Year: 2014

When Chasing Prestige Becomes the Prize

A survey by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics suggests that researchers appreciate the benefits of competition but also fear how it can emphasize prestige over quality

5 years ago
Colin Firth at typewriter

Colin Firth: Author, Actually

Authorship of an article seems like it ought to be straightforward, but of course it’s not. Even with greater scrutiny, abuse of the process — both adding the wrong people and subtracting the right ones — continues.

5 years ago
Measuring spoons

REF: An Idea Whose Time Never Came

Reporting on panel looking at the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, Liz Morrish looks at whether the assessment tools created by government have extended their reach and left academics exposed.

5 years ago

Playing the Game of REF

A very strong overall REF performance signifies a large concentration of outstanding work. It is an unambiguous plus. All the same, precise league table positions in the REF, indicator by indicator, should be taken with a grain of salt.

5 years ago
HEFCE logo

We’re At Work on the Next Iteration of REF

Not all eyes will be glued to the release of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework on Thursday. Some of the people who built the REF are evaluating the current lessons to improve the next version.

5 years ago
Rama Thirunamachandran

A Quick Q&A on the REF With Its Creator

The Conversation asked the man who developed Britain’s Research Excellence Framework back in 2008, Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor and principal at Canterbury Christ Church University, to talk through it. We repost that conversation here.

5 years ago
university lecture hall

How Will Zero-Hour Contracts Change UK’s Academic Culture?

‘I did not contemplate the possibility that academics might rewarded for years of study, teaching, hard work with a no-obligations, no-guaranteed-income employment contract,’ says Daniel Nehring. And yet with zero-hour contracts entering academe, that un-reality is now here.

5 years ago

Finding Clarity for Our Most Basic Emotions

Sociologist Thomas Scheff argues that the terms for basic emotions, especially in English, are ‘wildly ambiguous.’ So he set out to determine conceptual guidelines for grief, fear/anxiety, anger, shame and pride as a step toward giving them consistent and useful academic meanings.

5 years ago

Peter Ghosh on Max Weber and ‘The Protestant Ethic’

Max Weber is recognized as a father of modern social science, but his work, developed in pre-World War I Germany, sometimes suffers in translation to today. In the latest Social Science Bites podcast, his pre-eminent interpreter explains how Weber remains relevant.

5 years ago
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