Category: Higher Education

Playing the game: academics have bought into the competition and become complicit in their exploitation

The managerialist logic that has permeated universities has had a clear impact on academic work. To Senia Kalfa, Adrian Wilkinson and Paul J. Gollan, academia has become like a game, with academics competing with each other for just a handful of permanent positions and focused completely on accumulating the capital (publications, grant income, etc.) needed to secure one. Rather than […]

Into oblivion: a closer look at the business, management and accounting research literature in Ibero-America

Faced with institutional requirements to publish in top-tier, international journals, researchers from Ibero-American countries often express concern that their work is becoming distant from their local communities. The value of participating in international debates and being able to influence the direction of research globally is sometimes provided as justification for this. But does this withstand scrutiny? Julián David Cortés-Sánchez has […]

Making research evaluation processes in Europe more transparent

Researchers repeatedly cite career advancement as a key incentive for their practices and behaviours. This is critical to understanding the pace of change in scholarly communications, as those researchers inclined to innovate or experiment with new forms of research outputs, methodologies, or communication styles risk being penalised by the evaluation system used by many research institutions that are slow to […]

How to compare apples with oranges: using interdisciplinary “exchange rates” to evaluate publications across disciplines

Academic research performance is typically assessed on the basis of scientific productivity. While the number of publications may provide an accurate and useful metric of research performance within one discipline, interdisciplinary comparisons of publication counts prove much more problematic. To solve this problem, Timo Korkeamäki, Jukka Sihvonen, and Sami Vähämaa introduce interdisciplinary “exchange rates”, which can be used to convert […]

Mental health risks in research training can no longer be ignored

Graduate research candidates are the powerhouse of research in universities, yet many have reported feelings of isolation, burnout, and career uncertainty. Karen Barry reports on a study of Australian research candidates which found that increasing numbers are suffering from heightened levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, often citing reasons related to academia’s general work processes, such as writing or publishing […]

How should we balance the research impact ecosystem?

Currently there is much discussion around research impact as REF 2021 preparations intensify. However, universities that are preoccupied with impact case study submissions to the next exercise may be missing the bigger picture. Jenny Ames emphasises the importance of establishing and nurturing a research impact culture; one that can help a university to achieve its vision more broadly and deliver benefits […]

How was social media cited in 2014 REF Impact Case Studies?

In their previous Impact Blog post, Katy Jordan and Mark Carrigan considered whether institutions have invested too much hope in social media as a solution to the problem of demonstrating research impact. Here they report on research analysing how social media was cited in impact case studies submitted to the UK’s REF 2014. Around a quarter of case studies contained […]

Six principles for assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

The negative consequences of relying too heavily on metrics to assess research quality are well known, potentially fostering practices harmful to scientific research such as p-hacking, salami science, or selective reporting. The “flourish or perish” culture defined by these metrics in turn drives the system of career advancement in academia, a system that empirical evidence has shown to be problematic […]

Book Review: Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad

Edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad, the collection Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures offers a vital reassertion of feminist modes of resistance against the increasingly corporate structures of contemporary higher education. This is an incisive, timely and ultimately hopeful volume that provides a platform from which future feminist fights can take flight, writes Charlotte Mathieson. This review […]