Category: Academic communication

Book Review: The Digital Academic: Critical Perspectives on Digital Technologies in Higher Education edited by Deborah Lupton, Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson

Eschewing the polarising perspectives that often characterise discussions of digital technologies in academia, The Digital Academic: Critical Perspectives on Digital Technologies in Higher Education, edited by Deborah Lupton, Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson, offers an insightful and diverse take on the digital landscape in higher education, covering topics such as MOOCs, “flipped classrooms” and academic blogging. Keeping the human impact of these technologies firmly in view, […]

False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

A recent study has revealed widespread unethical behaviour in academic research. Allen Wilhite focuses on two activities in particular; the addition to funding proposals of investigators not expected to contribute to the research, and editors who coerce authors to add citations to manuscripts even though those citations were not part of the scholars’ reference material. Research institutions, funders, rankings bodies, and scholars […]

statcheck – a spellchecker for statistics

A study has revealed a high prevalence of inconsistencies in reported statistical test results. Such inconsistencies make results unreliable, as they become “irreproducible”, and ultimately affect the level of trust in scientific reporting. statcheck is a free, open-source tool that automatically extracts reported statistical results from papers and recalculates p-values. Following an investigation into its accuracy, Michèle B. Nuijten finds […]

Science community blogs: recognising value and measuring reach

Blogs have evolved into an established academic genre and a valuable forum for alternative journalism and public education. Manu Saunders draws a distinction between science communication blogs and science community blogs, with the latter offering academics the opportunity to strengthen writing skills and develop new collaborations, while also being a source of advice and mentorship for students, women, and other […]

“Publishing is not just about technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports.” The evolution of the megajournal as PeerJ turns five

As the “megajournal” has become more familiar as a concept, the term itself has come to feel more nebulous and limiting. Digital technology has enabled a shift both in the scope of published research and also in who can access it. But publishing is not just about the technology, it is foremost about the academic communities it supports. Jason Hoyt […]

All journals should have a policy defining authorship – here’s what to include

Scientific research papers with large numbers of authors have become more commonplace, increasing the likelihood of authorship disputes. Danielle Padula, Theresa Somerville and Ben Mudrak emphasise the importance of journals clearly defining and communicating authorship criteria to researchers. As well as having a policy for inclusion, journals should also indicate unethical authorship practices, clarify the order of authors at an […]

New research must be better reported, the future of society depends on it

Academics looking to communicate the findings and value of their research to wider audiences are increasingly going through the media to do so. But, argues Andy Tattersall, poor or incomplete reporting can undermine respect for experts by misrepresenting research, especially by trivialising or sensationalising it, or publishing under inappropriate headlines and with cherry-picked statistics. Proper and accurate communication of science […]

“Context matters”: a framework to help connect knowledge with policy in government institutions

Researchers trying to use the knowledge they’ve produced to inform public policy are often warned of the importance of context to policy decisions. But what exactly does “context” mean? Leandro Echt introduces a new framework that can help researchers develop a better understanding of the various different contexts operating within institutions, and critically identify those points where policy change is […]

Recognising interdisciplinary expertise: is it time we established the integration and implementation sciences?

Embedding interdisciplinarity into the academic mainstream has proved a constant challenge. Gabriele Bammer asks whether it might help to define the relevant expertise as a new discipline, one that recognises important skills such as the ability to combine knowledge from different disciplines, determine which disciplines and stakeholders have valuable perspectives, examine how elements of problems are interconnected, assess the likely […]