Academics love to measure things. But how well do they react to being measured? In the UK, that question has been thrown into sharp focus by the Research Excellence Framework, dubbed REF. It is a massive exercise, in which every university in the land has been invited, to prove the quality of the research it undertakes.
The voyage towards open access was never going to be easy, especially in a field as conservative as academic publishing. Of late the seas have been stirred to greater turbulence by the waves of activity spreading open access across the globe.The increasing apparent complexities surrounding open access can be off-putting. But given that the rise of open access publishing is now widely seen as inexorable it is more important than ever that researchers take the trouble to inform themselves about this issue.
Russian researchers are vehemently protesting a bill that would essentially liquidate the venerated Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and replace it with a newly -formed but as-yet poorly-defined body. The bill was passed its first and second reading on 1 July and 5 July 2013, respectively. It is slated to be signed into law when the Duma resumes session on 10 September. According to Russian law, substantive changes may not be made to a bill after it passes its second reading.
Since May 2013, Turkey has seen a wave of protests from part of the population expressing its opposition to conservative government moves imposed on a society that is no longer aligned with its traditional culture. Scientists in international circles expressed concerns about their Turkish colleagues, as reports of police violence and oppression emerged. They wonder how best to support the Turkish scientific community
Ever wondered whether it would be possible to look at societal questions in a literary way? The field of cultural literacy—known as literary and cultural studies (LCS)—does exactly that. Today, LCS research has changed from an exclusive focus on literary works to studying such phenomena as disability, multilingualism, nostalgia or texting.
A 30 years old Iranian physicist, called Omid Kokabee, languishes in jail in Teheran since January 2010. He has been condemned to 10 years for spying for the US government. His case has received the support of major scientific societies. But does it make sense that scientific organisations care about human rights issues, beyond their main, scientific mission? Is it useful? Or even desirable?
For the fourth consecutive year, resources allocated by the Spanish Government to R&D have been reduced. To assess its real impact, we need a detailed analysis. However, facts already speak for themselves. The 2013 annual budget approved by the Spanish Parliament reveals the government’s actual policy regarding R&D. To say the least, it is not always in line with politicians’ statements in the media.
The dreaded brain drain from the Western Balkans may actually be good for development, according to a report which finds that most students emigrate only to return more educated within five years, bringing back newly acquired skills. “Skill migration Read more […]
Last April, leading researchers, politicians and key players in European research funding discussed how Europe can finance and provide optimal conditions for excellent research. They adopted the so-called “Aarhus Declaration” which states that “when aiming for excellence, one should aim at the stars: a new knowledge which changes paradigms, invents new fields and opens opportunities for broad societal consequences.” Increasingly, European Union and national funding is anchored around the idea of excellence in research. But what exactly is excellence? Is this yardstick a fair measure of a scientist’s work? Questions are being raised about whether this distorts the research landscape in Europe.
New research evaluation indices may bring initial confusion, before the community finds its bearing in the new maze of alternative metrics. As quantum physicists well know, measuring a system ends up disturbing it. And changing the way we measure the outcome of research is currently ruffling many feather in the scientific community.
The impact of a stone falling at high speed in water represents, in a metaphoric way, the type of impact that scientists would like their ideas to have on research. Alternative metrics have emerged to weight the impact of researchers’ work, almost in real time. They have become the object of scholarly study to help validate them.
The European Union needs a million more researchers over the next decade and it plans to devote 3% of GDP to R&D by 2020 to keep up with its main economic competitors and be a knowledge-based economy, according to this year’s European Commission Researchers’ Read more […]