Category: Featured

How the Mars landings took SHAPE – Assessing the contribution of social sciences, arts and humanities to space exploration.

Space exploration can be viewed as the quintessential achievement of technological and scientific modernity. In this post Thelma Obiakor, argues that by appreciating the contribution of the social sciences, humanities and arts (SHAPE disciplines) it is…

Is a breakdown in trust, transparency and social cohesion a price worth paying for more extensive data linkage?

The aggregation and linkage of data collected by different public services can often be presented unproblematically as a solution to various social issues, notably so in the last year in response to the public health crisis of COVID-19. Drawing on new …

What works for knowledge brokers? Assessing the communication challenge of linking research to policy.

Across universities and other research institutions, knowledge brokers play an important role in linking researchers to potential users of their research. Reporting on a recent survey, Sandra Messenger and Sarah Foxen highlight the challenges that know…

Who benefits from data for good?

The central proposition of ‘data for good’ is that corporations should publicly share data sets derived from their business activities across various areas of the economy to improve and guide policymaking. Based on their study of contributors to the Bi…

The REF’s singular focus on excellence limits academic diversity

Research assessment exercises, such as the REF ostensibly serve to evaluate research, but they also shape and manage it. Based on a study of REF submissions in the fields of economics, history, business and politics, Engelbert Stockhammer, argues that …

Without social sciences, humanities and arts, the goal of sustainability may never be reached

Eric Neumayer and Charles Joly argue that the key challenges posed by making a transition to a sustainable net-zero carbon economy are social, rather than technological. As such, instead of waiting for technological change to simply emerge, in the post…

Are experts complicit in making their advice easy for politicians to ignore?

The role of experts in policymaking and debates over the extent to which politicians are being ‘led by the science’ have become prominent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Christiane Gerblinger argues that, rather than being a simple case of …

Side-stepping safeguards – Data journalists are doing science now

An aspect of the media landscape that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic has been the increasing role of media organisations in presenting and undertaking their own, often complex, data analyses. In this cross-post Irineo Cabreros, discusses…