Category: Featured

Rethinking the rights of children for the Internet Age

The internet is now 30 years old, making it the same age as the key formulation of children’s rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the intervening years, our understanding of the transformative effects of the internet on both society and children have developed in tandem. In this post Sonia Livingstone outlines some of the issues […]

The Open Tide – How openness in research and communication is becoming the default setting

 Open Access to research findings is often presented as an end unto itself. However, the ethos of open access, to enable a greater sharing and utilisation of research knowledge, suggests a more complex network of scholarly communication. Presenting the findings of a recent report on the development of Open Access, Daniel Hook explores how the open trajectories of the UK […]

Gender bias in peer review – opening up the black box

Gender bias in peer review has been much discussed in the wider research community. However, there have been few attempts to analyse the issue within the social sciences. To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), this post by Alex Holmes and Sally Hardy highlights research undertaken by the Regional Studies Association to investigate the effect of gender on peer review outcomes. […]

6 Insights into being a productive and happy academic author

The advice given to academics, at any stage of their career, on how to be productive is often contradictory. Drawing on the findings of his previous post and a new survey of 593 academics, Chris Smith presents 6 key insights into productive academic behaviours and suggests the key to productivity lies in developing a system of writing that is tailored to […]

Plan S and the Global South – What do countries in the Global South stand to gain from signing up to Europe’s open access strategy?

Plan S raises challenging questions for the Global South. Even if Plan S fails to achieve its objectives the growing determination in Europe to trigger a “global flip” to open access suggests developing countries will have to develop an alternative strategy. In this post Richard Poynder asks: what might that strategy be? Announced last year, Plan S is an initiative […]

Plan S – Time to decide what we stand for

Reflecting on the recent consultation period for Plan S, a funder led proposal for achieving universal open access to research papers, Jon Tennant argues that whereas, the consultation has in many ways followed the contours of previous OA debates, OA has now become an unavoidable part of academic life and has moved into the mainstream. For this reason, he argues […]

Big Qual – Why we should be thinking big about qualitative data for research, teaching and policy

When social scientists think about big data, they often think in terms of quantitative number crunching. However, the growing availability of ‘big’ qualitative datasets presents new opportunities for qualitative research. In this post, Lynn Jamieson and Sarah Lewthwaite explore how ‘big qual’ can be deployed as a distinct research methodology to develop new forms of qualitative research and elucidate complex interactions […]

Say blockchain one more time! What is the real value of blockchain to higher education?

The revolutionary potential of blockchain has been much touted in many fields including research and higher education. In this post, Martin Hamilton discusses some of the potential applications of blockchain to academia and raises key questions about how these systems could be implemented and safeguarded from malicious exploitation.   Blockchains are all the rage right now. They’ve joined cloud computing, […]

Self-plagiarism: When is re-purposing text ethically justifiable?

Self-plagiarism, or publishing substantially similar work twice, is frowned upon in academia as a way of gaining an unfair advantage in a competitive ‘publish or perish’ environment. However, the increasingly open and digital nature of academic publishing means that replication is now easier than ever before. In this post, Mark Israel explores the ethics of self-plagiarism and asks, when is it right […]

Between value for money & development impact: Some reflections for the Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund has engaged many researches with Overseas Development Aid and the auditing and assessment infrastructures associated with it. In this post Valeria Izzi and Becky Murray outline how researchers can adopt a value for money (VfM) approach that can justify North/South research projects in a way that accounts for economy, efficiency, effectiveness, as well equity. Since […]