Plans to promote German research excellence come under fire

Posted in Research on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

“Germany’s latest programme to boost research at its universities and make them more competitive inter­nationally risks missing its goals, according to observers. The Excellence Initiative was launched in 2005 with €4.6 billion (US$5.4 billion) in funding and the aim of creating a handful of elite universities. Researchers across Germany are now preparing for the programme’s next round, dubbed the Excellence Strategy, which starts in 2019 …” (more)

[Quirin Schiermeier, Nature, 1 November]


Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals

Posted in Research on November 2nd, 2017 by steve

“Call it a classic case of supply meeting demand. Universities, colleges, even community colleges insist that faculty publish scholarly research, and the more papers the better. Academics and the schools they teach at rely on these publications to bolster their reputations, and with an oversupply of PhDs vying for jobs, careers hang in the balance …” (more)

[Gina Kolata, New York Times, 30 October]


German academics step down from posts on Elsevier journals

Posted in Research on October 31st, 2017 by steve

“A group of professors have resigned from editorial positions at Elsevier journals amid the continuing stand-off between German research organisations and the academic publisher. A statement from Projekt Deal lists 14 academics who have resigned their positions as editors and members of editorial and advisory boards at Elsevier journals in support of the ongoing negotiations on access to electronic journals …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 31 October]

Tags: , ,

Senior academics ‘take too much credit’ in co-authorship

Posted in Research on October 30th, 2017 by steve

International“Junior academics are being ‘held back’ in their careers as a consequence of more senior research partners being over-credited on co-authored papers, the results of a global study suggest. While co-authorship between two or more researchers is most frequent in the sciences and medicine, the survey of 894 researchers working in the humanities and social sciences in 62 countries found that co-authorship is becoming increasingly common in these fields as well …” (more)

[Times Higher Education, 27 October]

Tags: ,

Many junior scientists need to take a hard look at their job prospects

Posted in Research on October 26th, 2017 by steve

“For his 2012 PhD thesis, the sociologist Chris Platts surveyed and interviewed more than 300 young footballers — aged 17 and 18 — at UK club academies who were hoping to pursue a career in the game. He told the newspaper The Guardian this month that just four of them currently have gained a professional contract. That’s a drop-out rate of 99% …” (more)

[Editorial, Nature, 25 October]

Tags: , ,

Irish Research Council Appoints Peter Brown as Director

Posted in Research on October 18th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Peter Brown has been appointed as the new Director of the Irish Research Council (IRC), one of Ireland’s most important funding bodies. Brown, who has been Interim Director of the IRC since May 2017, will take up the role with immediate effect. He’ll replace Dr Eucharia Meehan, who left the position to become chief executive of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) …” (more)

[Kilian Tscherny, University Times, 18 October]

Tags: , ,

Professors’ Productivity Declines With Age, Right? Maybe Not.

Posted in Research on October 18th, 2017 by steve

“A typical career for a tenure-track professor might look like this: Publish early and often, hit a peak after a few years, get tenure, then watch productivity decline until retirement. Given this popular perception of the scholarly arc, professors of all stripes have been evaluated at a young age by the number of published papers they produce. But a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder suggests that this assumed trajectory is mistaken …” (more)

[Julia Martinez, Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 October]


The University Is Not a Technology

Posted in Research on October 18th, 2017 by steve

“Andrew Piper and Chad Wellmon observe that a small subset of elite universities are disproportionately represented in the most prestigious journals in the literary humanities. This ‘epistemic inequality’, they write, ‘would surely be as undesirable as economic inequality. In fact, most of us would presume a relationship between the two’. No doubt they are closely related …” (more)

[Sam Fallon and Len Gutkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 October]


German researchers resign from Elsevier journals in push for nationwide open access

Posted in Research on October 17th, 2017 by steve

“Five leading German scientists have resigned from their editorial positions at journals published by Elsevier, the latest step in a battle over open-access and subscription policies between the Dutch publishing giant and a consortium of German libraries, universities, and research institutes …” (more)

[Gretchen Vogel, Science, 13 October]

Tags: , ,

Male scientists share more – but only with other men

Posted in Research on October 13th, 2017 by steve

International“Male scientists are more likely to share their published work than are women — but only with other men, a study of hundreds of researchers has found. Humans are generally considered to be a highly cooperative species, says Jorg Massen, a cognitive biologist at the University of Vienna …” (more)

