Posts By / Peter Wallace

ESRC Social Science Festival

Professor Ruth Towse and Professor Martin Kretschmer have been awarded funding from the ESRC (RES-622-26-565) to organise an event as part of the Festival of Social Science 2012.

The symposium ‘What constitutes evidence for copyright policy?’ will be held on 8 November 2012 in the Executive Business Centre.

Professors Towse and Kretschmer write: “This interactive event offers the opportunity for discussion on evidence for copyright policy between social scientists, policy-makers and producers and users of copyright works. Copyright law is a topical and contentious area that affects a wide range of stakeholders with differing views on copyright policy. The need for evidence-based policy on copyright policy was emphasised in the Hargreaves Review and has led to several calls for evidence from stakeholders. The responses they provide to the Intellectual Policy Office are varied in nature and quality; the IPO has responded by issuing guidelines on what constitutes acceptable evidence (which itself is contested).

“Besides being a matter of pressing public concern, copyright also attracts the interest of a broad range of social science disciplines each with its own rules of evidence. The emphasis on economic growth as the objective of copyright policy has shifted the need for evidence in the direction of economics but economic evidence is not always easily available. Nor it is the case that only quantitative evidence is regarded as valid.”

The event will involve the following:

  1. Social scientists in a range of disciplines will explore their perceptions of evidence in non-technical terms and discuss their research findings on copyright. The aim is to develop a perspective on what evidence social scientists believe is relevant for copyright policy-making purposes.
  2. Representatives of stakeholder organisations that have responded with evidence to the IPO’s calls for evidence will explain what to them is relevant evidence.
  3. IPO staff responsible for assessing responses to calls for evidence have already committed to participate in this event. They will explain how they use the information they receive from stakeholder meetings and calls for evidence to develop policy measures.

If you are interested to participate, please contact Dr Rebecca Edwards (Research Development Officer, Public Engagement): redwards@bournemouth.ac.uk

Emerald Literati Network 2012 Awards for Excellence

Professor Jonathan Parker

Professor Jonathan Parker, Deputy Dean for Research in the School of Health and Social Care has been chosen as an Outstanding Reviewer at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012. Each year Emerald names and rewards the Outstanding Reviewers who contribute to the success of the journals.  Each journal’s Editor has nominated the Reviewer they believe has been that title’s most Outstanding Reviewer.

The most Outstanding Reviewers are chosen following consultation amongst the journal’s Editors, whom are eminent academics or managers. Professor Parker was selected for the very impressive and significant contribution he made as a Reviewer to The Journal of Adult Protection throughout 2011.

International placements deemed priceless

Bournemouth University’s Professor Jonathan Parker and Dr Sara Crabtree have been examining the true benefits an international placement has on a student’s learning experience, employability and future career.

The study, conducted alongside Parker and Crabtree’s BU colleague Clare Cutler, examined a range of aspects of inter-cultural learning arising from placements. Current students and graduates were questioned about their confidence, cultural attitudes, employer feedback and other factors arising from the international placement experience.

Professor Parker explained: “This research has shown how working in totally different and sometimes physically inhospitable cultural environments, develops students’ confidence to practice in varied, challenging and unknown situations. This is so important when they come back to work in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country like the UK.”

While the study has primarily focused on international placements in Parker’s own research area of social work, it is already being applied to other disciplines. “We are now surveying students taking international placements in our School of Tourism and these research findings are equally positive,” he explained. “But the concept can be much more widely applied to encompass any career working with the general public.”

But there’s one big problem holding many UK students back: “As a general rule, UK students are very poor at languages, which are so important in so many aspects of life.”

This apparent ‘failing’ of the school system, whereby languages are not compulsory at GCSE level, needs to be addressed if students are going to reap the rewards of international placement schemes such as Erasmus. “Students need a basic degree of language skill,” Parker concluded. “It should be compulsory”.

This international placements research project is supported through BU’s Fusion fund, promoting projects which create a unique academic experience through the powerful fusion of research, education and professional practice.

