Category / Research assessment

Have you been involved with an event designed for the external community?

Then we want to hear from you!

The University is currently compiling the data for the annual Higher Education – Business & Community Interaction survey (HE-BCI) due to be submitted to HESA shortly. Data returned is used to calculate our HEIF grant.

We are asked to submit details of social, cultural and community events designed for the external community (to include both free and chargeable events) which took place between 1 August 2017 and 31 July 2018.

Event types that should be returned include, but are not limited to:

  • public lectures
  • performance arts (dance, drama, music, etc)
  • exhibitions
  • museum education
  • events for schools and community groups
  • business breakfasts

We cannot return events such as open days, Student Union activity, commercial conferences, etc.

All events that we ran as part of the Festival of Learning, ESRC Festival of Social Science and Cafe Scientifique series are likely to be eligible for inclusion and we will collate this information on your behalf centrally.

If you have been involved with any other event which could be returned, please could you email your contact as soon as possible (see below) and confirm: the event name and date, whether it was free or chargeable, the estimated number of attendees, and an estimate of how much academic time was spent preparing for (but not delivering) the event:

  • SciTech – Norman Stock
  • FoM – Rob Hydon
  • HSS – Deirdre Sparrowhawk
  • FMC – Laura Hampshaw
  • Professional Service – Julie Northam (RKEO)

The data returned is used by Research England to allocate the HEIF funding so it is important that we return as accurate a picture as possible.

Forthcoming RKEDF events

We have some great events coming up over the next few weeks to help support you in your research activity within the Research and Knowledge Exchange Development Framework (RKEDF)

We have also grouped the RKEDF events around your needs, so if, for example, you are an Early Career Researcher or need to know about external funding, you can click on the link to find all the RKEDF sessions that may assist you. You can also find related events by using the link on each session’s page.

November

Tuesday 6th November RKEDF: Research Ethics @ BU
Tuesday 6th November RKEDF: Impact Basics (FMC)
Wednesday 7th November RKEDF: Research Outputs – Writing Day
Wednesday 7th November RKEDF: Main Panel B UOA 11 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Wednesday 7th November RKEDF: Main Panel B – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Monday 12th November RKEDF: Main Panel B UOA 12 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Thursday 15th November RKEDF: Main Panel C UOA 14 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Thursday 15th November RKEDF: Main Panel C UOA 18 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Thursday 15th November RKEDF: Main Panel C UOA 23 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Thursday 15th November RKEDF: Main Panel C – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Friday 16th November RKEDF: Impact Basics (HSS)
Friday 16th November RKEDF: Impact Case Study Writing Retreat
Tuesday 20th November RKEDF: Impact Basics (FST)
Friday 23rd November RKEDF: SciVal Development – Scopus
Friday 23rd November RKEDF: SciVal Development – SciVal Introduction
Friday 23rd November RKEDF: SciVal Development – SciVal Intermediate
Friday 23rd November RKEDF: SciVal Development – SciVal for REF Purposes

December

Wednesday 5th December RKEDF: Writing Academy – Day 1 of 3
Monday 10th December RKEDF: Technical Bid Writing Workshop
Wednesday 12th December RKEDF: Main Panel D UOA 27 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Wednesday 12th December RKEDF: Main Panel D UOA 32 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Wednesday 12th December RKEDF: Main Panel D UOA 34 – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Wednesday 12th December RKEDF: Main Panel D – Improving the Quality Score of Your Output
Friday 14th December RKEDF: Impact Case Study Writing Retreat
Monday 17th December RKEDF: Main Panel A – Developing Impact Case Studies for your REF Panel: the good, bad and ugly
Tuesday 18th December RKEDF: Main Panel B – Developing Impact Case Studies for your REF Panel: the good, bad and ugly

The above list does not include events where attendance requires faculty nominations / applications or are part of the Early Career Researcher Network schedule for 18/19.

You can see all the Organisational Development and RKEDF events in one place on the handy calendar of events.

Please note that all sessions are now targeted, so look closely at the event page to ensure that the event is suitable for you. In addition, RKEDF events now require the approval of your Head of Department (or other nominated approver). Please follow the instructions given on the event page and the template email for you to initiate the booking request.

If you have any queries, please get in touch!

EU FIRST Project

A Bournemouth University team from the Faculty of Science and Technology visited University of Groningen for FIRST mid-term review. It was a very productive meeting with a lot of effective outcomes for research and knowledge exchange. Dr. Lai Xu and Dr. Paul de Vrieze are FIRST coordinators representing Bournemouth University and the team is pleased to announce that FIRST will continue to move towards a factory of the future for European Union.

