Author: Taster

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 […]

What the history of copyright in academic publishing tells us about Open Research

It has become a fact of academic life, that when researchers publish papers in academic journals, they sign away the copyright to their research, or licence it for distribution. However, from a historical perspective this practice is a relatively recent phenomenon. In this post Aileen Fyfe, explores how copyright has become intertwined with scholarly publishing and presents three insights from […]

The Open Research Library: Centralisation without Openness

Resolving the question of how to provide an infrastructure for open access books and monographs has remained a persistent problem for researchers, librarians and funders. Knowledge Unlatched’s recent announcement of the open book platform – The Open Research Library – a project aimed at bringing together all available open book content onto one platform has been met with mixed responses. […]

The changing imperative to demonstrate social science impact

In less than a decade the impact agenda has evolved from being a controversial idea to an established part of most national research systems. Over the same period the conceptualisation of research impact in the social sciences and the ability to create and measure research impact through digital communication media has also developed significantly. In this post, Ziyad Marar argues […]

Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. In this post Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘Grimpact’, to describe instances where research negatively impacts society, and argue that the implicit optimism of research assessment has rendered researchers and science systems poorly equipped to deal […]

Book Review: The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students by Anthony Abraham Jack

In The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students, Anthony Abraham Jack seeks to better comprehend the unnoticed heterogeneous experiences of first-generation, low-income students navigating campus life at elite universities in the United States. This is a significant contribution to debates on class and mobility, writes Malik Fercovic, that compels us to think carefully about the responsibilities of elite […]