Category: free

Towards more consistent, transparent, and multi-purpose national bibliographic databases for research output

National bibliographic databases for research output collect metadata on universities’ scholarly publications, such as journal articles, monographs, and conference papers. As this sort of research information is increasingly used in assessments, funding allocation, and other academic reward structures, the value in developing comprehensive and reliable national databases becomes more and more clear. Linda Sīle, Raf Guns and Tim Engels outline […]

Less than 5% of papers on the use of research in health policymaking tested interventions to see what worked. But those studies reveal a number of strategies for improvement

Population health policies stand a much better chance of succeeding if they’re informed by research evidence. But what are the best ways of making sure this happens? Danielle Campbell and Gabriel Moore conducted a rapid review of the literature on the subject and found that very few studies actually concerned testing interventions to see whether they worked. Those articles that […]

A librarian perspective on Sci-Hub: the true solution to the scholarly communication crisis is in the hands of the academic community, not librarians

Sci-Hub is a pirate website that provides free access to millions of research papers otherwise locked behind paywalls. Widespread dissatisfaction with scholarly communications has led many to overlook or dismiss concerns over the site’s legality, praising its disruptive technology and seeing justification in the free access it affords people all over the world. Ruth Harrison, Yvonne Nobis and Charles Oppenheim […]

“Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

Interdisciplinarity is the talk of the town. Funding agencies favour interdisciplinary research proposals, teaching programmes focus on developing interdisciplinary courses, and the publication of interdisciplinary studies has surged over recent decades. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair considers whether interdisciplinarity remains a strategy to surpass the limits of the methodological tools, theories, and views offered by a single discipline or has instead become […]

Tips for negotiating the peer-reviewed journal publication process as an early-career researcher

Early-career researchers are subject to higher levels of scrutiny than ever before, with publication in academic journals essential to how they are funded and evaluated, and how their careers will be built. Margaret K. Merga, Shannon Mason and Julia E. Morris share insights from their own experiences of navigating the journal submission and publication process as ECRs, emphasising the importance […]

The perpetual tango: what exactly is “evidence-informed policymaking” premised on and working towards?

Given the field of evidence-informed policymaking has existed for some time, experts’ confusion, knowledge gaps, and inconsistencies around the fundamentals is bewildering. Reporting on a recent Ontario case study, Jacqueline Sohn considers how evidence-informed policymaking works in practice, likening the swift and abrupt movements that eventually lead to policies being developed to a perpetual tango, and reveals how research producers […]

The growing, high-stakes audit culture within the academy has brought about a different kind of publishing crisis

The spate of high-profile cases of fraudulent publications has revealed a widening replication, or outright deception, crisis in the social sciences. To Marc Spooner, researchers “cooking up” findings and the deliberate faking of science is a result of extreme pressures to publish, brought about by an increasingly pervasive audit culture within the academy. By now most readers will have heard […]

How to save space and stick to the limit when writing research funding applications

Research funders impose length limits on applications for practical reasons: to discourage epic submissions, and to ease the burden on reviewers. It’s also true that concise ideas are generally stronger ideas. But sticking to these limits can often seem a difficult and frustrating task. Jonathan O’Donnell offers advice to researchers looking to find a little more space in their applications. […]

For genuinely open social science texts, the disguised elitism of citing paywall sources is no longer good enough

Drawing on their experience in producing a new open access textbook/handbook of UK politics, Patrick Dunleavy and Alice Park outline some inescapable dilemmas around referencing paywalled materials, and how they can be overcome. They also outline how creative design changes can enhance the advantages of a fully digital, open access book for citizens, students, and teachers. What does doing genuinely […]

Rewarding peer reviewers: a problem of adverse selection?

As a solution to the worsening peer reviewer shortage, many scientific journals now offer non-monetary rewards as an incentive to researchers to register to review. Marco Seeber and Monica Zaharie report on research studying the efficacy of non-monetary rewards in attracting peer reviewers, exploring whether acceptance varies according to the nature of the offer of the reward or the researcher’s […]