If you want to know more about the project and get involved, please contact Dr. Lai Xu or Dr. Paul de Vrieze. You can also follow our social medial links on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube Channel.

During the mid-term review meeting, the FIRST EU project advisor Irina Elena Tiron giving a talk on RISE projects. A useful instrument for researchers in EU (and beyond).

Publishing systematic and scoping reviews to improve your research profile

With the forthcoming REF 2021 in mind we would like to encourage both staff and postgraduate students to consider writing up their literature reviews as journal articles. Systematic and scoping reviews are a great way of publishing quality publications. They are highly valued as REF submissions, especially, but not only, in the health field.

There is plenty of support at Bournemouth University: from academic colleagues, with vast experience in writing reviews, to the library team, who can advise on, for example, developing your systematic search strategy and which databases to search.

 

You can start with publishing your review question and research strategy on PROSPERO, international prospective register of systematic reviews. We would like to highlight just one BU example in the field of the social sciences.  FHSS PhD student Orlanda Harvey published her proposed review ‘Support for people who use anabolic androgenic steroids: an investigation into what they want and what they currently access’ late last year on PROSPERO [1].

You might like to have a look at reviews published by Bournemouth University staff, which can be found by searching BURO, our institutional repository of research outputs. Moreover, BU academics have published several methods papers on the doing and writing systematic reviews [2-4].

 

Information about searching the literature for systematic reviews is available on this guide by the library team.

 

Other pages with useful information include:

 

Hopefully we have encouraged you to think about publishing your literature reviews as separate articles, and to seek help early in that process!

 

José López Blanco & Edwin van Teijlingen

 

 

For further information, please contact:

José López Blanco, Faculty Librarian (Health and Social Sciences), Library & Learning Support, Academic Services at tel 67350 or email:  hsslibteam@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

References:

  1. Harvey, O., Parrish, M., van Teijlingen, E., Keen., S. (2017) Support for people who use anabolic androgenic steroids: an investigation into what they want and what they currently access. PROSPERO 2017 CRD42017075199 Available from: http://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?ID=CRD42017075199
  2. van Teijlingen E., Napper, M., Bruce, J., Ireland. J. (2006) Systematic reviews in midwifery, RCM Midwives Journal 9(5): 186-188.
  3. van Teijlingen, ER, Simkhada, B., Ireland J., Simkhada P., Bruce J. (2012) Evidence-based health care in Nepal: The importance of systematic reviews, Nepal Journal of Epidemiology 1(4): 114-118.
  4. Stewart, F., Fraser, C., Robertson, C., Avenell, A., Archibald, D., Douglas, F., Hoddinott, P., van Teijlingen, E., Boyers, D. (2014) Are men difficult to find? Identifying male-specific studies in MEDLINE and Embase, Systematics Reviews 3,78.

NIHR call for peer reviewers

The National Institute for Health Research are in urgent need of psychiatrists and psychologists to peer review funding applications.

See the original tweet here advertising this opportunity, and how to apply here*.

*The link takes you to how to apply as a professional peer reviewer, from any clinical speciality. You can review for the NIHR for professional development (amongst other initiatives), and they need a wide range of expertise:

  • Academics
  • Clinicians
  • Health service managers and clinicians
  • Practitioners
  • Public health and related professionals
  • Social care sector workers
  • Patients and the Public
  • Anyone whose work has a potential impact on health.

 

New multicentre international trial published in world leading respiratory medicine journal

Prof Alison McConnell of HSS’s iWell Research Centre has been part of an international, multi-centre placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive inspiratory muscle training for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The trial, published in this month’s edition of the journal Thorax (impact factor 8.272) tested whether the addition of specific training of the inspiratory muscles enhanced the benefits to patients of traditional pulmonary rehabilitation programmes. It’s well-established that when undertaken separately, both interventions are effective; improving exercise tolerance, breathlessness and quality of life. However, there has been great controversy about whether adding the two interventions together provides superior outcomes.

The trial involved five centres in Europe and Canada, and 219 patients with COPD, taking 6 years to complete. The data indicated that exercise endurance time and breathlessness improved to a greater extent in patients who received rehabilitation plus inspiratory muscle training. The study also found that, irrespective of group allocation, those participants who achieved the greatest improvement in their inspiratory muscle function, also showed the greatest improvements in functional and clinical outcomes.

