Higher education

Bibliometrics Higher education Science policy
Research impact now!
September 21, 2017
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In my previous post, I laid out some history of research assessment and measurement, all so that in this post I could explore research impact assessment, which was a major topic of discussion at the 2017 Science & Technology Indicators (STI) conference in Paris. In this post, I’ll summarize the major lines of discussion I encountered at STI, use the history from the last post as a basis for diagnosing those underlying challenges, and perhaps even hint at some avenues to resolve these tensions.
Bibliometrics Higher education Science policy
A short history of research impact
September 14, 2017
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During the 2017 Science & Technology Indicators (STI) conference in Paris, a number of discussions touched on impact assessment, which has been a topic of growing interest within the research community. That researchers are increasingly aware of impact, impact pathways and impact assessments comes as no great shock, given that the research policy community is increasingly focusing on impact as the basis for funding decisions. The discussions at STI raised some substantive concerns with the current trajectory of discussions about research impact. In this post, I’ll lay out some relevant history (as I understand it) that contextualizes current discussions about impact. In the next installment, I’ll summarize those points from STI 2017 that stood out to me as the most insightful (and provocative), drawing on the history laid out here in order to explore what I think these comments reflect about the underlying research system.
Higher education Science policy
Policy: whose problem is it anyway?
March 14, 2017
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In January, Sir Peter Gluckman—Chief Science Advisor to the PM of New Zealand, and global point man for science advice to government—gave the inaugural address at the Canadian Science Policy Centre lecture series. The discussion covered a lot of important points of difficulty for science and governance—and science in governance—that are emerging in the 21st […]
Higher education Science policy
Committee Outsiders: a quick win
March 7, 2017
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In a previous post on the need to “operationalize” policy questions into a format suitable for empirical research, I ended with a call to action for the community of academic historians and philosophers of science to come down from our ivory towers, roll up our sleeves, and apply our skills to mediate negotiations taking place […]
Higher education Science policy
Transdisciplinary research: a recipe for sectoral capture
February 21, 2017
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Now that I’ve put pen to paper and presented the notion of sectoral capture, I can finally put it to use! In this post, I’ll be exploring how sectoral capture is not only a huge risk in transdisciplinary research, but is actually embedded in the very definition of transdisciplinary research itself, calling for us to […]
Higher education Science policy
Flagging problems of capture
February 14, 2017
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The notion of disciplinary capture is a very useful conceptual tool, introduced in slightly different contexts: Brister (2016) in relation to the dynamics within interdisciplinary teams, and Frodeman, Briggle & Holbrook (2012) as well as Briggle and Frodeman (2016) in relation to the way that departmental and other academic structures influence the direction of philosophical […]
Bibliometrics Database Higher education Leiden Manifesto Science policy
Interdisciplinarity: the mutual adjustment of concept and indicator
December 8, 2016
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In their recently released report, Digital Science describe and assess the relationship between a range of candidate indicators for interdisciplinarity. Their objective is to assess the consistency between the indicators and attempt to discern a front runner in this race. Ultimately, though, they conclude that the indicators produce inconsistent findings, and finish with some remarks […]
Higher education Science policy
Negotiations at the science–policy interface
June 13, 2016
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In the lead-up to the last Canadian federal election, a lot of attention in the science policy community was dedicated to addressing the freedom of scientists to speak: the muzzling issue. In short, without the freedom to share results, analyses and conclusions, federal government scientists had no reasonable hope of having their work put the […]
Higher education Leiden Manifesto
Letter from two AAU faculty to AAU provosts re Academic Analytics
May 16, 2016
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Diana Hicks & Cassidy Sugimoto In August 2013, President Obama released the “Plan to Make College More Affordable: A Better Bargain for the Middle Class,” which announced the Administration’s intention to develop a rating system for colleges, with results eventually to be linked to federal student aid. Public comments were solicited, and the Association of […]