Author: Cousens,EV

Between science and policy—Scrutinising the role of SAGE in providing scientific advice to government

Reflecting on his role as chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee, Greg Clark MP, discusses the effectiveness of the UK’s scientific advisory body SAGE during the COVID-19 pandemic and considers the importance of transparency in assessing the extent to which scientific research can effectively guide government policy.   Since March, the Committee that … Continued

Navigating algorithms and affective communities in the quest for altmetric stardom

Developing a social media presence is an important ingredient for academics seeking engagement with their research. However, the binary logic rewarded by the Twitter algorithm, means that the route to altmertric stardom for some may yield abuse for others. Naomi Barnes argues that understanding how social media algorithms work is essential to ensure the ethical … Continued

The role of the research assessment in strengthening research and health systems

Research Impact Assessments are regularly regarded as a tiresome part of the research process. However, Annette Boaz and Stephen Hanney find that taking a systems approach to health research demonstrates the value of assessing impact. Drawing on examples from a new review for the WHO Health Evidence Network, they highlight the role that impact assessments … Continued

Scaling what works doesn’t work: we need to scale impact instead

Scaling has become a buzzword in international development, where the received wisdom is to ‘scale what works’. However, whilst this is a paradigm that suits private investment in international development and science more broadly, complex problems require nuanced solutions. Robert Mclean, John Gargani and Dena Lomofsky, argue that a new conception of scaling – scaling … Continued

How should we celebrate the research excellence obscured by the REF? The case of the Research Software Engineer

The Research Excellence Framework’s purpose is to assess world-class research. However, it overlooks the work of many groups who make possible high-quality research submissions. James Baker illustrates this through the case of the Research Software Engineer, without whom much high-quality research would not be possible, but whose contributions do not get counted by the REF. … Continued

From isolation to inspiration: The psychology of writing in communities

  Writing in communities, in the form of writing groups and writing retreats, has become immensely popular in the last decade. Despite COVID-19 putting a halt on face-to-face meetings, the new online writing group boom has helped academics to stay productive. Nicole Janz explores how writing in groups can provide an antidote to the competitive … Continued

From Impact to Inequality: How Post-COVID-19 government policy is privatising research innovation

Post-COVID-19 government policy has included an increase in investment in the UK’s research sector. However, Daniel Hook finds that the emphasis on the impact of this research means that longer-term, less measurable, blue skies research is being pushed into the private sector. Not only is blue skies research the key driver of technological change, but … Continued

From Impact to Inequality: How Post-COVID-19 government policy is privatising research innovation

Post-COVID-19 government policy has included an increase in investment in the UK’s research sector. However, Daniel Hook finds that the emphasis on the impact of this research means that longer-term, less measurable, blue skies research is being pushed into the private sector. Not only is blue skies research the key driver of technological change, but … Continued

Assessing research impact – a tale of 7 impact studies

How to assess research impact? Sarah Morton draws on her own experience of assessing impact arguing that despite diverse topics, settings and countries, there are patterns of successful impact that can help move our learning forward. She outlines her five top lessons for designing and evaluating impact in a research project.    I am not … Continued

“F**k the algorithm”?: What the world can learn from the UK’s A-level grading fiasco

The A-level grading fiasco in the UK led to public outrage over algorithmic bias. This is a well-established problem that data professionals have sought to address through making their algorithms more explainable. However, Dr Daan Kolkman argues that the emergence of a “critical audience” in the A-level grading fiasco poses a model for a more effective means of … Continued