The full paper is available via Open Access here:

http://thorax.bmj.com/content/thoraxjnl/early/2018/06/18/thoraxjnl-2017-211417.full.pdf

Deadline extended – call for EoIs: Leaders for UOA 2 and UOA 3 to drive REF 2021 preparations

The deadline for expressions of interest for Leaders for UOAs 2 and 3 has been extended to Monday 16 April at 5pm. EoIs should be sent by email to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

BU is preparing submissions for units of assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021. Preparation for each UOA is led by a UOA Leader who is supported by an Impact Champion and an Output Champion. From March 2018, UOA Leaders are recruited via an open and transparent process. All academic staff have the opportunity to put themselves forward for UOA Leader roles. The roles are until December 2020.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) from academic staff interested in leading preparations for two UOAs:

  • Public health, health services and primary care
  • Allied health professions, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy

UOA Leaders serve a term up to December 2020, although they can choose to step down during this time. The UOA Leader undertakes a vital role in driving and delivering BU’s REF submission, influencing the University’s preparations, shaping optimal submissions for each UOA and ultimately having a significant effect on BU’s REF 2021 results.

Key responsibilities of the UOA Leader role include:

  • Providing leadership, advice and support on all issues relating to research planning, impact, performance metrics and published guidance relating to the UOA
  • Considering the widest available staff pool for the UOA and present these options to the REF Committee (being mindful of where this potentially impacts upon other UOAs)
  • Having an institutional outlook for the REF, i.e. aiming to optimise BU’s overall REF performance
  • Optimising the UOA submission and that of related UOAs by working to mitigate weaknesses and to highlight strengths across all aspects of the submission
  • Ensuring that outputs undergo rigorous review, internally and externally in order to assess quality prior to inclusion for REF
  • Working with Impact champions and the Impact Working Group to understand the interrelationship of case study quality, selection, placement and staff numbers for the UOA
  • Leading on REF communications within departments represented in the UOA and be the key point of contact and advice with regard to the UOA for Heads of research entities, DDRPPs and Executive Deans
  • Working closely with RKEO who are managing the central REF preparation and submission process
  • Attend the REF Committee meetings

Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment and is recognised accordingly. UOA Leaders are given time to attend meetings and take responsibility for tasks. As such potential applicants should discuss their workload balance with their Head of Department before applying.

 

Application process:

To apply for either role, please submit a short statement (suggested length 300 words) stating which role you are interested in and explaining your interest in the role and what you could bring to it. This should be sent by email to Julie Northam by 5pm on Monday 16 April 2018.

The EoIs will be reviewed by a gender balanced panel comprising a DDRPP and a member of the professoriate. Applicants successful at this stage will be invited to an interview with the same panel.

The selection criteria used at EoI and interview stage are outlined below. Each criterion carries a total possible score of 5. The role will be offered to the highest scoring applicant. A member of the panel will provide feedback to all applicants.

  • Commitment, motivation and enthusiasm (scored out of 5): Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment. UOA Leaders need to be willing and able to make this commitment. They need to be enthusiastic about the REF and boosting research performance.
  • Skills and knowledge (scored out of 5): UOA Leaders should bring with them skills and knowledge to optimise BU’s REF preparations and submission (e.g. knowledge of the REF process, expertise in research metrics, leadership experience, knowledge about impact, experience of writing and delivering research strategies, etc).
  • Plans for preparing the UOA submission and awareness of the potential challenges and opportunities UOA Leaders are responsible for driving and delivering the UOA’s submission to REF 2021 whilst also maintaining an institutional outlook to optimise BU’s overall REF performance. They should have ideas for how they will do this and the potential challenges and opportunities of this, specific to the UOA.

 

Questions:

Questions regarding the process should be directed to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

UOA-specific questions should be directed to Prof Vanora Hundley (Deputy Dean for Research in HSS) or to Prof Tiantian Zhang (Deputy Dean for Research in FST)

Deadline today – call for EoIs: Leaders for UOA 2 and UOA 3 to drive REF 2021 preparations

Today (12 April) at 5pm is the deadline for EoIs for Leaders for UOAs 2 and 3. EoIs should be sent by email to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

BU is preparing submissions for units of assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021. Preparation for each UOA is led by a UOA Leader who is supported by an Impact Champion and an Output Champion. From March 2018, UOA Leaders are recruited via an open and transparent process. All academic staff have the opportunity to put themselves forward for UOA Leader roles. The roles are until December 2020.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) from academic staff interested in leading preparations for two UOAs:

  • Public health, health services and primary care
  • Allied health professions, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy

UOA Leaders serve a term up to December 2020, although they can choose to step down during this time. The UOA Leader undertakes a vital role in driving and delivering BU’s REF submission, influencing the University’s preparations, shaping optimal submissions for each UOA and ultimately having a significant effect on BU’s REF 2021 results.

