Category: Accelerated Academy

Book Review: Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time by Filip Vostal

In Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time, Filip Vostal examines how speed has become a key pressure within higher education through interviews with twenty academics based in the UK. While the empirical research could be broader, Luke Martell highly recommends the book for offering considered, inquiring reflections on the structures that are contributing to the acceleration of academic life. This review originally appeared on LSE Review […]

The new configuration of metrics, rules, and guidelines creates a disturbing ambiguity in academia

Much of academia has become increasingly influenced by metrics and a set of metrical practices. However, few have totally understood the massive wave of conflicting rules and guidelines that are necessary in order to stabilise these metrical practices. Peter Dahler-Larsen, using examples from his own experiences in Denmark, explains how these multiple, cross-cutting rules have created a disturbing ambiguity in […]

More work is required to make academic “timescapes” worth inhabiting and to open up space for creative work

Is the problem with contemporary academia really one of constant acceleration? Ulrike Felt argues that focusing too much on acceleration overlooks a more complex phenomenon at work. What is needed is careful investigation of “time generators”, the key sites in academia that create binding temporal requirements and regulations. Many of academia’s recent reforms – to funding structures, assessment exercises, accountability […]

The pace of academic life is not the problem—the lack of autonomy is

To many disgruntled with the quantification of scholarship, its impossible demands and meaningless metrics, it is the heightened pace of academic life that is the problem. For Alison Edwards, the crux of the problem is actually a lack of autonomy. Is it time for academics to take back control? This post is inspired in part by the Impact Blog’s Accelerated […]

Lies are fast, truth is slow: the importance of mastering the rhythms of academic life and work

In the context of Trumpism and the victory of fast emotions over the slower pace of reasoning and education, Dick Pels hails the unique perspective encouraged by science; the ability to slow down, freeze-frame, and dissect things, liberated from the demands of urgency, immediacy and publicity. However, this should not detract from the existence of temporal diversity within academic life, […]

The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

Writing is crucial to an academic’s role of producing, shaping and distributing knowledge. However, academic writing itself is increasingly being shaped by the contemporary university’s managerial practices and evaluation frameworks. Sharon McCulloch describes how her research on academics’ writing practices has revealed tensions around the ways in which managerial practices interact with academics’ individual career goals, disciplinary values and sense […]

What makes research excellent? Digging into the measures aimed at quantifying and promoting research excellence.

“Research excellence” is a tricky concept in theory and arguably trickier to capture in practice. Toni Pustovrh shares findings from a recent study which looks at how research is currently quantified and evaluated in Slovenia. In-depth interviews with scientists reveal a variety of views on the concept and the current mechanisms in place. The analysis suggests that neither a predominantly peer-review based evaluation […]

Getting our hands dirty: why academics should design metrics and address the lack of transparency.

Metrics in academia are often an opaque mess, filled with biases and ill-judged assumptions that are used in overly deterministic ways. By getting involved with their design, academics can productively push metrics in a more transparent direction. Chris Elsden, Sebastian Mellor and Rob Comber introduce an example of designing metrics within their own institution. Using the metric of grant income, their tool ResViz shows […]

Organising logic: Project time versus process time in the accelerated academy.

There are two contrasting temporal logics in academia that shape the ways in which research is understood: project time and process time. Oili-Helena Ylijoki explores the differences between the two. On one hand, there is the tightly scheduled, linear, decontextualized, predictable and compressed project time, and on the other, there is the unbounded, multi-directional, context-dependent, emergent and timeless process time. Due to the […]