More information about Professor Jonathan Parker’s and Dr Sara Crabtree’s research can be viewed on BURO.

ECOSAL-Atlantis: An ecotourism project

Bournemouth University (BU) hosted a visit from the national co-ordinators of ECOSAL-Atlantis last week; an EU ecotourism project recording and promoting the heritage of salt production around the Atlantic Coasts of the UK, France, Spain and Portugal.

The ECOSAL-Atlantis project goal is to create a traditional salt-working route to highlight the fascinating archaeological and ecologically characteristics of these historic landscapes, thereby encouraging economic success of small-scale salt production and tourism development.

BU is the sole UK partner in this project, providing invaluable archaeological and ecological expertise. Researchers are also helping to develop ‘Traditional Salt-working: The Atlantic Route’ and are working with heritage consultants A&A Fielding Ltd to encourage other organisations and sites to join in the creation of the Route.

Other partners have been busy completing the heritage inventory of salt working sites, as well as collecting environmental data from coastal lagoons. This last aspect includes work on the eco-system of these fragile landscapes, producing guidelines that will protect them.

UK national co-ordinator Mark Brisbane, Professor in the School of Applied Sciences at BU said: “This is a highly innovative and original project that brings together archaeology and heritage, ecology and biodiversity, tourism and economic development and forces them to work together in a novel way for the long-term good of these fragile and precious landscapes”.

During their stay the ECOSAL team visited Poole Museums and Poole Harbour, including Brownsea Island, where they witnessed work taking place in the lagoon, recorded bird species and analyzed factors encouraging breeding and length of stay.

Poole Harbour has been an area of salt production from the late Iron Age period (if not before) carrying on into the Roman period, with sites making salt excavated at Ower and Hamworthy. Salt production must have continued into the medieval period around the harbour area but by the 18th century the salt-works were at Lilliput, where they used peat-fired boiling houses crystallising salt from seawater drawn from ponds in what is now known as the Blue Lagoon.

The ECOSAL team also visited the salt marshes in the Lymington-Keyhaven nature reserve, where Hampshire County Council and St Barbe Museum are creating the Lymington Salt Walk.

Now a tranquil wildlife haven, 200 years ago this area was the centre of the second most important site for salt production after Liverpool. The land would have been covered by salt pans where brine was concentrated, windmills would have pumped it into storage tanks and boiling houses which then used coal to bring the brine to a low boil in large iron or copper pans, producing salt as the water boiled away. There was also a network of inlets with docks for boats to deliver the coal and collect the salt. The success of this industry directly contributed to the wealth of the town of Lymington and helped to build many of its important 18th and early 19th century buildings.

There are 13 organizations involved in the ECOSAL project, from four countries (Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom) as follows: Diputación Foral de Alava, Spain (project leader), Ecomuseé du Marais Salant, France, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, Communauté de comunes Océan – Marais de Monts, France, Communauté de comunes de l’ile d’Oléron, France, Cap Atlantique, France, Asociación Cultural Amigos de las Salinas de Interior, Spain, Fundación Espacios Naturales Protegidos de Andalucía (Andanatura), Spain, , Bournemouth University, UK, University of Aveiro, Portugal, Aveiro Municipality, Portugal, Rio Maior Municipality, Portugal and Municipality of Figueira da Foz, Portugal.

More information can be found on the Bournemouth University website.

Developing software to improve quality of life for disabled people

Bournemouth University (BU) is proud to be a part of an exciting project, aimed at improving the quality of life for people with physical and learning disabilities.

The SHIVA Project (Sculpture for Health-care: Interaction and Virtual Art in 3D) brings together computer science groups, including the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at BU, and medical organisations working with disabled people.

Professor Alexander Pasko is leading BU’s contribution to the SHIVA project: “The main idea behind SHIVA is to give people with disabilities the opportunity to do something in the area of 3D as a way of enhancing their creativity and expressing themselves.”

