Category: Featured

Open access book publishing should be community-focused and aim to let diversity thrive, not be driven by a free market paradigm

The whole reasoning around open access for books is now aligned to a commercial agenda, where authors invest in openness with the prospect of greater downloads, citations, and impact in return. Marcel Knöchelmann argues that the free market paradigm is particularly ill-suited to humanities and social sciences book publishing and its many diverse scholarly communities. Equitable foundations for open scholarship […]

Do we need to “fail fast” to achieve open access?

Progress to open access has stalled. After two decades of trying, the proportion of born-free articles is stuck at 20%. Kicking off the Impact Blog’s Open Access Week coverage, Toby Green suggests the solution to our financially unsustainable scholarly publishing system may lie in rethinking traditional processes using internet-era norms. Embracing the principle of “fail fast”, all papers should first […]

Six factors influencing academic writing productivity and satisfaction

Writing satisfaction is strongly linked to publishing productivity and, potentially, career success. Chris Smith reports on research investigating the tools and systems academics from all career stages use to keep writing and publishing. Age, experience, and having a sense of certainty about what sort of writing system suits you and your life are all important to productivity and overall satisfaction. […]

Can we have it all? Navigating trade-offs between research excellence, development impact, and collaborative research processes

The “gold standard” of impactful international development research involves equitable north-south partnership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and co-production with non-academic actors, ideally including local communities. Such participatory and collaborative approaches are intended to have longer-term benefits, strengthening capacity for research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Admirable though this may sound, it’s easy to see how it might appear overwhelming to researchers expected to […]

More than optimism, institutional reform is needed to improve evidence use in policy and practice

While optimism can inspire efforts to connect the spheres of science, policy, and practice, it does little to remove the real boundaries between them. Systematic investigation of “bright spots” – or success stories – would likely yield some interesting learning points but, as David Christian Rose suggests, it may be unwise to cherry-pick evidence of what works by only analysing […]

Sandpits can develop cross-disciplinary projects, but funders need to be as open-minded as researchers

The research “sandpit”, where a cross-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners come together for a short time to create new projects around a given theme, is gaining ground as a way to foster innovation and creativity in research design. While sandpits can spark ideas for novel projects better suited to tackling grand challenges and urgent questions, research from Kate Maxwell, […]

Team-based PhDs would address the isolation caused by current doctoral programmes and improve the efficiency, quality and impact of research

Most PhD students think of their doctorate as a lone undertaking. This may be why a high proportion leave graduate school without finishing, and has also been identified as a contributing factor to the mental health problems experienced by many PhD students. Julian Kirchherr argues that tackling the PhD as a team project would be more beneficial. The team would […]

How to build value into the doctorate – ideas for PhD supervisors

PhD graduates make valuable contributions to society and its organisations. But what of the value of the doctorate to the graduates themselves? Kay Guccione and Billy Bryan questioned how graduates, as individuals, experience benefit from their doctorate and how they perceive its value. Findings reveal that graduates do consider their doctorate to have been worth it – in ways beyond […]

It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

In debates on the validity of academic research findings, focus has been drawn to so-called questionable research practices, commonly understood to encompass a laundry list of behaviours that can increase the likelihood of statistically significant (and so more publishable) results. Anand Krishna and Sebastian M. Peter report on research examining attitudes to questionable research practices among students who have recently […]

It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts: how the process of applying for competitive grants is of benefit to researchers

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part.” So goes the famous saying by Pierre de Coubertin, the father of modern Olympic Games. But does the same apply for competitive research grants? Charles Ayoubi, Michele Pezzoni and Fabiana Visentin report on their study which finds that simply taking part in an application process has […]