Category: Featured

The next stage of SocArXiv’s development: bringing greater transparency and efficiency to the peer review process

Almost 1,500 papers have been uploaded to SocArXiv since its launch last year. Up to now the platform has operated alongside the peer-review journal system rather than seriously disrupting it. Looking ahead to the next stage of its development, Philip Cohen considers how SocArXiv might challenge the peer review system to be more efficient and transparent, firstly by confronting the […]

Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Among the ways social sciences research can have impact is by influencing public policy. Duncan Green recently attended an event at which this subject was much discussed, with a leading government research analyst offering clear advice on what officials are looking for. Comparative work highlighting a range of possible solutions is valued, as are multidisciplinary approaches. Most useful is demonstrating […]

Open-source, commercial, non-profit, for-profit: what power have you got?

A previous Impact Blog post expressed the view that scholarly communications shouldn’t just be open but non-profit too. Mark Hahnel responds to that contention, highlighting the technical and financial considerations that render many of the academic-led, grant-funded initiatives unsustainable. Moreover, the non-profit vs. for-profit dichotomy itself may be too simplistic; non-profit is not synonymous with good, and for-profit is not synonymous […]

Systemic changes within institutions are needed to promote greater gender equity in STEM

As part of a new report published today to coincide with Ada Lovelace Day, the annual celebration of the achievements of women working in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), Rhianna Goozee considers why so many women drop out from science on their way up the academic ladder and what can be done to address the situation. Long-term, holistic change […]

New web services are helping authors make data-driven decisions when choosing which journal to submit to

With more than 34,000 active scholarly peer-reviewed journals, how do authors choose which one to submit to? Amy Forrester, Bo-Christer Björk and Carol Tenopir liken this process to a long-term investment decision, with access to critical information on a variety of factors being imperative. A new generation of web tools and services can help authors to find data on journals and […]

The use of games and simulations in higher education can improve students’ cognitive and behavioural skills

In recent years there has been a surge of interest in how games and simulations might be applied to higher education learning. Dimitrios Vlachopoulos and Agoritsa Makri have reviewed the literature on the subject and here outline the positive learning effects of games and simulations; from cognitive outcomes such as improved critical thinking and problem-solving skills, to behavioural outcomes such […]

Four strategies to increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining successful research teams

Modern scientific expertise rests heavily upon work carried out by teams, rather than scholars working on their own. Proper preparation is key, with some research suggesting that the effectiveness of collaborative work is determined before any of the work is carried out. Howard Aldrich and Akram Al-Turk have identified four structural elements that increase the likelihood of creating and sustaining […]

New media, familiar dynamics: academic hierarchies influence academics’ following behaviour on Twitter

For what reasons do academics follow one another on Twitter? Robert Jäschke, Stephanie B. Linek and Christian P. Hoffmann analysed the Twitter activity of computer scientists and found that while the quality of information provided by a Twitter account is a key motive for following academic colleagues, there is also evidence of a career planning motive. As well as there […]

Government policies favouring research for economic returns can overlook existing strengths in arts and humanities

There is an argument that the best way for governments to allocate resources for research is to prioritise those areas most likely to deliver economic returns. Andrew Gibson and Ellen Hazelkorn explain how, shortly after its Great Recession, Ireland prioritised research fields aligned with industrial sectors rather than disciplinary excellence or societal challenges. By starting with an orientation toward the […]

To wear many different hats: how do scholar-practitioners span boundaries between academia and practice?

Scholar-practitioners are those individuals who succeed in spanning the boundaries between academia and practice. Guillaume Carton and Paula Ungureanu‘s research sought to better understand scholar-practitioners; the multiple roles they perform across each world, the perceived synergies and tensions, and the strategies employed to manage them. A key tension exists between institutional pressures for hyper-specialisation and scholar-practitioners’ personal aspirations that their […]