Category: COVID-19

Science in inaction – The shifting priorities of the UK government’s response to COVID-19 highlights the need for publicly accountable expert advice.

The phrase following the science is repeated frequently in relation to government policies to address COVID-19. However, what this science might be and how it is better than other ‘sciences’ is less frequently explained. In this post, Jana Bacevic reviews the UK government’s initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak and argues that a key factor … Continued

Chinese state censorship of COVID-19 research represents a looming crisis for academic publishers

Issues of censorship surrounding the publication of scholarly research in China have been prominent since a series of press reports and publisher statements revealed that works had been removed from circulation that were deemed sensitive by Chinese buyers. As George Cooper observes, evidence that Chinese authorities are conducting pre-publication vetting of COVID-19 related research, raises … Continued

Carrying out qualitative research under lockdown – Practical and ethical considerations

How can qualitative researchers collect data during social-distancing measures? Adam Jowett outlines several techniques researchers can use to collect data without face-to-face contact with participants. Bringing together a number of previous studies, he also suggests such techniques have their own methodological advantages and disadvantages and that while these techniques may appear particularly apt during the … Continued

Without stronger academic governance, Covid-19 will concentrate the corporate control of academic publishing

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a short term uptick in open research practices, both in response to the virus and the need for remote access to research and teaching materials. Samuel Moore argues that the long term impact of Covid-19 and its related economic impact will likely increase the corporate control of academic … Continued

The fragmentation of federal expertise has enabled the politicisation of Covid-19 numbers in the USA

As in any emergency or disaster, institutional agreement over the statistics of the Covid-19 pandemic is incredibly important. During the crisis, President Trump has questioned federally requested research around the spread of the pandemic and the amount of equipment needed to tackle it. Philip Rocco writes on how Trump’s efforts to undermine a common understanding of … Continued

Are we all digital scholars now? How the lockdown will reshape the post-pandemic digital structure of academia.

The closure of university campuses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, has resulted in the rapid adoption of digital technologies for almost all activities that could previously have taken place within the physical space of the university. Whilst this presents opportunities to rethink how many academic practices might take place in virtual environments. Mark Carrigan … Continued

Between fast science and fake news: Preprint servers are political

Preprints servers have become a vital medium for the rapid sharing of scientific findings. This has been made clear by the speed with which researchers have developed new knowledge about the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this speed and openness has also contributed to the ability of low quality preprints to derail public debate and feed conspiracy … Continued

The Locked-Down: We need more than headline statistics to understand the impact of Covid-19

For governments and individuals much of our understanding of the Covid-19 pandemic has been mediated through metrics of cases and deaths and shaped by heartbreaking personal stories. In this post, Leeza Osipenko argues that such metrics only scratch the surface of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and makes the case for more expansive data … Continued

Dealing with Covid-19 requires pre-emptive action to realistically communicate risks to the public

Across the globe, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to some of the largest state interventions in public and private life in living memory. In this repost, Joan Costa-Font, drawing on research showing that the way in which people tend to perceive risk is dependent on precedent, social networks and physical proximity, argues that these mechanisms are ill suited to … Continued

Editorial: Social science in a time of social distancing

The spread of the Covid-19 virus has presented an unparalleled challenge for society, academia and the social sciences. As universities across the UK and the world have halted teaching activities, closed campuses and moved to online forms of working, major changes have been asked of individuals and society as a whole. As of last week, … Continued