China’s top science funding agencies – the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China – have issued new open access policies on research in a move to make research widely available.
The current paper argues for bridging the ‘relevance gap’ in management research and education by creating educational programmes that bring together experienced managers and management researchers. In the ‘Executive Research Programme’ discussed in this paper, managers were paired up with researchers to conduct a collaborative research project that resulted in a paper presented at an academic conference. The collaborative process was supported by 20 course days on topics such as the philosophy of science, methodology and overviews over the core disciplines of management science. This paper presents the programme and discusses experiences of the involved researchers and managers. The results suggest that programmes of this kind may provide a liminal space for managers and researchers where new and relevant knowledge is developed.
The authors: "Taken together, the ERP, beyond having produced a number of interesting research projects, also contributes to building sustainable bridges between theory and practice. The managers have developed into theoretically and methodologically well-equipped practitioners and the researchers have elaborated their understanding of and networks in practice. We can see that relations between managers and researchers are sustained beyond the programme and several combinations of manager-researchers are involved in or planning follow-up projects. The participating managers have also widened their academic networks and continuously use academics as an input to their managerial activities."
Developing researching managers and relevant research – the ‘executive research programme’Andreas Werra* & Lars Strannegårda Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 2013
Peer review is often considered the gold standard for reviewing research proposals. However, it is not always the best methodology for every research funding process. Public and private funders that support research as wide-ranging as basic science, defence technology and social science use a diverse set of strategies to advance knowledge in their respective fields. This report highlights a range of approaches that offer alternatives to, or modifications of, traditional peer review — alternatives that address many of the shortcomings in peer review effectiveness and efficiency. The appropriateness of these different approaches will depend on the funder's organisational structure and mission, the type of research they wish to fund, as well as short- and long-term financial constraints.
We hope that the information presented in this pack of cards will inspire experimentation amongst research funders by showing how the research funding process can be changed, and give funders the confidence to try novel methods by explaining where and how similar approaches have been used previously. We encourage funders to be as inquisitive about their funding systems as they are about the research they support and make changes in ways that can be subsequently evaluated, for instance using randomised controlled trials. Such an approach would allow researchers to learn more about the effects of different methods of funding and, over time, to improve their knowledge of the most effective ways to support research.
Alternatives to Peer Review in Research Project Funding2013 Update , RAND Susan Guthrie,Benoit Guerin,Helen Wu,Sharif Ismail,Steven Wooding
The ‘tyranny of relevance’ captures a widespread sense of concern among social and political scientists that their academic freedom and professional autonomy is under threat from a changing social context in which scholars are increasingly expected to demonstrate some form of social ‘relevance’, ‘impact’ or ‘engagement’ beyond academe. This article attempts to reframe the current debate by reflecting upon the history of the discipline and different forms of scholarship in order to craft an argument concerning the need for political scientists to rediscover ‘the art of translation’. This, in turn, facilitates a more sophisticated grasp of key concepts, emphasises the need for the discipline to engage with multiple publics in multiple ways, and suggests that engaging with non-academic audiences is likely to improve not simply the discipline's leverage in terms of funding, or scholarship in terms of quality, but also teaching in terms of energy and relevance. The simple argument of this article is not therefore that political science has become irrelevant, but that it has generally failed to promote and communicate the social value and benefit of the discipline in an accessible manner. Resolving this situation is likely to demand a little political imagination.
The argument is not that academics should become public intellectuals, but rather more akin to specific or critical intellectuals in the sense of bringing new perspectives, expertise or insights to bear on contemporary debates. The notion of critical intellectuals injects a very clear normative or political dimension which grates against the view of many critics that the current emphasis on relevance represents little more than the (tyrannical) imposition of a shallow market-based and instrumental logic that should be resisted – resisted on the basis that the need to be viewed as ‘engaged’, ‘relevant’ or having some form of demonstrable ‘impact’ risks sterilising the study of politics and silencing critical voices.A different ‘road to relevance’ might interpret the changing context not as a threat but as an opportunity to showcase exactly why the study of politics matters, to forge a deeper and more reflective model of scholarship, to redefine the boundaries of the discipline and to increase the leverage position of the discipline vis-à-vis external research funders."
The Tyranny of Relevance and the Art of TranslationMatthew Flinders
Pyne targets red tape in research grants The Australian In a speech to be delivered at Monash University today, Mr Pyne says a Coalition government will consider introducing a preliminary "expression of interest" stage in which weaker research...
Jonathan O'Donnell's insight:
On the face of it, I don't know that an EoI process will cut red tape.
Daniel Donahoo: "One of the most enjoyable games I’ve been a part of in recent times has been an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) being run by an innovative teacher from Australia" ...
DRC: Jess McCulloch's participation at StoryWorld 2012 last week sparked a lot of interest. So, here's an article from the archive which gives great insight into the fantastic work that she's doing ...
One of the most enjoyable games I’ve been a part of in recent times has been an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) being run by an innovative teacher from Australia. We usually think of ARGs as large scale, requiring lots of resources and being part of a marketing campaign for a new movie – or as some funky, alternative techy game that the cool kids play. But it doesn’t have to be.
Jess McCulloch teaches Mandarin in Australian schools and she sent me a tweet asking if my boys (aged 7 and 9 years) might be interested in a game that teaches them about how languages are structured. Of course I said yes. All she needed to begin was our home address and the boys’ names.
The next thing that happened… we received a letter in the mail addressed to my kids. They didn’t recognize the handwriting and they curiously opened it. What they found was an A4 sheet of paper with a Chinese Character on it, and a URL. They were puzzled. My eldest suggested we type the URL into the computer and when we did we were opened up to a world of secret agents, lessons on language and mission after mission that would help them solve the mystery of the character on their piece of paper.
