Science policy

Bibliometrics Science policy
The death of indicators
November 1, 2017
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In last week’s post, I presented some of the major points of Rémi Barré’s keynote speech at STI 2017. In brief, he divides the evolution of S&T indicators into three phases. The first phase is one of indicators promising to elucidate (and thereby improve) the inner workings of science. The second phase is one of them being co-opted into the neoliberal turn, exposing scientific research to competitive pressures that Dr. Barré identifies as pushing science into multiple crises. The third phase is a casting off of the complicity with neoliberalism, using indicators to start opening up discussions about science & technology rather than shutting them down. In this post I’ll expand on this third phase.
Bibliometrics Science policy
Indicating a neoliberal tendency
October 25, 2017
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Continuing on from my previous discussion of impact, the second keynote speech at the 2017 Science & Technology Indicators (STI) conference in Paris was given by Rémi Barré of IFRIS, who echoed many of the points raised by Ismael Rafols. Barré’s call to action—riffing on a very traditional theme—was, “Les indicateurs sont morts! Vive les indicateurs!” Indicators are dead! Long live indicators! The call was provocative, and his talk highlighted some interesting ways in which the struggles we face in research & innovation management are symptoms of a broad and powerful trend in the political sphere: neoliberalism.
Data mining Science policy
Data mining: revisiting our definition
October 4, 2017
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In our ongoing blog series on data mining for policy, we’ve been trying to synthesize a lot of information into short, bite-sized chunks for our audience. Invariably, well-intentioned as such efforts are, something valuable always ends up on the cutting room floor. In this case, we were a bit too hasty in providing the definition of data mining itself, which one of our readers followed up to ask about. Our initial definition was put together through literature review and our earliest experiences with data mining, but the opportunity to revisit that definition more recently has enabled us to uncover some further nuances that we hadn’t yet appreciated.
Data mining Science policy
Data access: Vast possibilities and inequities
September 27, 2017
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In our ongoing series on data mining to inform policy, we are giving the topic of data access its own post because of the implications it had for the success or failure of our case studies. The simple reality is that you can’t mine data that don’t exist (or that may as well not exist when they are functionally or realistically impossible to access). As a result, access is particularly important since it underpins the rest of the work in a data mining project. Let’s tease this topic out a little, shall we?
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.
Data mining Open access Science policy
Data mining: Open access policies and outcomes
September 20, 2017
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During our data mining project for the European Commission, one of the case studies we undertook to test our framework to guide data mining for policy research explored open access (OA) publications in the European context. Specifically, the question we aimed to tackle was whether institutional OA policies have an effect on the share of an institution’s papers available in OA, and if so, to what degree. An answer to this question would provide actionable advice for institutions that are looking to increase the availability of their research. Here’s what we found.
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.
Data mining Science policy
Data mining: Exploring the connection between innovation, growth and prosperity
September 13, 2017
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In the most recent post in our ongoing data mining blog series, we explored the effect on innovation of research collaboration across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries. That topic was worth exploring because beliefs that such collaborations are effective levers to promote innovation are foundational to many policy choices, and there is scant evidence available to determine whether these levers work or not (and how powerful they are). The present post will take that line of exploration one step further: we usually promote innovation as a way to drive social and/or economic prosperity, creating “jobs and growth,” often with some qualification about these developments being “inclusive,” “smart,” or “sustainable,” or helping out “the middle class.” Such approaches have been particularly emphasized since the Financial Crisis a decade ago. The purpose of this blog post—and the case study on which it is based—is to explore the relationship between innovation and growth, especially for small and fast-growing firms.
Data mining Science policy
Data mining: Cross-boundary collaboration and innovation
September 6, 2017
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In our data mining project for the European Commission, two of the six case studies treated levers for promoting innovation, and we’ll start to tease those apart here. In brief, collaboration across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries is believed to promote innovation, while innovation in turn is believed to support broader economic and social prosperity. Even […]
Data mining Science policy
Budgets, timelines and expectations: The influence of project novelty
August 30, 2017
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In the previous post in our ongoing series on data mining for policy, I touched on the importance of organizational context for successful management of these projects. In today’s installment, we dig into novelty and the pressure it exerts on the budgets, timelines and expectations of the project. Novelty is an interesting beast. Alongside the […]