[Jo Marchant, Nature, 12 October]


Research Centres Programme

Posted in Research on October 12th, 2017 by steve

IrelandJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail): To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she has given consideration to the provision of an annual funding scheme for the provision of physical infrastructure such as equipment, buildings, libraries and laboratories untied to specific centres or priority areas to further research activities in third level institutions; and if she will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 11 October]

Tags: , ,

Athena SWAN funding link under scrutiny in discrimination row

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues, Research on October 12th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Four female academics embroiled in a gender discrimination dispute are reportedly under increasing pressure to accept a settlement from their university in a case that has sparked debate about the merits of linking the Athena SWAN equality charter to research funding. The long-running dispute at the National University of Ireland, Galway has come to a head …” (more)

[Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 12 October]

Tags: , , , ,

The Right Way to Argue for Basic Research

Posted in Research on October 12th, 2017 by steve

“The week before last, you may recall, I took issue with the way the country’s illustrious top university presidents (Gerforno, for short) were trying to sell higher education.  Effectively, what they were doing was selling higher education’s research mission by claiming ‘look, basic research creates jobs’ on the basis of a few anecdotes …” (more)

[Alex Usher, HESA, 12 October]


Irish Research Council welcomes long-term commitment to supporting blue sky research

Posted in Research on October 11th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Irish Research Council has welcomed a long-term commitment from Government to supporting research across all disciplines and career stages in today’s Budget announcement. The Government have announced a capital allocation of €21m over the period 2018-2021 to support the development of a pipeline of researchers at all career stages and disciplines …” (more)

[Irish Research Council, 10 October]

Tags: , ,

Belfast uni considers cross-border professorships to keep EU cash

Posted in Governance and administration, Research on October 10th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A top UK university is considering creating joint academic posts with institutions in the Irish Republic to ensure it still benefits from post-Brexit European research funding. Queen’s in Belfast, a member of the Russell Group of leading research-driven universities, is exploring the potential of establishing shared professorships with colleges in Dublin and elsewhere south of the Irish border …” (more)

[Belfast Telegraph, 10 October]

Tags: , , ,

Men get most of the research funding – it’s a serious problem for women and science

Posted in Research on October 10th, 2017 by steve

“In UK universities there are far fewer women in senior posts than men – particularly at professor level. Putting aside teaching, to reach this status, an academic typically needs to have completed a considerable amount of research. Research takes time, and if people want to succeed in academia, they have to apply for funding. This is where one key difference lies …” (more)

[Michael Head, The Conversation, 10 October]

Tags: ,

Publishers vs ResearchGate: an academic’s view

Posted in Legal issues, Research on October 10th, 2017 by steve

International“Cast your mind back 20 years, to 1997. Tony Blair had just entered Downing Street and in the music industry CDs dominated and the A&R guy was king. Within a few short years, the internet had changed the music industry forever, through the music sharing site Napster …” (more)

[Billy Hunter, Times Higher Education, 10 October]

Tags: , ,

Publishers seek removal of millions of papers from ResearchGate

Posted in Legal issues, Research on October 5th, 2017 by steve

International“Leading publishers are stepping up their fight against ResearchGate by ordering the academic social network to take down papers that they say infringe copyright. The move could see millions of articles removed from the site, as the publishers say up to 40% of papers on ResearchGate are copyrighted …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 5 October]

Tags: , , ,

Government should commit to joining CERN and ESO – Lawless

Posted in Research on October 5th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Science, Technology, Research and Development James Lawless TD has called on the Government to commit to joining the European Organization for Nuclear Research and European Southern Observatory. Deputy Lawless pointed out that membership of these organisations offers enormous benefits to Ireland …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 4 October]

Tags: , , ,

Why hasn’t e-learning transformed education?

Posted in Research on October 4th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“This autumn, you may have seen your child start school with a shiny tablet. Your teenager may have left for university with a slim new laptop. You yourself may have enrolled on a part-time course, accessing digital resources and staying in touch through your phone or computer. Education at all levels has changed in the digital age, but transformation has been slow …” (more)

[Claire McAvinia, RTÉ, 3 October]