discussion of its logistical merits, the inherent humanistic value of peer review is often overlooked. Keren Dali and Paul T. Jaeger encourage reviewers to remember that each peer review opportunity offers an incredible human experience of […]