Author: Sierra Williams

Will David Willetts be remembered for progressive push for Open Access or pernicious effects of neoliberal academy?

Now that the cabinet reshuffle news has settled and Greg Clark MP, the new Minister for Universities, Science, and Cities has begun his tenure, we asked for further reflections on the positions taken by previous minister David Willetts. David Prosser covers the dramatic influence Willetts had on open access legislation and momentum in the UK. Lee Jones instead emphasises the escalation of […]

Book Review: The War on Learning: Gaining Ground in the Digital University

In The War on Learning, Elizabeth Losh analyses recent trends in post-secondary education and the rhetoric around them. In an effort to identify educational technologies that might actually work, she looks at strategies including MOOCs, the gamification of subject matter, remix pedagogy, video lectures, and educational virtual worlds. Losh’s work is valuable reading for students and parents trying to make sense of when current technologies […]

The Philosophy of Data Science – Susan Halford: “Semantic web innovations are likely to have implications for us all”

Co-director of the Web Science Institute, Susan Halford, responds to Mark Carrigan‘s latest round of questions for our series on the philosophy of data science. In this feature she underlines the necessity of broad interdisciplinarity as well as further technical training to engage in depth with the web as it evolves in different ways. She argues Web Science must be a critical […]

Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

The idea that research should have an impact on policy is premised on an instrumentalist, or problem-solving theory of research utilisation: namely, that research is valued by policy-makers as a means of adjusting their outputs. Yet Christina Boswell‘s research has shown that expert knowledge is just as likely to be valued for its symbolic function: as a means of substantiating […]

On Taxis and Rainbow Tables: Lessons for researchers and governments from NYC’s improperly anonymized taxi logs.

When New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission made publicly available 20GB worth of trip and fare logs, many welcomed the vast trove of open data. Unfortunately, prior to being widely shared, the personally identifiable information had not been anonymized properly. Vijay Pandurangan describes the structure of the data, what went wrong with its release, how easy it is to de-anonymize certain […]

Higher Education community responds to cabinet reshuffle, but it is too soon to foretell David Willetts’ legacy.

Following David Willetts’ resignation as part of the UK government’s cabinet reshuffle, Greg Clark MP has today been announced as the new Minister for Universities and Science. Steven Jones looks at the flurry of comment taking place on Twitter about the reshuffle, the government’s higher education initiatives over the past four years, and what might prove to be the lasting legacy of the […]

The Outing of the Medical Profession: Data marathons to open clinical research gates to frontline service providers.

Could greater data transparency across the medical field solve the problem of unreliable evidence? Dr. Leo Anthony Celi charts the efforts to improve the publicly available MIMIC database, a creation of the public-private partnership between MIT, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Philips Health-Care, through a series of data marathons. Data scientists, nurses, clinicians and doctors are coming together to collaborate and answer clinically relevant […]

Disruption disrupted? As innovation comes to academia, scholars look to challenge Christensen’s compelling theory.

‘Disruptive Innovation’ has become a more practical than theoretical debate in higher education all while criticism mounts over the theory’s scholarly merits. In the midst of high-profile interrogation by academics, Eric Van de Velde reflects on his experience of the value of Christensen’s concept of disruption for information sharing and technological advancement in the scholarly community. The episode also poses a […]