Game-playing of the REF makes it an incomplete census

Posted in Research on December 19th, 2014 by steve

UK“Research assessment is only partly reliable as an indicator of the real quality of the work going on in higher education. It has a dual character. On one hand it is rooted in material facts and objective methods …” (more)

[Simon Marginson, The Conversation, 19 December]

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Why evaluating scientists by grant income is stupid

Posted in Research on December 12th, 2014 by steve

UK“As Fergus Millar noted in a letter to the Times last year, ‘in the modern British university, it is not that funding is sought in order to carry out research, but that research projects are formulated in order to get funding’. This topsy-turvy logic has become evident in some universities …” (more)

[Dorothy Bishop, CDBU, 11 December]

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Assess the real cost of research assessment

Posted in Research on December 10th, 2014 by steve

UK“The Research Excellence Framework keeps UK science sharp, but the process is overly burdensome for institutions, says Peter M Atkinson …” (more)

[Nature, 10 December]

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Quality control in research: the mysterious case of the bouncing impact factor

Posted in Research on December 3rd, 2014 by steve

Norway“Research must be reliable and publication is part of our quality control system. Scientific articles get reviewed by peers and they get screened by editors. Reviewers ideally help improve the project and its presentation, and editors ideally select the best papers to publish …” (more)

[Curt Rice, 3 December]

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Peer review is fraught with problems, and we need a fix

Posted in Research on November 18th, 2014 by steve

UK“Dirty Harry once said, ‘Opinions are like assholes; everybody has one’. Now that the internet has made it easier than ever to share an unsolicited opinion, traditional methods of academic review are beginning to show their age …” (more)

[Andy Tattersall, The Conversation, 18 November]

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Metrics survey reveals widespread scepticism

Posted in Research on November 5th, 2014 by steve

UK“There is widespread ‘scepticism’ about the use of metrics to assess research, according to evidence submitted to an independent review. Just one fifth of those who gave evidence to the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s inquiry supported the increased use of metrics, such as citation data, when determining the excellence of research …” (more)

[Holly Else, Times Higher Education, 5 November]

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Debating the role of metrics in research assessment

Posted in Research on October 8th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“I spent all of today attending the In metrics we trust? workshop organised jointly by HEFCE and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. It was an open session that was part of the information-gathering process of HEFCE’s independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment …” (more)

[Stephen Curry, Reciprocal Space, 7 October]


Altmetrics: what’s not to like?

Posted in Research on October 2nd, 2014 by steve

“1:AM forum on altmetrics weighs pros and cons of tracking research impact via blogs, ‘likes’ and social media traffic …” (more)

[Paul Jump, Times Higher Education, 2 October]

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Universities focus too much on measuring activity, not quality

Posted in Research on August 15th, 2014 by steve

“Administrators in universities used to be people who would support academics in their role. Now it feels increasingly as if the administrative machine follows Parkinson’s law, not only creating more work for themselves (under the guise of quality monitoring) but also more work for people who entered academia …” (more)

[Guardian Professional, 15 August]

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Should self-citations be included or excluded from measures of academic performance?

Posted in Research on July 29th, 2014 by steve

“There has been much discussion over how useful citation metrics, like Google Scholar’s H index, really are and to what extent they can be gamed. Specifically there appears to be concern over the practice of self-citation as it varies widely between disciplines …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 29 July]

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Research quality assessment tools: Lessons from Italy

Posted in Research on July 29th, 2014 by steve

Italy“Assessing the quality of academic research is important – particularly in countries where universities receive most of their funding from the government. This column presents evidence from an Italian research assessment exercise …” (more)

[Graziella Bertocchi and others, vox, 28 July]

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Benchmarking Journals via Google Scholar

Posted in Research on July 20th, 2014 by steve

“How can arts and social science faculty show their quality to be just as high as STEM? One of the things that becomes clear when you spend any time engaged in the promotions or hiring process of universities is that there is an increased drive towards metrics …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 19 July]

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The rejection of metrics for the REF does not take account of existing problems of determining research quality

Posted in Research on July 8th, 2014 by steve

“Amidst heavy scepticism over the role of metrics in research assessments, Martin Smith wonders whether the flaws of the current system have been fully recognised. There is no system of research assessment that is perfect and peer review may well be a better, although problematic, measure of quality than metrics. But the REF has become disproportionate …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 8 July]

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Getting the measure of scientific achievement

Posted in Research on July 7th, 2014 by steve

“No one is talking about how these institutions are actually in the business of education and not the business of business. A lot of science comes down to measuring things. How strong was that earthquake? How far to the most distant galaxy? How old are those Neanderthal bones? …” (more)

[Dick Ahlstrom, Irish Times, 7 July]

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Metrics market

Posted in Research on June 25th, 2014 by steve

International“Measures of research impact are improving, but universities should be wary of their limits. With the FIFA World Cup well under way in Brazil and certain teams already on their way home there is much analysis of what went wrong for some and what is going right for others. In a parallel effort, marketing departments across the globe are engaged in a final push to link the events on the field with their brands and products …” (more)

[Nature, 25 June]

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Academic work and quantified control

Posted in Research on May 8th, 2014 by steve

“With workload and research metrics systems being introduced by management at DCU, Roger Burrows in this article throws some light on the effect of such measures on the working lives of UK academics …” (more)

[DCU union, 8 May]

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The internationalisation of academic publishing points to distinctly different audiences for scholarly books

Posted in Research on April 29th, 2014 by steve

“The rise of internationalisation has been a prime focus of bibliometric research for years. Most of the studies so far have analysed the increasing occurrence of multi-national co-authorships of journal articles …” (more)

[Frederik Verleysen and Tim Engels, Impact of Social Sciences, 29 April]

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Are 90% of academic papers really never cited? Reviewing the literature on academic citations

Posted in Research on April 24th, 2014 by steve

“It is widely accepted that academic papers are rarely cited or even read. But what kind of data lies behind these assertions? Dahlia Remler takes a look at the academic research on citation practices and finds that whilst it is clear citation rates are low, much confusion remains over precise figures …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 23 April]

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University metrics keep academics in their ivory towers

Posted in Research on April 21st, 2014 by steve

Australia“Perhaps we should excuse comments made during the 2013 federal election about ‘wasteful’ and ‘increasingly ridiculous research’ undertaken in Australia. The real shock was not that shadow ministers could make such baseless statements but that these comments could go largely unchallenged by the public …” (more)

[Jason Ensor, The Conversation, 21 April]

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Overhaul of metrics usage could cut frequency of REF

Posted in Research on April 3rd, 2014 by steve

“A metrics-based ‘mid-term review’ could allow the time interval between research excellence framework assessments to be extended to once a decade, the chair of a new independent review of the use of metrics in research assessment has suggested …” (more)

[Paul Jump, Times Higher Education, 3 April]

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