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10 DECEMBER 2013

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals

"Leading academic journals are distorting the scientific process and represent a 'tyranny' that must be broken, according to a Nobel prize winner who has declared a boycott on the publications.

Randy Schekman, a US biologist who won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine this year and receives his prize in Stockholm on Tuesday, said his lab would no longer send research papers to the top–tier journals, Nature, Cell and Science.

Schekman said pressure to publish in 'luxury' journals encouraged researchers to cut corners and pursue trendy fields of science instead of doing more important work. The problem was exacerbated, he said, by editors who were not active scientists but professionals who favoured studies that were likely to make a splash."

(Ian Sample, Monday 9 December 2013, The Guardian)

TAGS

2013 • academic credibility • academic impactacademic journalsacademic papersacademic workassessing impactassessment of scholarshipboycott • Cell and Science (journal) • citation-based measures of impactcredible information • cut corners • eLife (online journal) • journal impactlevel playing fieldmeasurement of impactmedical researchNature (journal)Nobel Prizeperformativity • physiology or medicine • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • Randy Schekman • research impactresearch papers • science journals • science researchscientific community • scientific credibility • scientific processStockholmThe Guardian • top-tier journals • Wellcome Trust • working scientists

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
12 FEBRUARY 2013

UK Arts & Humanities Research Council: A Definition of Research

"research activities should primarily be concerned with research processes, rather than outputs. This definition is built around three key features and your proposal must fully address all of these in order to be considered eligible for support:

It must define a series of research questions, issues or problems that will be addressed in the course of the research. It must also define its aims and objectives in terms of seeking to enhance knowledge and understanding relating to the questions, issues or problems to be addressed

It must specify a research context for the questions, issues or problems to be addressed. You must specify why it is important that these particular questions, issues or problems should be addressed; what other research is being or has been conducted in this area; and what particular contribution this project will make to the advancement of creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in this area

It must specify the research methods for addressing and answering the research questions, issues or problems. You must state how, in the course of the research project, you will seek to answer the questions, address the issues or solve the problems. You should also explain the rationale for your chosen research methods and why you think they provide the most appropriate means by which to address the research questions, issues or problems.

Our primary concern is to ensure that the research we fund addresses clearly–articulated research questions, issues or problems, set in a clear context of other research in that area, and using appropriate research methods and/or approaches.

The precise nature of the research questions, issues or problems, approaches to the research and outputs of the work may vary considerably, embracing basic, strategic and applied research. The research questions, issues, problems, methods and/or approaches may range from intellectual questions that require critical, historical or theoretical investigation, to practical issues or problems that require other approaches such as testing, prototyping, experimental development and evaluation. The outputs of the research may include, for example, monographs, editions or articles; electronic data, including sound or images; performances, films or broadcasts; or exhibitions. Teaching materials may also be an appropriate outcome from a research project provided that it fulfils the definition above.

The research should be conceived as broadly as possible and so consideration should also be given to the outcomes of, and audiences for, the research. The outcomes of the research may only benefit other researchers and influence future research, but consideration must be given to potential opportunities for the transfer of knowledge into new contexts where the research could have an impact.

Creative output can be produced, or practice undertaken, as an integral part of a research process as defined above. The Council would expect, however, this practice to be accompanied by some form of documentation of the research process, as well as some form of textual analysis or explanation to support its position and as a record of your critical reflection. Equally, creativity or practice may involve no such process at all, in which case it would be ineligible for funding from the Council."

(Arts and Humanities Research Council)

TAGS

academic research • accompanying documentation • advancement of creativity • AHRCapplied researchartwork and exegesisbasic researchclinical researchcontribution to knowledge • creative output • critical investigationcritical reflection • definition of research • experimental development • historical investigation • impact and engagement • knowledge and understandingknowledge transfer • new contexts • new insights • problem for action • problems to be addressed • prototyping • record and reflect • research activities • research aims and objectives • research context • research impactresearch methodsresearch outcomeresearch processesresearch projectresearch questions • strategic research • testingtextual analysis • theoretical investigation • transfer of knowledgeUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
29 APRIL 2012

Citations and impact factors are old hat: the Web 2.0 generation needs metrics to match today's scholarship

"As a young academic, I am reliably informed that the landscape of scholarly communication is not what it was 20 years ago. But, despite all that has changed, it seems that we still largely rely upon the same tired and narrow measures of quality and academic impact – namely, citation counts and journal impact factors.

As someone who has used the internet in almost every aspect of their academic work to date, it's hard for me to ignore the fact that these mechanisms, in predating the web, largely ignore its effects.

By holding up these measures as incentives, we appear to have our eye firmly fixed on the hammer and not the nail, adjusting our research habits in order to maximise scores and ignoring issues such as why we publish in the first place."

(Matthew Gamble, 28 July 2011, Times Higher Education)

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TAGS

academic blogs • academic discussion • academic impactacademic papersacademic work • alt-metrics • alt-metrics community • alt-metrics movement • altmetrics.org • assessing impactassessment of scholarshipblogCERNcitation • citation counts • citation-based measures • citation-based measures of impactdiverse metricsengaged scholars • existing measures • funding decisions • Harvard Universityimpact • impressions of impact • incentive • Internetjournal impact • journal impact factors • journal output • measurementmeasurement of impactMendeleymetricsnarrow measures • narrow measures of academic impact • narrow measures of quality • new measurement frontieronline • online reference-management service • peer review • platform for scholarly communication • practices of scholarly communication • products of scholarly communication • publication of academic papersquantitative study of scholarship • ReaderMeter • readermeter.org • real-time readership • reference manager • research habits • research impactresearch output • Rouse Ball • Samuel Arbesman • scholarly activity • scholarly activity on the web • scholarly communication • scientific discoveries • second scientific revolution • Tim Berners-Lee • timely indications of impact • Timothy Gowers • traces of scholarship • TwitterUniversity of CambridgeUniversity of North Carolina • utility of the web • Web 2.0 • web as a platform • young academics

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 JANUARY 2011

Communicating knowledge: How & why UK researchers publish & disseminate their findings

"The motivations that lead researchers to publish in different formats–particularly in scholarly journals–differ significantly across disciplines. Researchers in the sciences are more likely to see publication in a learned journal as a 'natural' means of communication with their desired audience, while their colleagues in engineering, the humanities and the social sciences are more likely to see it as meeting essentially external requirements for research assessment and career advancement.

In these latter disciplines, therefore, the rise of journals is more closely associated with an environment where there is increasing emphasis on measuring, assessing, and evaluating research, its outputs and impact."

(HEFCE on behalf of JISC, UK, 2009)

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TAGS

2009academic journalsassessmentaudience • career advancement • disciplinedisseminationfindingshumanitiesJISC • journal article • knowledgelegitimation • means of communication • measurementperformativityposterposter presentationpublicationpublishingRAEresearch • research assessment • research culture • research evaluation • research impactresearch outputresearcherscholarly journalssciencesocial sciencesUK

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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