Author: Taster

Peer review is not just quality control, it is part of the social infrastructure of research

The purpose of peer review is often portrayed as being a simple ‘objective’ test of the soundness or quality of a research paper. However, it also performs other functions primarily through linking and developing relationships between networks of researchers. In this post, Flaminio Squazzoni explores these interconnections and argues that to understand peer review as simply an exercise in quality […]

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used in […]

Book Review: Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble draws on her research into algorithms and bias to show how online search results are far from neutral, but instead replicate and reinforce racist and sexist beliefs that reverberate in the societies in which search engines operate. This timely and important book sheds light on the ways that search […]

Inclusive conferences? We can and must do better – here’s how.

As social media accounts and hashtags, such as #manelwatch, demonstrate academic conferences often fail to represent the diversity that exists in academia. In this post, Alice Chautard reflects on how conferences can be planned ensure/promote diversity of attendance and inclusivity of participation and presents 10 insights from the best practice guide she co-authored after implementing these inclusive planning principles at the annual REACH […]

How will the emerging generation of scholars transform scholarly communication?

Presenting evidence from the Harbingers Study, a three-year longitudinal study of Early Career Researchers (ECRs), David Nicholas assesses the extent to which the new wave of researchers are driving changes in scholarly practices. Finding that innovative practices are often constrained by institutional structures and precarious employment, he suggests that the pace of change in these areas is always going to […]

The gold rush: Why open access will boost publisher profits

An important justification for transitioning from a subscription based journal publishing system to an open access journal publishing system, has been that whereas printing and distributing physical copies of journals is an expensive process, the cost of digital publication and dissemination are marginal. In this post Shaun Khoo argues that whilst a shift to gold (pay to publish) open access […]