Category: free

Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Despite the increased importance of demonstrating impact, it remains a concept many academics feel ill-equipped to measure or evidence. Clare Wilkinson reveals how researchers from a broad range of disciplines think about evidencing impact, what obstacles might stand in their way, and how they might be further supported in future. Knowledge around research impact continues to exist in siloes, with […]

Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Researchers everywhere are being pushed to collaborate. Individual academics are being urged to join teams, small teams are encouraged to merge with others to become bigger teams, and institution-wide and inter-institutional collaborations are spreading. With potential benefits including increased chances of funding, visibility, and impact, why, asks Jenny M. Lewis, are social scientists not embracing collaboration more? Might it be […]

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 […]

Materiality of Research: Without End: Documents of Research

What are the parameters of the academic document? And how can its myriad forms deepen and shape the process of being in research? Ahead of upcoming postgraduate symposium Without End: Documents of Research (University of Northampton, 16 February 2018), Meghann Hillier-Broadley and Francis Blore reflect on the generative potential of the various fragments – from post-it notes to notebooks to highlighted texts – that form the material substances inspiring and […]

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 […]

Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, editors Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean offer a collection that seeks to open up the possibilities for ethnographic research by approaching writing as a “material adventure”. As the volume grapples with longstanding questions regarding the ethical challenges of capturing one’s subjects in language, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani nonetheless finds this a moving reminder of the power of words to enable entry into […]

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 […]