Category: Research policy

Peer review is not just quality control, it is part of the social infrastructure of research

The purpose of peer review is often portrayed as being a simple ‘objective’ test of the soundness or quality of a research paper. However, it also performs other functions primarily through linking and developing relationships between networks of researchers. In this post, Flaminio Squazzoni explores these interconnections and argues that to understand peer review as simply an exercise in quality […]

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used in […]

The changing imperative to demonstrate social science impact

In less than a decade the impact agenda has evolved from being a controversial idea to an established part of most national research systems. Over the same period the conceptualisation of research impact in the social sciences and the ability to create and measure research impact through digital communication media has also developed significantly. In this post, Ziyad Marar argues […]

Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. In this post Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘Grimpact’, to describe instances where research negatively impacts society, and argue that the implicit optimism of research assessment has rendered researchers and science systems poorly equipped to deal […]

Does evidence still matter? 10 strands of continuity and change in evidence based policy and practice

The concept of evidence based public policy has been well established for over 20 years and unsurprisingly has sustained numerous critiques and criticisms over this period. In this post Annette Boaz, Sandra Nutley, Huw Davies, and Alec Fraser, present findings from a new international review of the evidence based policy paradigm and highlight 10 ways in which the use of […]

Charting the rise and fall of North American leadership in global science: Insights from the population of Nobel Laureates.

For the majority of the last century North America has been at the epicentre of global scientific research. However, through the course of the 21st century other countries have begun to close this gap in a number of ways, notably China is now the global leader in published research and is on course to overtake the US in research spending by […]

To unlock the impact of ECR research, create stable academic identities

Societal impact has become the hallmark of high quality research, as is reflected in the decision to make impact worth 25% of REF 2021 assessments and the introduction of Research Missions into the Horizon Europe framework. However, the ability to produce societal impacts is often linked to career stage and job stability. Reporting on a survey of Early Career Researchers […]

Building a globalised research system – the case of Bangladesh

The internet has had a double impact on scholarly communication in the global south, making it easier for these countries to access research and also making research published in these countries more accessible. In this post Dr Haseeb Irfanullah discusses how Bangladesh has adapted to this new scholarly communication system and highlights the need for strong research infrastructures and quality […]

How does funding and publication affect the time taken to complete a PhD?

A persistent problem for higher education policy has been how to ensure a steady supply of doctoral graduates equipped to deal with today’s global challenges. In this post Hugo Horta, Mattia Cattaneo and Michele Meoli examine the relationship between PhD funding and research productivity during PhD studies with time taken to complete a PhD and suggest that a key factor […]