Bringing local, national and international knowledge on natural hazards and effective approaches to responses could hugely improve resilience in vulnerable areas. John Young describes the general approach adopted by the Overseas Development Institute in their programme to improve disaster risk reduction strategies. He argues that one of the biggest contributions the approach has made is its emphasis on taking the […]
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 […]
Book Review: Who’s Asking? Native Science, Western Science and Science Education by Douglas L. Medin and Megan Bang
With ‘Respecting Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge and Culture’ announced as one of the key topics at the upcoming IUCN World Parks Conference, there is no better time to pick up a copy of Who’s Asking? by Douglas L. Medin and Megan Bang. The authors challenge stereotypes of science and culture, and demonstrate how community-based education programmes can enhance indigenous engagement and participation in science. […]
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 […]
A note to administrators and librarians: Those that fund research are responsible for funding its dissemination.
Only when the bulk of research comes with funds to pay author-side fees will publishers feel comfortable moving to new open business models. But who should be responsible for paying these new author-side fees? Stuart Shieber argues that those that fund research should be held responsible for funding its dissemination. As funders of research, universities themselves should be looking to organise […]
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 […]
Turing Testing and the Game of Life: Cognitive science is about designing lifelong performance capacity not short-term fooling.
The Turing Test has captured the imagination of the general public due to fundamental questions about the nature of the mind. But Stevan Harnad argues the hype over the supposed passing of the Turing Test is misplaced. Alan Turing’s idea for cognitive science was simple: Stop worrying about what the mind “is” and explain instead what the mind does. But we are […]
The Impact of Social Sciences Project by the numbers: encouraging real-time impact recording.
The Impact of Social Sciences blog emerged from a three-year research project devoted to a qualitative and quantitative understanding of the complexity of academic impact. To not let any impact-relevant knowledge dissolve away, Jane Tinkler takes a look back at the outputs, outcomes and connections made throughout the research process. Whilst these figures help to establish a real-time understanding of academic research, […]
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 […]