Category: Featured

Blind Luck – Could lotteries be a more efficient mechanism for allocating research funds than peer review?

Peer review is integral to the award of funds for academic research. However, as an increasingly large number of researchers attempt to secure limited funding, it is clear that much funding is awarded based on marginal assessments of the quality of different proposals. In this post, Lambros Roumbanis argues that randomly awarding research funding via lotteries presents a more rational, […]

Old-fashioned peer review is still seen as the best way to allocate grants, but reviewers deserve greater recognition

The allocation of research funding on the basis of peer review has recently come under scrutiny, due to the difficulty of assessing the difference between growing numbers of high quality applications. Presenting evidence from a large-scale survey of academics involved in the peer review of grant applications, James Hardcastle argues that academics largely see peer review as the best mechanism […]

To make PhDs fit for the 21st century we need to develop evidence based policies

The growth of PhD level education globally and in the UK has changed the nature of what it means to be a PhD holder. However, despite there being more PhDs and more value placed on producing them, there is still a severely limited evidence base for understanding PhD outcomes. Drawing on their recent working paper, Sally Hancock and Paul Wakeling […]

Book Review: Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media by Sarah T. Roberts

In Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media, Sarah T. Roberts explores the work conditions and experiences of people employed in ‘commercial content moderation’, drawing on interviews with those tasked with detecting and removing harmful and upsetting online content. As the problems faced by CCM workers reveal the economic, social and political distortions of the digital age, this book […]

Bibliodiversity – What it is and why it is essential to creating situated knowledge

Vibrant scholarly communities are sustained by publishing outlets that allow researchers to address diverse audiences. Whereas, attention is often focused on international publication, much of this work is supported by publications that address national and regional audiences in their own languages. In this post, Elea Giménez Toledo, Emanuel Kulczycki, Janne Pölönen and Gunnar Sivertsen explain the importance of bibliodiversity to […]

Opportunity or threat? What Plan S can contribute to Open Access in Latin America

Concerns about the threat from the Global North to Latin America’s exemplary tradition of open access publishing are understandable but ultimately misplaced. Renegotiation of subscription agreements and the stipulation that article-processing charges should be covered by funders or institutions are examples of the ways in which Plan S presents new opportunities for the region, even if there is still work […]

Google Scholar, Web of Science, and Scopus: Which is best for me?

Being able to find, assess and place new research within a field of knowledge, is integral to any research project. For social scientists this process is increasingly likely to take place on Google Scholar, closely followed by traditional scholarly databases. In this post, Alberto Martín-Martín, Enrique Orduna-Malea , Mike Thelwall, Emilio Delgado-López-Cózar, analyse the relative coverage of the three main research databases, […]

Embracing multilingualism to enhance complexity sensitive research

Academics who engage with local stakeholders to develop their research processes often find themselves spanning between the local language in which the research process takes place and English, the undisputed lingua franca in academia. In this post, Patricia Canto, Susana Franco and Miren Larrea argue that embracing the coexistence of different languages in all the stages of the research cycle […]

Book Review: The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism by Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias

In The Costs of Connection: How Data is Colonizing Human Life and Appropriating It for Capitalism, Nick Couldry and Ulises A. Mejias argue that the quantified world is not a new frontier, but rather the continuation and expansion of both colonialism and capitalism. This book shines in using the theory underpinning the idea of data colonialism to articulate sites of resistance, writes […]

Book Review: The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff

In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, Shoshana Zuboff offers a comprehensive account of the new form of economic oppression that has crept into our lives, challenging the boundless hype that has often surrounded the activities of modern technology companies. While the book presents a decent history of the rise of surveillance […]