Key responsibilities of the UOA Leader role include:

  • Providing leadership, advice and support on all issues relating to research planning, impact, performance metrics and published guidance relating to the UOA
  • Considering the widest available staff pool for the UOA and present these options to the REF Committee (being mindful of where this potentially impacts upon other UOAs)
  • Having an institutional outlook for the REF, i.e. aiming to optimise BU’s overall REF performance
  • Optimising the UOA submission and that of related UOAs by working to mitigate weaknesses and to highlight strengths across all aspects of the submission
  • Ensuring that outputs undergo rigorous review, internally and externally in order to assess quality prior to inclusion for REF
  • Working with Impact champions and the Impact Working Group to understand the interrelationship of case study quality, selection, placement and staff numbers for the UOA
  • Leading on REF communications within departments represented in the UOA and be the key point of contact and advice with regard to the UOA for Heads of research entities, DDRPPs and Executive Deans
  • Working closely with RKEO who are managing the central REF preparation and submission process
  • Attend the REF Committee meetings

Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment and is recognised accordingly. UOA Leaders are given time to attend meetings and take responsibility for tasks. As such potential applicants should discuss their workload balance with their Head of Department before applying.

 

Application process:

To apply for either role, please submit a short statement (suggested length 300 words) stating which role you are interested in and explaining your interest in the role and what you could bring to it. This should be sent by email to Julie Northam by 5pm on Thursday 12 April 2018.

The EoIs will be reviewed by a gender balanced panel comprising a DDRPP and a member of the professoriate. Applicants successful at this stage will be invited to an interview with the same panel.

The selection criteria used at EoI and interview stage are outlined below. Each criterion carries a total possible score of 5. The role will be offered to the highest scoring applicant. A member of the panel will provide feedback to all applicants.

  • Commitment, motivation and enthusiasm (scored out of 5): Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment. UOA Leaders need to be willing and able to make this commitment. They need to be enthusiastic about the REF and boosting research performance.
  • Skills and knowledge (scored out of 5): UOA Leaders should bring with them skills and knowledge to optimise BU’s REF preparations and submission (e.g. knowledge of the REF process, expertise in research metrics, leadership experience, knowledge about impact, experience of writing and delivering research strategies, etc).
  • Plans for preparing the UOA submission and awareness of the potential challenges and opportunities UOA Leaders are responsible for driving and delivering the UOA’s submission to REF 2021 whilst also maintaining an institutional outlook to optimise BU’s overall REF performance. They should have ideas for how they will do this and the potential challenges and opportunities of this, specific to the UOA.

 

Questions:

Questions regarding the process should be directed to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

UOA-specific questions should be directed to Prof Vanora Hundley (Deputy Dean for Research in HSS) or to Prof Tiantian Zhang (Deputy Dean for Research in FST)

Call for EoIs: Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leaders for UOA 2 and UOA 3 to drive REF 2021 preparations

BU is preparing submissions for units of assessment (UOAs) for REF 2021. Preparation for each UOA is led by a UOA Leader who is supported by an Impact Champion and an Output Champion. From March 2018, UOA Leaders are recruited via an open and transparent process. All academic staff have the opportunity to put themselves forward for UOA Leader roles. The roles are until December 2020.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest (EoIs) from academic staff interested in leading preparations for two UOAs:

  • Public health, health services and primary care
  • Allied health professions, dentistry, nursing and pharmacy

UOA Leaders serve a term up to December 2020, although they can choose to step down during this time. The UOA Leader undertakes a vital role in driving and delivering BU’s REF submission, influencing the University’s preparations, shaping optimal submissions for each UOA and ultimately having a significant effect on BU’s REF 2021 results.

Key responsibilities of the UOA Leader role include:

  • Providing leadership, advice and support on all issues relating to research planning, impact, performance metrics and published guidance relating to the UOA
  • Considering the widest available staff pool for the UOA and present these options to the REF Committee (being mindful of where this potentially impacts upon other UOAs)
  • Having an institutional outlook for the REF, i.e. aiming to optimise BU’s overall REF performance
  • Optimising the UOA submission and that of related UOAs by working to mitigate weaknesses and to highlight strengths across all aspects of the submission
  • Ensuring that outputs undergo rigorous review, internally and externally in order to assess quality prior to inclusion for REF
  • Working with Impact champions and the Impact Working Group to understand the interrelationship of case study quality, selection, placement and staff numbers for the UOA
  • Leading on REF communications within departments represented in the UOA and be the key point of contact and advice with regard to the UOA for Heads of research entities, DDRPPs and Executive Deans
  • Working closely with RKEO who are managing the central REF preparation and submission process
  • Attend the REF Committee meetings

Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment and is recognised accordingly. UOA Leaders are given time to attend meetings and take responsibility for tasks. As such potential applicants should discuss their workload balance with their Head of Department before applying.

