Category: Government

Performance-based research assessment is narrowing and impoverishing the university in New Zealand, UK and Denmark.

Susan Wright, Bruce Curtis, Lisa Lucas and Susan Robertson provide a basic outline of their working paper on how performance-based research assessment frameworks in different countries operate and govern academic life. They find that assessment methods steer academic effort away from wider purposes of the university, enhance the powers of leaders, propagate unsubstantiated myths of meritocracy, and demand conformity. But the latest quest […]

Is the fear of metrics symptomatic of a deeper malaise? On fiefdoms and scapegoats of the academic community.

This Monday marks the end of the open consultation for HEFCE’s Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment. Steve Fuller expands on his submission and also responds to other prominent critiques offered. He argues that academics, especially interdisciplinary scholars, should welcome the opportunity to approach the task of citation differently. Whilst many complain of the high citation rates of […]

The FIRST Act’s demand for relevance at the expense of replication puts the entire scientific enterprise at risk.

The United States’ controversial FIRST Act would have profound  implications for how social science research is managed and its funding allocated. David Takeuchi argues that even if the act doesn’t pass, it is clear that politicians are demanding more of a say in federally funded research. While a push to ensure research remains relevant can be a good thing, scientists and politicians […]

Evidence-based service delivery and development requires full range of interactions and connections with research.

To help expand understanding of how research makes an impact Sarah Morton draws from her extensive research into how different types of evidence are used to develop and improve key services. Research might raise awareness of an issue, change people’s knowledge or understanding of an issue, challenge attitudes, perceptions or ideas. Research use doesn’t just mean an instrumental application of research […]

Surely there’s more to science than money? Economic determinism fails to capture science’s practical social benefit.

The benefits of the scientific enterprise can be difficult to pin-point directly. Rather than grapple with the complexity, many prefer to emphasise how science spending will lead to economic growth. Richard Jones looks back at motivations for science funding historically and finds that pure economic determinism so popular today is far from the only option. National defence and cultural value have […]

Reflections on the contemporary university: Reading List for Governing Academic Life #GAL2014

Changes to higher education, the role of neo-liberalism in academic life and the various social forces shaping researcher identity and practice are all set to be discussed and interrogated at the Governing Academic Life conference 25-26 June. To kick-start discussion ahead of the event we’ve pulled together a range of resources here on the topics to be explored over the two days. You […]

Australian survey indicates policy-makers still have major reservations about assigning priority to academic research

The disparity between academics’ perception of the impact of their research and the opinions of policy-makers was recently underlined by a team of researchers from the University of Queensland who undertook cross-sectional surveys and semi-structured interviews with social science academic researchers and personnel in policy-relevant roles in public sector agencies. Michele Ferguson, Brian Head, Adrian Cherney and Paul Boreham look at […]

Zambia’s Ministry of Health works with economists to determine how best to recruit and retain community health workers

Oriana Bandiera describes the close collaboration between a team of economists and the Government of Zambia to evaluate strategies to recruit, motivate and retain agents in the rollout of its National Community Health Assistant Programme. Using a randomised experiment the findings illustrate that there is no tradeoff between career incentives, skills and social values. Providing career opportunities attracts more skilled individuals who perform better […]

Five Minutes with Anne Barron and Mary Evans: “Academics seldom have the opportunity to discuss issues about their profession”

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the death of social theorist Michel Foucault, Anne Barron and Mary Evans have organised a conference in late June for academics to reflect on his legacy in relation to higher education. Governing Academic Life will create an interdisciplinary space to discuss the public university, neoliberalism, academic publishing, and assessment measurement. Managing Editor Sierra Williams asked […]