Friday, 23 December 2016

Impact of Social Sciences – 2016 in review: a selection of the top LSE Impact Blog posts of the year


2016 in review: a selection of the top LSE Impact Blog posts of the year

kieran-booluckContinuing what is by now an established Impact Blog tradition, editor Kieran Booluck looks back at all that’s published over the last twelve months and shares a selection of the year’s top posts.
It’s been another record-breaking year at
the Impact Blog! Last year was the first time we recorded in excess of
one million pageviews in a single year, finishing 2015 with a total of
1,190,907. We’re happy to announce that not only has the Impact Blog
once again hit the one million mark but at the time of writing a grand
total of 1,199,651 pageviews have been recorded!
This is most obviously a testament to the
outstanding work of our large family of contributors and after reviewing
all that has published over the last 12 months we’re happy to present a
list of the top posts from 2016. The dozen posts featured here have
been selected based on Google Analytics data and cover a wide range of
the Impact Blog’s various topics and themes. Next week we’ll be wrapping
up 2016 with a series of short round-ups, featuring the best posts in a
number of different categories. But today please enjoy the overall pick
of the year. See you in 2017!

How to write a blog post from your journal article in eleven easy steps

Patrick-Dunleavy-thumb1You’ve just published a research article – why should you bother writing a blog post about it? Patrick Dunleavy
argues that if you’ve devoted months to writing the paper, dealing with
comments, doing rewrites and hacking through the publishing process,
why would you not spend the extra couple of hours crafting an accessible
blog post? Here he breaks down in eleven easy steps how to generate a
short-form version of your research article.

Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors

Closing the gender gapA
series of studies across countries and disciplines in higher education
confirm that student evaluations of teaching (SET) are significantly
correlated with instructor gender, with students regularly rating female
instructors lower than male peers. Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark argue
the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure
on universities to measure teaching effectiveness. Given the
unreliability of the metric and the harmful impact these evaluations can
have, universities should think carefully on the role of such
evaluations in decision-making.

Addicted to the brand: The hypocrisy of a publishing academic

generally recognise that the scholarly publishing business model is
flawed, the impact factor does not point to quality, and open access is a
good idea. And yet, academics continue to submit their work to the same
for-profit journals. Philip Moriarty looks at what is
keeping academics from practicing what they preach. Despite many efforts
to counter the perception, journal ‘branding’ remains exceptionally

Many a true word is spoken in jest: Twitter accounts that mock, self-ridicule and bring a smile to academia

tattersall smallAcademic Twitter is more than just sharing research articles and live-tweeting at conferences. Andy Tattersall
gives an overview of the humorous accounts that aim to pull back the
curtain on the Ivory Tower and share its oddities, culture and
inconsistencies. Despite the silliness, the following accounts often
discuss issues rarely touched on in the academic community. These
accounts offer a lighthearted take on a business that takes itself too
seriously and for that, we are immensely grateful.

What are the most-cited publications in the social sciences (according to Google Scholar)? on citation data that spans disciplines and time periods, Elliott Green
has identified the most cited publications in the social sciences. Here
he shares his findings on the 25 most cited books as well as the top
ten journal articles. The sheer number of citations for these top cited
publications is worth noting as is the fact that no one discipline
dominates over the others in the top 20, with the top six books all from
different disciplines.

Conference rage: How did something as truly awful as panel discussions become the default format?

duncanThe relatively low impact of many academic conferences suggests it may be time for a rethink, argues Duncan Green. ‘Manels’
(male only panels) are an outrage, but why not go for complete
abolition, rather than mere gender balance? With people reading out
papers, terrible powerpoints crammed with too many words, or illegible
graphics, it is time for innovation in format. We need to get better at
shaping the format to fit the the precise purpose of the conference.

Developing SocArXiv — a new open archive of the social sciences to challenge the outdated journal system

STEM disciplines have developed a number of mechanisms to challenge the
time-lags and paywalls of traditional academic publishing, options in
the social sciences remain few and far between. Philip Cohen
of the University of Maryland argues a cultural shift is taking place
in the social sciences. He introduces SocArxiv, a fast, free, open paper
server to encourage wider open scholarship in the social sciences.

So you want to change policy? Six steps for academics looking to achieve policy change

james lloydThe
inevitable chaos and unpredictability of politics makes trying to
achieve policy change a real challenge. But that doesn’t mean academics
should just give up. Drawing from policy analysis and public affairs
lessons, James Lloyd recommends six steps to get researchers going in the right direction towards achieving policy change.

The current system of knowledge dissemination isn’t working and Sci-Hub is merely a symptom of the problem

FariasFlorGThat Sci-Hub’s activities are illegal is not disputed. However, according to Iván Farías Pelcastre and Flor González Correa
the issue at the core of the debate is the current publishing and
knowledge dissemination system and how it widens socioeconomic
inequalities in academia and constrains its collective progress.

Open Research for Academics: how to be an academic in the twenty-first century

research is about more than open access. It is about making all aspects
of the research process open to all possible interested parties. Ahead
of a workshop and hackathon later this week, Bianca Elena Ivanof and Caspar Addyman
outline some steps towards being a successful academic in the 21st
century; from writing clearly and engaging with the public to opening up
your research to your peers.

Academic labour markets in Europe vary widely in openness and job security

afonsoHaving examined the organisation of Europe’s academic labour markets, Alexandre Afonso
outlines the main differences between countries across the continent.
There is greatest variance in two particular areas: the extent to which
they are open to outsiders, and the job security they provide for recent
PhD graduates. This has obvious consequences for the mobility of
academics across Europe and the progression of early career researchers.

The research librarian of the future: data scientist and co-investigator

remains something of a disconnect between how research librarians
themselves see their role and its responsibilities and how these are
viewed by their faculty colleagues. Jeannette Ekstrøm, Mikael Elbaek, Chris Erdmann and Ivo Grigorov
imagine how the research librarian of the future might work, utilising
new data science and digital skills to drive more collaborative and open
scholarship. Arguably this future is already upon us but institutions
must implement a structured approach to developing librarians’ skills
and services to fully realise the benefits.
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Impact of Social Sciences – 2016 in review: a selection of the top LSE Impact Blog posts of the year

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