 

Application process:

To apply for either role, please submit a short statement (suggested length 300 words) stating which role you are interested in and explaining your interest in the role and what you could bring to it. This should be sent by email to Julie Northam by 5pm on Thursday 12 April 2018.

The EoIs will be reviewed by a gender balanced panel comprising a DDRPP and a member of the professoriate. Applicants successful at this stage will be invited to an interview with the same panel.

The selection criteria used at EoI and interview stage are outlined below. Each criterion carries a total possible score of 5. The role will be offered to the highest scoring applicant. A member of the panel will provide feedback to all applicants.

  • Commitment, motivation and enthusiasm (scored out of 5): Being a UOA Leader is a big commitment. UOA Leaders need to be willing and able to make this commitment. They need to be enthusiastic about the REF and boosting research performance.
  • Skills and knowledge (scored out of 5): UOA Leaders should bring with them skills and knowledge to optimise BU’s REF preparations and submission (e.g. knowledge of the REF process, expertise in research metrics, leadership experience, knowledge about impact, experience of writing and delivering research strategies, etc).
  • Plans for preparing the UOA submission and awareness of the potential challenges and opportunities UOA Leaders are responsible for driving and delivering the UOA’s submission to REF 2021 whilst also maintaining an institutional outlook to optimise BU’s overall REF performance. They should have ideas for how they will do this and the potential challenges and opportunities of this, specific to the UOA.

 

Questions:

Questions regarding the process should be directed to Julie Northam (Head of RKEO).

UOA-specific questions should be directed to Prof Vanora Hundley (Deputy Dean for Research in HSS) or to Prof Tiantian Zhang (Deputy Dean for Research in FST)

There’s no such thing as a bad metric.

Lizzie Gadd warns against jumping on ‘bad metrics’ bandwagons without really engaging with the more complex responsible metrics agenda beneath.

An undoubted legacy of the Metric Tide report has been an increased focus on the responsible use of metrics and along with this a notion of ‘bad metrics’.  Indeed, the report itself even recommended awarding an annual ‘Bad Metrics Prize’.  This has never been awarded as far as I’m aware, but nominations are still open on their web pages.  There has been a lot of focus on responsible metrics recently.  The Forum for Responsible Metrics have done a survey of UK institutions and is reporting the findings on 8 February in London.  DORA has upped its game and appointed a champion to promote their work and they seem to be regularly retweeting messages that remind us all of their take on what it means to do metrics responsibly.   There are also frequent twitter conversations about the impact of metrics in the up-coming REF.  In all of this I see an increasing amount of ‘bad metrics’ bandwagon-hopping.  The anti-Journal Impact Factor (JIF) wagon is now full and its big sister, the “metrics are ruining science” wagon, is taking on supporters at a heady pace.

It looks to me like we have moved from a state of ignorance about metrics, to a little knowledge.  Which, I hear, is a dangerous thing.

It’s not a bad thing, this increased awareness of responsible metrics; all these conversations.  I’m responsible metrics’ biggest supporter and a regular slide in my slide-deck shouts ‘metrics can kill people!’.  So why am I writing a blog post that claims that there is no such thing as a bad metric?  Surely these things can kill people? Well, yes, but guns can also kill people, they just can’t do so unless they’re in the hands of a human.  Similarly, metrics aren’t bad in and of themselves, it’s what we do with them that can make them dangerous.

In Yves Gingras’ book, “Bibliometrics and Research Evaluation” he defines the characteristics of a good indicator as follows:

  • Adequacy of the indicator for the object that it measures
  • Sensitivity to the intrinsic inertia of the object being measured
  • Homogeneity of the dimensions of the indicator.

So, you might have an indicator such as ‘shoe size’, where folks with feet of a certain length get assigned a certain shoe size indicator. No problem there – it’s adequate (length of foot consistently maps on to shoe size); it’s sensitive to the thing it measures (foot grows, shoe size increases accordingly), and it’s homogenous (one characteristic – length, leads to one indicator – shoe size).  However, in research evaluation we struggle on all of these counts.  Because the thing we really want to measure, this elusive, multi-faceted “research quality” thing, doesn’t have any adequate, sensitive and homogeneous indicators. We need to measure the immeasurable. So we end up making false assumptions about the meanings of our indicators, and then make bad decisions based on those false assumptions.  In all of this, it is not the metric that’s at fault, it’s us.