Jess has created an an ARG targeting younger school children called “The Blackline Mystery.” Through email and live Skype sessions with her “virtual agents” she sets missions that they must complete online. She uses video and letters in the mail to give the game a stronger sense of reality and in doing so has my children hooked....
I've benefited from different types of internal university funding for my research over the years. The schemes I've accessed range from conference money to pilot project grants and new staff grants. They've offered the ...
(Guest blog by Ragnhild Freng Dale. For more information on collusion between oil companies & universities in Britain, see Platform's report Knowledge & Power) A damning statement from the ...
Jonathan O'Donnell's insight:
"After months of deliberation over the ethics of petroleum research, the Norwegian National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) came to a strong conclusion: oil-related research at universities is unethical and irresponsible if it undermines climate targets."
"We are witnessing the transition to yet another scholarly communication system — one that will harness the technology of the Web to vastly improve dissemination. What the journal did for a single, formal product (the article), the Web is doing for the entire breadth of scholarly output. The article was an attempt to freeze and mount some part of the scholarly process for display. The Web opens the workshop windows to disseminate scholarship as it happens, erasing the artificial distinction between process and product. Over the next ten years, the view through these open windows will inform powerful, online filters; these will distil communities' impact judgements algorithmically, replacing the peer-review and journal systems."
NATURE | COMMENT
Scholarship: Beyond the paperJason Priem, Nature, 495, 437–440 (28 March 2013) doi:10.1038/495437a
Since the 1990s, the scope of research evaluation has widened to encompass the societal products (outputs), societal use (societal references) and societal benefits (changes in society) of research. Research evaluation has been extended to include measures of the (1) social, (2) cultural, (3) environmental and (4) economic returns from publicly funded research. Even though no robust or reliable methods for measuring societal impact have yet been developed. In this study, we would like to introduce an approach which, unlike the currently common case study approach (and others), is relatively simple, can be used in almost every subject area and delivers results regarding societal impact which can be compared between disciplines. Our approach to societal impact starts with the actual function of science in society: to generate reliable knowledge. That is why a study (which we would like to refer to as an assessment report) summarising the status of the research on a certain subject represents knowledge which is available for society to access. Societal impact is given when the content of a report is addressed outside of science (in a government document, for example).
the authors: "Our approach is essentially relatively simple, but is based directly on the formal scientific communication process. Unlike the case studies approach, which can only provide insight by example into the social impact of a research unit, the research assessment approach can provide a wider view. Appropriate assessment reports with a verifiable
impact can be produced for almost every subject area. As scientists are used to writing about their research, it should require much less effort to produce an assessment report than to engage with many other approaches to the generation of societal impact. We also suggest that assessment reports are published regularly. This will allow them to appear on a scientist’s publication list like any other publication and contribute to his or her reputation."
How should the societal impact of research be generated and measured? A proposal for a simple and practicable approach to allow interdisciplinary comparisonsJournalScientometrics, 2013 DOI10.1007/s11192-013-1020-x
The prevalence of multi-national and cross-disciplinary collaborative in the production of knowledge defines modern science as a social enterprise that extends beyond political, social, and geographic boundaries. The purpose of this study was to assess global trends in the composition and impact of multinational research teams. By examining the bibliometric data of 3.7 million primary research articles published from 1975 to 2005, it was ascertained that the frequency and scale of international collaborations has increased globally. Of note, the publications of many countries associated with lower research output were more often consistently affiliated with other nations across the time frame studied. By analyzing the number of times a publication is cited, it was discovered that multinational research studies have a greater research impact than research without an international presence, although the number of affiliated nations does not strictly correlate with citations. Taken together, this study provides insight into the dynamics of research teams which may better inform us how scientific partnerships between countries may be fostered and which collaborations may be advantageous.
The author:"This study demonstrates that multinationalteams have an increasing role in the production of knowledge and are evolving into larger scale structures of three or more nationalities. It was also shown that developing countries are more often associated with international collaboratives when compared to developed countries. Lastly, the citation advantage of international collaborations diminishes with larger collaborations (three or more national affiliations) irrespective of the year of publication."
Organization and role of international collaboration in research production Hsieh, David PhD thesis, The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix
Abstract: Philanthropy plays a major role in university-based scientific, engineering and medical research in the United States contributing over $4Billion annually to operations, endowment and buildings devoted to research. When combined with endowment income, university research funding from science philanthropy is $7Billion a year. This major contribution to U.S. scientific competitiveness comes from private foundations as well as gifts from wealthy individuals. From the researcher’s perspective, analysis in this paper demonstrates that science philanthropy provides almost 30% of the annual research funds of those in leading universities. And yet science philanthropy has been largely overshadowed by the massive rise of Federal research funding and, to a lesser extent, industry funding. Government and industry funding have drawn intensive analysis, partly because their objectives are measureable: governments generally support broad national goals and basic research, while industry finances projects likely to contribute directly to useful products. In contrast, philanthropy’s contribution to overall levels of scientific funding, and, more importantly, the distribution of philanthropy across different types of research is poorly understood. To fill this gap, we provide the first empirical evaluation of the role of science philanthropy in American research universities. The documented extent of science philanthropy and its strong emphasis on translational medical research raises important questions for Federal policymakers. In determining their own funding strategies, they must no longer assume that their funding is the only source in shaping some fields of research, while recognizing that philanthropy may ignore other important fields.
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