Will other countries follow Germany into battle with Elsevier?

Posted in Research on February 1st, 2018 by steve

“Germany is thought to be saving more than €10 million (£8.7 million) a year in journal subscription fees after calling the bluff of the world’s biggest academic publisher during a negotiation stand-off. Elsevier, long criticised by some academics for what they see as its excessive profits and resistance to open access, is now afraid to cut off German universities’ access to its journals even though their contracts have expired, according to an outspoken negotiator for the German side …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 1 February]

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Horizon 2020 Strategy Funding

Posted in Research on February 1st, 2018 by steve

IrelandSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour): To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount drawn down by Ireland from the Horizon 2020 fund to date; and the areas to which the funds have been allocated …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 30 January]

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The university of the future will be interdisciplinary

Posted in Research on January 26th, 2018 by steve

“Structures and labels are important for bringing order to confusion, providing a sense of direction and purpose. But they can lose their value as the world changes around them. In a world where interdisciplinary research is of growing importance, dividing universities by academic departments creates barriers not benefits …” (more)

[Zahir Irani, Guardian, 24 January]


UCL to launch open-access megajournal

Posted in Research on January 18th, 2018 by steve

“UCL is to launch an open-access megajournal to contend with the likes of Plos One and Scientific Reports as the landscape of scholarly publishing moves increasingly online. The as-yet-unnamed journal platform from UCL Press will be a first for a UK university: Plos One is run by the Public Library of Science, while Scientific Reports is produced by the publisher of Nature …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education, 17 January]

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52% Cut In Research Funding For Irish Third Level Since 2016

Posted in Research on January 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Just €14.4 million has been allocated in Budget 2018 compared to allocations of €30.4 million and €14.4 million in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Ireland’s future economic prosperity is being put at risk by the apparent failure of the Government to adequately resource third level funding schemes, claims Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins TD …” (more)

[Hot Press, 15 January]

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Yes, Let’s Double Science Funding. But Why Not Arts Too?

Posted in Research on January 15th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“As our economy picks up, we can expect more calls like the one this week from Prof Mark Ferguson, the Director of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Yet his call for a doubling of science funding – pitched as a vital cog in Ireland’s future – is an apt reminder of the vastly unequal funding landscape for arts and science researchers. If the path to research funding is rocky for Ireland’s scientists, it’s an alpine climb for staff in arts faculties …” (more)

[University Times, 14 January]

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We need blind marking in the REF, too

Posted in Research on January 11th, 2018 by steve

“With the final decision on the rules for the 2021 research excellence framework having been announced towards the end of last year, anxiety levels are beginning to ramp up again. And women could be forgiven for feeling particularly nervous. A recent study led by Friederike Mengel of the University of Essex found that, on average, and all with other things being equal, university student evaluations gave female instructors a mark 37 points below those of men on a 100-point scale …” (more)

[Graham Farrell, Times Higher Education, 11 January]

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Funding for science research needs to double, says SFI

Posted in Research on January 10th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Ireland’s investment in science needs to almost double over the coming years if it is to be able to innovate on the scale required to transform the economy, according to Science Foundation Ireland (SFI). Speaking at the launch of SFI’s review of 2017 and the research body’s outline of plans for 2018, its director general Prof Mark Ferguson said there was no issue about the quality research being conducted in Ireland …” (more)

[Kevin O’Sullivan, Irish Times, 10 JAnuary]

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State spending on scientific research needs to increase by over €100m per year, expert warns

Posted in Research on January 10th, 2018 by steve

Ireland“Ireland needs to increase State spending on scientific research by more than €100m a year to compete successfully with other countries, warned the Government’s science advisor. The work of 4,000 scientific researchers in Ireland will be funded with the help of €172.5m this year from taxpayers but State-aid for research projects needs to grow to €300m a year within the next few years, said Professor Mark Ferguson, director general of the Science Foundation of Ireland …” (more)

[Alan O’Keeffe, Independent, 9 January]

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Elsevier maintains German access despite failure to strike deal

Posted in Research on January 7th, 2018 by steve

“The publishing giant Elsevier has said that it will maintain German universities’ access to its journals, despite failing to negotiate a new deal before many institutions’ contracts expired on 1 January. Germany’s research institutions and Elsevier have been locked in an at times rancorous negotiation for more than a year, as the country’s research organisations for the first time collectively try to strike what they regard as a better deal on open access, pricing and payment models …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 4 January]

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REF cycles ‘force academics to rush out poorer quality research’

Posted in Research on January 4th, 2018 by steve

“An extensive study provides new backing for a claim long advanced by those working in UK universities: that the research excellence framework forces academics to produce scholarship in greater quantity but of poorer quality …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education, 4 January]

