Category: Featured

Open data sheds light on how universities are minority providers of commissioned research to government.

Anyone under the impression that universities are the dominant suppliers to government of commissioned research, advice, and knowledge, think again. Open data on government spending shows the relative dominance of other suppliers and mediators of knowledge to government – not least the private sector and think tanks. Simon Bastow presents some preliminary government-wide data. Moves towards more transparent and open […]

Social media is a ticking time bomb for universities with an outdated web presence.

There are pressing questions academic institutions will need to address over the next couple of years regarding their expanding participation in social media streams. Andy Tattersall argues that with such blurred boundaries of ownership, access and support, what is needed is wide-scale demystification to help academics dovetail a few choice tools to bring how they work into a modern setting. Social Media, […]

Research datasets need to be easy to find if they are to achieve their potential impact.

The impact of research data is now of definitive importance for universities, funders and disciplines themselves. Similar to the wave of preprint repositories established for journal articles that helped preserve access to papers in disciplines not otherwise catered for, we are now seeing a steady stream of institutional data repositories emerging. Alex Ball provides the background for a Jisc project looking to establish […]

BIS report on UK Research Councils: Drop in income sees fewer researchers supported but more knowledge created.

Jane Tinkler breaks down the key findings from the UK government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) report on the impact of research council funding over the last year. With income cuts playing a significant role, the number of principal investigators and research fellowships with research council funding have both gone down. Interestingly, output productivity of funded researchers has actually increased […]

Book Review: Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student’s Guide, 2nd Edition, by Rose Barbour

In this book, Rose Barbour sets out to provide a clear, user-friendly introduction to the craft of doing qualitative research. The author’s writing style and the inclusion of numerous anecdotes from her own research, simultaneously demystify qualitative research whilst reiterating the expertise and skill which researchers must possess, writes Christina Dobson. Christina recommends this book to anyone undertaking qualitative research, postgraduate students in particular. This review originally […]

From STEM to STEAM: The potential for arts to facilitate innovation, literacy and participatory democracy.

The value of the arts goes far beyond its monetary returns. Malaika Cunningham outlines how the arts play a huge role in boosting proficiency within STEM subjects. Creative thinking is needed for truly excellent scientists, engineers and mathematicians, and how better to foster this than a rounded education, which includes arts subjects? Arts education fosters a literate and innovative workforce and strengthens the […]

Recruiting talented researchers is easier in recessions and universities benefit from increased productivity.

Between the end of 2007 and the middle of 2009, Britain and the United States experienced the worst recession for more than half a century. Evidence suggests that during that time entry into high-paying and high-risk private sector jobs declined substantially while many talented graduates tried to stay on at university. Using data of economics PhD graduates, Michael Boehm and Martin […]

Institutional repositories provide an ideal medium for scholars to move beyond the journal article.

Reflecting on their experiences supporting the growth of Columbia University’s Academic Commons digital repository, Leyla Williams, Kathryn Pope, and Brian Luna Lucero make a clear case for why other institutional repositories should look to broaden the scope of the materials they house. Institutional repositories (IRs) should actively collect the full range of work produced by scholars and researchers — not just “green” […]

What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

Duncan Green provides short and sweet translations of some of the key findings from a recent survey looking at how US policymakers use and value international studies research. The findings point to the importance of blogging, but also to the sustained influence of traditional print media. The future of evidence-informed networks may require a more engaged look at what policymakers […]