The project team are currently identifying the requirements of the medical organisations, in order to develop exercises to support a range of different patient needs. These exercises will also offer a wider range of activities for patients, which can increase the chances of a successful rehabilitation.

NCCA staff at BU are developing the 3D modelling software, which can be driven by gestures, as well as hosting the HyperFun project, which is a programming and language software tool, used to create, visualise, and fabricate volumetric 3D models.

One example case the project team are working on is to help improve physical activity in patients who have suffered a stroke.

“We are also working with children who are born disabled,” explained Professor Pasko, “helping them with simple tasks that engage and activate the right side of the brain.”

The final stages of the SHIVA Project will be to raise awareness of the exercises within the medical profession, so they can be applied in the education or rehabilitation process.

The project aims to be completed by February 2014, when an exhibition will be held to display the work of the disabled participants. This will be made possible through the use of 3D printers currently available at BU.

The other organisations involved in the project are the University of Lille in France, the HOPALE Foundation from France and the Victoria School from Poole. For further information and updates visit the project website.

The SHIVA project is part-funded thanks to the action of the European Union and with a contribution of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

BU is world number one for fish biology research

Research emerging from the Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Bournemouth University (BU) is rated the best in the world for the study of fish biology.

Head of the Centre, ProfessorRudy Gozlan, said: “Fish are carried by a vascular network of rivers and are the blood of millions of people that rely on healthy inland fisheries for food, business and sport fishing. We are delighted that our research contributes to that knowledge and comes in support of human communities all around the world.”

The statistic is from the bibliographic database ‘Scopus’, which calculates institutional strengths, based on article clusters. 

Institutions are ranked according to three measures:

  • Publication leadership, calculated through the proportion of articles from BU in the fish biology cluster
  • Reference leadership, calculated through the proportion of citations in the fish biology cluster that cite BU articles
  • State-of-the-art leadership, outlining how recent BU’s fish biology references are.

The accolade comes as BU researchers enter discussions with the Environment Agency regarding the testing of wild fish populations for the deadly parasite Sphaerothecum destruens.

More commonly known as the Rosette Agent, the parasite killed 90% of UK salmon in lab tests and has been blamed for the rapid demise of Leucaspius delineatus, or the sunbleak species, in parts of Europe.

Professor Gozlan said: “Since the first discovery of the Rosette Agent in wild populations five years ago we have carried out a set of tests and all species were highly susceptible to infection. We have carried out further tests in semi-natural conditions and found the same results. We looked at one wild fish population and found the disease present. In California our colleagues did the same in a population of returning salmon and found the parasite in around 40% of the fish. The Environment Agency will not determine the impact of the Rosette Agent unless they start specific health checks.”

More information on the Centre for Conservation Ecology and Environmental Sciences can be found on the centre’s webpages.

Martin Kretschmer in the Financial Times

Professor Kretschmer, Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management at Bournemouth University (BU) has commented in the Financial Times in a full page analysis article on rent-seeking.

The article titled ‘Barriers to break through’ discusses economic rents arising from legal monopolies, such as a limited number of taxi licences, or extended periods of copyright protection. Rents allow some to grow rich at the expense of others, and create an incentive to devote resource to lobbying in pursuit of such rents. On copyright, the article says:

“Martin Kretschmer, a law professor at Bournemouth University in England, helped to fight a losing battle against a colossal creation of rents in Europe last year: the extension of copyright on recorded music from 50 to 70 years. The new law transfers €1bn out of the pockets of European consumers and into those of music companies and ageing rock stars.”

“The social argument for copyright is that it gives an incentive for artists to create work. But, as Mr Kretschmer says, ‘the fact that the extension was retrospective gives the game away really’. The Beatles have already recorded Rubber Soul; another 20 years of royalties will not make them record it again. The consensus among academics who study the term of copyright that would best balance the interests of consumers and creators, he adds, is that ’14 years is not an unreasonable starting point’.”