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Heffernan and Heffernan, ‘Language games: University responses to ranking metrics’

Posted in Research on January 4th, 2018 by steve

Abstract: League tables of universities that measure performance in various ways are now commonplace, with numerous bodies providing their own rankings of how institutions throughout the world are seen to be performing on a range of metrics. This paper uses Lyotard’s notion of language games to theorise that universities are regaining some power over being placed on league tables by creating narratives that manipulate their rankings to promote their own strengths. This paper examines the findings of a study involving university responses to global rankings throughout 2016 produced by two major ranking bodies, Times Higher Education and QS Top Universities. The existing literature has established that ranking tables can be used as a vehicle for humiliation and can produce terrors for all those involved. Thus, the significance of this study’s findings is in new ways of theorising university responses to appearing on league tables at a time when academia is a high-stakes activity where institutions’ abilities are measured and reported on at a global scale.

Troy A Heffernan and Amanda Heffernan, ‘Language games: University responses to ranking metrics’, Higher Education Quarterly, ISSN: 0951-5224, Date: 01.01.2018, Volume 72 Issue 1 Page: 29-39.


Open access in Germany: the best DEAL is no deal

Posted in Legal issues, Research on December 31st, 2017 by steve

“In the worldwide campaign to shift academic publishing to open access, the Germans are fighting a major battle. To many, they look like heroes. ‘Projekt DEAL’ is the name of a German national consortium that includes university libraries and scientific organisations. The consortium has been working towards an agreement with Elsevier that, if the Germans have their way, would make papers by German authors in journals published by Elsevier freely available (open access), at a substantially lower rate than Elsevier is currently charging …” (more)

[Alex Holcombe and Bjoern Brembs, Times Higher Education, 27 December]

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Science Foundation Ireland appoints Deputy Director General

Posted in Research on December 30th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Science Foundation Ireland has announced the appointment of Dr Ciarán Seoighe as Deputy Director General of Science Foundation Ireland. Ciarán joins Science Foundation Ireland from Accenture and will commence duties on the 15th January 2018 …” (more)

[Science Foundation Ireland, 27 December]

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Oxford University accused of backing apologists of British colonialism

Posted in Research on December 23rd, 2017 by steve

“An international coalition of academics has condemned Oxford University’s support for plans to construct a balance sheet of the rights and wrongs of imperialism, with Oxford accused of backing apologists for Britain’s colonial legacy …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 22 December]


Rage against the academic publishing machine does not have to be futile

Posted in Research on December 21st, 2017 by steve

“The ‘unstoppable machine’. That is how Yiannis Gabriel, one of the UK’s leading social thinkers, labelled the academic-publishing complex in a recent piece for Times Higher Education (‘We must rescue social science research from obscurity’, Opinion, August 10). His ire was directed, in particular, at social science research, which he sees as falling into aimless, bloated obscurity, its only purpose being to provide career tokens to academics, ranking tokens to institutions and vast profits to publishers …” (more)

[Mike Marinetto, Times Higher Education, 21 December]

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UK-led research with EU funding drops sharply after Brexit vote

Posted in Research on December 21st, 2017 by steve

“The UK suffered a sharp drop in the value of European Union research and innovation projects that it started coordinating in the year after the Brexit referendum, suggesting that uncertainty caused by the vote has severely damaged Britain’s academic leadership in Europe. It led €916 million (£805 million) worth of Horizon 2020 projects that started in 2017, a fall of close to half a billion euros compared with 2016, according to a Times Higher Education analysis of EU data …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 21 December]

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Navy unhappy UCC and CIT shut joint effort on research facility

Posted in Research on December 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Naval Service (INS) was disappointed by the decision of UCC and Cork Institute of Technology to shut down earlier this year a maritime research facility on which the three collaborated. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the INS claimed a report used by the two colleges to justify the closure of the Irish Marine and Energy Research Cluster (IMERC), in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, contained ‘inaccuracies and unsubstantiated assertions’ …” (more)

[Seán McCárthaigh, Irish Examiner, 18 December]

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Green light for agri-tech global hub at Tralee IT

Posted in Research on December 17th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A new global agri-tech centre of excellence has been given the green light following the announcement of €5m in funding from Enterprise Ireland. The venture, the first of its type in Ireland, will be developed with the Institute of Technology Tralee and Kerry-based dairy equipment manufacturing company Dairymaster, with the support of Kerry County Council …” (more)

[Majella O’Sullivan, Independent, 16 December]

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Third Level Funding – PRTLI

Posted in Research on December 15th, 2017 by steve

IrelandNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated to the programme for research in third level institutions in 2018 …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 14 December]

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