In my view, the JIF is the biggest scapegoat of the Responsible Metrics agenda.  The JIF is just the average number of cites per paper for a journal over two years.  That’s it.  A simple calculation. And as an indicator of the communication effectiveness of a journal for collection development purposes (the reason it was introduced) it served us well.  It’s just been misused as an indicator of the quality of individual academics and individual papers.  It wasn’t designed for that.  This is misuse of a metric, not a bad metric. (Although recent work has suggested that it’s not that bad an indicator for the latter anyway, but that’s not my purpose here).  If the JIF is a bad metric, so is Elsevier’s CiteScore which is based on EXACTLY the same principle but uses a three-year time window not two, a slightly different set of document types and journals, and makes itself freely available.

If we’re not careful, I fear that in a hugely ironic turn, DORA and the Leiden Manifesto might themselves become bad (misused) metrics: an unreliable indicator of a commitment to the responsible use of metrics that may or may not be there in practice.

I understand why DORA trumpets the misuse of JIFs; it is rife and there are less imperfect tools for the job. But there are also other metrics that DORA doesn’t get in a flap about – like the individual h-index – which are subject to the same amount of misuse, but are actually more damaging.  The individual h-index disadvantages certain demographics more than others (women, early-career researchers, anyone with non-standard career lengths); at least the JIF mis-serves everyone equally.  And whilst we’re at it peer review can be an equally inadequate research evaluation tool (which, ironically, metrics have proven). So if we’re to be really fair we should be campaigning for responsible peer review with as much vigour as our calls for responsible metrics.

Bumper stickers by Paul van der Werf
Bumper stickers by Paul van der Werf (CC-BY)

 

It looks to me like we have moved from a state of ignorance about metrics, to a little knowledge.  Which, I hear, is a dangerous thing.  A little knowledge can lead to a bumper sticker culture ( “I HEART DORA” anyone?  “Ban the JIF”?) which could move us away from, rather than towards, the responsible use of metrics. These concepts are easy to grasp hold of, but they mask a far more complex and challenging set of research evaluation problems that lie beneath.  The responsible use of metrics is about more than the avoidance of certain indicators, or signing DORA, or even developing your own bespoke Responsible Metrics policy (as I’ve said before this is certainly easier said than done).

The responsible use of metrics requires responsible scientometricians.  People who understand that there is really no such thing as a bad metric, but it is very possible to misuse them. People with a deeper level of understanding about what we are trying to measure, what the systemic effects of this might be, what indicators are available, what their limitations are, where they are appropriate, how they can best triangulate them with peer review.  We have good guidance on this in the form of the Leiden Manifesto, the Metric Tide and DORA.  However, these are the starting points of often painful responsible metric journeys, not easy-ride bandwagons to be jumped on.  If we’re not careful, I fear that in a hugely ironic turn, DORA and the Leiden Manifesto might themselves become bad (misused) metrics: an unreliable indicator of a commitment to the responsible use of metrics that may or may not be there in practice.

Let’s get off the ‘metric-shaming’ bandwagons, deepen our understanding and press on with the hard work of responsible research evaluation.

 


Elizabeth Gadd

Elizabeth Gadd is the Research Policy Manager (Publications) at Loughborough University. She has a background in Libraries and Scholarly Communication research. She is the co-founder of the Lis-Bibliometrics Forum and is the ARMA Metrics Special Interest Group Champion

 

 

Creative Commons LicenceOriginal content posted on The Bibliomagician reposted here with permission. Content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

REF 2021 workshops – what makes a 2*, 3* or 4* output?

 

We have a series of externally-facilitated REF outputs workshops scheduled to take place in early 2018 as part of the RKE Development Framework. Each session is led by REF 2014 sub-panel member who will explain how the panel interpreted and applied the REF 2014 guidance when assessing the quality of outputs. The workshops are open to all academic staff to attend.