‘Barriers to break through’, by Robin Harding, US economics editor, 23 February, p. 11:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7e316f80-5c80-11e1-911f-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1nyOZZ3Fk

BU Professor of Law presents in Geneva

WIPO logoBournemouth University’s Director for the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM), Professor Martin Kretschmer, has been invited to speak at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

Professor Kretschmer will open the ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ seminar series on 15 February 2012, with a presentation entitled ‘Private copying and fair compensation: An empirical study of copyright levies in Europe’.

His work is the first independent empirical assessment of the European levy system as a whole. It consolidates the evidence on levy setting, collection and distribution and reviews the scope of consumer permissions associated with levy payments.

Professor Kretschmer will present the results of three studies into printer/scanners, portable music/video/game devices, and tablet computers, including his analysis of the relationship between VAT, levy tariffs and retail prices in 20 levy and non-levy countries.

The full seminar series sees six presentations in Geneva between now and November, each by one of the world’s top Intellectual Property researchers. The full programme, including presentations by Professors of Stanford University and the University of Tokyo can be accessed online.

A video version of Professor Kretschmer’s and other ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ presentations will be available after the event through the WIPO website.

View Keynote Speeches from the FSBI 2011 conference

The Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) 2011 Annual International Conference took place at BU in July last year.

The week-long event organised by the FSBI and BU focused on the damage being done to aquatic ecosystems and fish communities, and discussed how scientific evidence could be used to benefit the world’s fisheries.

The conference attracted many esteemed Scientists from a total of 22 countries who presented their research over five days.

Four of the keynote speeches, as well as an overview of the conference, can be seen below.

An overview of the Fish Diversity and Conservation: Current State of Knowledge

Julian Olden (University of Washington) Invasive Species and Alternative Global Futures for Freshwater Ecosystems

Ya-hui Zhaoyh (Chinese Academy of Science) – Out of Sight Out of Mind: Current Knowledge on Chinese Cave Fish

David Dudgeon – Asian River Fishes in the Anthropecene – Conservation Challenges in an era of Rapid Environmental Change

Steve Railsback – Behaviour in Fish Conservation Models: Getting From “why” to “how”

Paul Skelton – Walking the Tightrope: Trends in African Freshwater Systematic Ichthyology

Assessing societal impact of social work research

Edwin Van TeijingenREF logoJonathan Parker
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the new assessment method for publically funded research in universities. Its controversial new ‘impact’ element rates work based on evidence of social, economic or cultural benefits generated from it. But how easily can such things be quantified, particularly in applied academic subjects like social work?

Professors Jonathan Parker and Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University have addressed these questions in their paper ‘The Research Excellence Framework (REF): Assessing the Impact of Social Work Research on Society’, published in Practice: Social Work in Action.

They argue that ‘the framework raises doubts about whether it is possible to capture fully the impact of social work research at all, and social work itself for that matter’, and stress that some pathways need to be identified to do this.

In suggesting ways to evidence impact, such as primary evaluative research, Parker and Van Teijlingen also outline the stumbling blocks. There are data protection laws and the expense and time of tying up research evaluation with another research project.

The solution, they say, is for social work research to be built and undertaken in partnership with social care agencies; that impact is everybody’s concern and practitioners and those who use social work services and their carers have a role to play in its creation and identification.

Parker and Van Teijlingen acknowledge that the REF will promote critical-thinking, engage practitioners and address the challenges of public spending restraint, but express a deep-seated concern that this new method of assessment will mark a loss of ‘conceptual, theoretical and critical’ research.

Although assessing research through improved social, economic, health, and environmental aspects of life is unlikely to be questioned, Parker and Van Teijlingen strongly argue that it should not be the only set of research outcomes recognised.  They argue that if the REF approach becomes common currency, ‘society is likely to lose the deeper understandings and meanings that have permeated thinking and, no doubt practice and behaviour.’

Both firmly believe BU’s research programme designed to enhance social work practice through continuing professional education has changed practice and influenced policy, as well as numerous other benefits to culture, public services, health, environment and quality of life.

Read Parker and Van Teijlingen’s full paper.