The expected learning outcomes from the workshops are for attendees to:

  • Gain insight into how the REF panels applied the REF criteria when considering the significance, rigour and originality of outputs;
  • Understand the differences between outputs scored 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and Unclassified;
  • Gain insight into what is meant by ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’;
  • Understand how scores borderline cases were agreed and what the tipping points were to either break the ceiling into the higher star level or to hold an output back a star level;
  • Understand how panels used other information such as metrics, markers of journal quality or prior knowledge in output assessment;
  • Gain insight into how future outputs could be strengthened for REF20

Workshops scheduled so far are:

  • UOA 2/3 – Prof Dame Jill Macleod Clark – 15 March 2018
  • UOA 11 – Prof Iain Stewart – 29 January 2018
  • UoA 14 – Prof Jon Sadler – 2 February 2018
  • UOA 15 – Prof Graeme Barker – 7 February 2018
  • UOA 17 – Prof Terry Williams – 17 January 2018
  • UOA 18 – TBC
  • UOA 23 – Prof Jane Seale – 26 January 2018
  • UOA 24 (Sport & Exercise Science) – Professor John Horne –date TBC
  • UoA 24 (Leisure and Tourism) – Prof Gareth Shaw – date TBC
  • UOA 11/32 (Computer Animation) – Prof Anthony Steed – 31 January 2018
  • UOA 32/34 (Practice-based) – Prof Stephen Partridge – date TBC
  • UOA 34 – Prof Peter Lunt – date TBC

Please see the full range of REF-related workshops on the staff intranet.

HE policy update for the w/e 8th December 2017

Fees and funding – the latest developments

The fees and funding discussions continue with some interesting developments this week.

Firstly, there was a written response by the Minister -responding to the Resolution of the House on 13th September 2017 on tuition fees (the non-binding one that was essentially passed unanimously because no Conservative MPs attended). The statement included a few important points and some hints:

  • Maximum grants and loans for living and other costs will be increased by forecast inflation (3.2%) in 2018/19.
  • For the first time, students starting part-time degree level courses from 1 August 2018 onwards will qualify for loans for living costs.
  • I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student finance for undergraduates and postgraduates for 2018/19 early in 2018. These regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • The Department of Health will be making a separate announcement on changes to student finance for postgraduate healthcare students and dental hygiene and dental therapy students in 2018/19.

(more…)

Fake conferences are not fake news: beware predatory conferences

Introduction

Academic have been warned for a decade about predatory Open Access publishers (van Teijlingen 2014). These are commercial organisations charging academics a publication fee on submission of their manuscripts with a promise to publish their work quickly online. The problem is twofold: first, these commercial organisations don’t offer proper peer-review and editorial quality assurance; and secondly, academic are being tricked into believing the journal is a legitimate scientific publication.  The second author receives on average six to eight invitations a week to publish in this kind of predatory journals – see below for examples. The first author, who despite having not worked in an academic institution for over three years, still receives such invitations to publish in ‘Journal X’.

Predatory conferences

A similar phenomenon to predatory journals is the predatory conference (Moital 2014; Nobes 2017; Grove 2017). These are pretend academic conferences of questionable value, established first and foremost to make money, not for the greater good of the academic discipline.

Both authors have received bogus and legitimate invitations to attend conferences. A predicament with such an invitation, which 99% of time arrives by email, is that it is not easy to distinguish between fake and real offers. For example, the first author recently received an offer (at short notice), to attend a conference in Miami in November 2017 (see below). This was on the back of an editorial he had published couple of months earlier. For a career researcher going from contract to contract, the appeal of being invited to present a keynote at a conference can be flattering, far less an honour and a boost for one’s career. Therefore, while the idea that if it seems too good to be true, is a prudent one to hold; there is also a temptation to follow through.

The author replied to the request quizzing the reason for the invite out of the blue. The answer was less than convincing, and a swift email by the author saying “Don’t tell me… You are offering me a keynote with travel and accommodation… Lol!!” called their bluff and ended correspondence.

But digging a little deeper he found there was a webpage dedicated to taking payments to attend the conference. In the digital world, a fool can be easily and quickly separated from his or her money.

Of course, it may have been a real conference at a real venue, and they really wanted him to speak. But discerning this is not easy at first…

Some of the warning signs/What to look out for

  • The conference email invitation looks very convincing (if not don’t even read it!).
  • The venue is good location as Nobes (2017) highlighted, “the organizers are more interested in marketing the tourist destination rather than the academic value of the conference”.
  • The conference covers too many different aspects or topics, as if the advert is designed to catch the eye of many people as possible who are vaguely connected to the discipline.
  • Mentions on associated predatory journals and ‘important’ organisations in the discipline.
  • Email and bank accounts that don’t look professional/ official.
  • Little mention of attendance fees, but after acceptance emails demanding a high conference fee and other charges.
  • Conference organisers are not academics, or unknown names.
  • Conference does not peer-review submission/ not provide proper editorial control over presentations
  • Signs of copying of names of existing academic conferences or scientific organisation and even copying of their webpages
  • Even more advertising than normal at a scientific conference.

Furthermore, Andy Nobes (2017) offered some helpful advice on quality of the conference websites in the list below. Andy is based at AuthorAID, a global network providing support, mentoring, resources and training for researchers in developing countries.

Who is at risk of falling for predatory conferences?

Academics need to be aware of money-making conferences and meetings without a true commitment to science. But some academics might be more at risk than others. Young researchers, PhD students and fledgling academics, living from contract to contract may feel any conference attendance is a potential career boost. Thus, such an invitation might seem flattering and an opportunity to good to miss. A way to show that he or she is a capable and independent academic.

Final thoughts

Most academics go to conferences for a combination of presenting their work to get critical feedback, making new contacts, sharing ideas and to be inspired. With such broad combination of motivating factors, the exact purpose of conferences is difficult to ascertain because there is no a priori agreed role and value of conferences (Nicolson, 2017a). However, there is evidence that academic conferences function to facilitate commodity transactions, be that knowledge, tools, skills, reputations, or connections, which reflects the neoliberal ethos in the modern academy (Nicolson 2017b). The predatory conference can be viewed in this light, where academia is more and more focused on generating revenue. It is at best scurrilous, and worst, criminal, for organisations to make money using such a confidence trick.  Always check which conferences are organised and advertised by recognised scholarly organisations in your own discipline. If uncertain ask a more experienced academic, a senior colleague or mentor.

 

 

Donald J. Nicolson

(Health Services Researcher, NHS Fife, and Independent Scholar; twitter @_mopster )

Edwin R. van Teijlingen

(Centre Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health)

 

References:

Moital, M. (2014) Ten Signs of a Bogus/Fake Conference.

Grove, J. (2017) Predatory conferences ‘now outnumber official scholarly events’  (26th Oct.)

Nicolson, D.J. (2017a) Do conference presentations impact beyond the conference venue? Journal of Research in Nursing. 22(5), pp.422-425.

Nicolson, D.J. (2017b) Academic Conferences as Neoliberal Commodities, Palgrave Macmillan

Nobes, A. (2017) What are ‘predatory’ conferences and how can I avoid them?

van Teijlingen, E. (2014) Beware of rogue journals.

 

REF 2021 workshops – what makes a 2*, 3* or 4* output?

We have a series of externally-facilitated REF outputs workshops scheduled to take place in early 2018 as part of the RKE Development Framework. Each session is led by REF 2014 sub-panel member who will explain how the panel interpreted and applied the REF 2014 guidance when assessing the quality of outputs. The workshops are open to all academic staff to attend.

The expected learning outcomes from the workshops are for attendees to:

  • Gain insight into how the REF panels applied the REF criteria when considering the significance, rigour and originality of outputs;
  • Understand the differences between outputs scored 4*, 3*, 2*, 1* and Unclassified;
  • Gain insight into what is meant by ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’;
  • Understand how scores borderline cases were agreed and what the tipping points were to either break the ceiling into the higher star level or to hold an output back a star level;
  • Understand how panels used other information such as metrics, markers of journal quality or prior knowledge in output assessment;
  • Gain insight into how future outputs could be strengthened for REF2021.

 

Workshops scheduled so far are:

  • UOA 2/3 – Prof Dame Jill Macleod Clark – 15 March 2018
  • UOA 4 – Prof Marion Hetherington – 10 January 2018
  • UOA 11 – Prof Iain Stewart – 29 January 2018
  • UOA 12 – Prof Chris Chatwin – 8 January 2018
  • UOA 14 – Prof Jon Sadler – 11 January 2018
  • UOA 15 – Prof Graeme Barker – 7 February 2018
  • UOA 17 – Prof Terry Williams – 17 January 2018
  • UOA 18 – tbc
  • UOA 20/21 – Prof Imogen Taylor – 15 January 2018
  • UOA 23 – Prof Jane Seale – 26 January 2018
  • UOA 24 – tbc
  • UOA 27 – Prof Pat Waugh – 16 January 2018
  • UOA 11/32 (computer animation) – Prof Anthony Steed – 31 January 2018
  • UOA 32/34 (practice-based) – Prof Stephen Partridge – date tbc
  • UOA 36 – Prof Peter Lunt – date tbc

Bookings for these can be made via the Staff Intranet: https://staffintranet.bournemouth.ac.uk/workingatbu/staffdevelopmentandengagement/fusiondevelopment/fusionprogrammesandevents/rkedevelopmentframework/researchexcellenceframework/