Blog Archives

African ubuntu can deepen how research is done

African ubuntu can deepen how research is done

Many academic studies have been centred on Western theories and methodologies for a long time. This approach to research is broadly defined as “universalist”. It assumes that “one-size-fits-all” and set norms can be applied across cultures. For example, Western ideas about identity revolve around the individual. That shapes how research is conducted: it focuses mainly […] … learn more→

A review into how university research works in Australia has just begun – it must confront these 3 issues

A review into how university research works in Australia has just begun – it must confront these 3 issues

Education Minister Jason Clare has just announced an independent review of the Australian Research Council (ARC). This is the body that oversees funding for non-medical research in Australian universities and plays a critical role in the careers of academics. After years of concerns about the ARC – about political interference and low success rates – the review is a welcome step. […] … learn more→

Removing author fees can help open access journals make research available to everyone

Removing author fees can help open access journals make research available to everyone

Open access (OA) journals are academic, peer-reviewed journals that are free and available for anyone to read without paying subscription fees. To make up for lost subscription revenue, many journals instead charge author fees to researchers who wish to publish in them. These fees can reach thousands of dollars per article, paid out of publicly funded […] … learn more→

Mirror neurons: this is how they put us in the skin of others

Mirror neurons: this is how they put us in the skin of others

Have you ever wondered why when we see someone yawn, we yawn almost immediately? Or how newborns imitate facial gestures like sticking out their tongues? And what about how we learn to use scissors or color? It has a lot to do with some peculiar neurons called mirror neurons. What are mirror neurons? Mirror neurons are amazing […] … learn more→

Women have always trailed men in research output: how COVID made the situation worse

Women have always trailed men in research output: how COVID made the situation worse

The under-representation of women in research is well documented. Emerging evidence suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this inequality and disrupted the research enterprise globally. But none of these studies, mainly from the global north, provide detailed explanations for the scale of this decline. Our research offers the first comprehensive study to shed light on the complex reasons for the […] … learn more→

Researchers, your union needs you

Researchers, your union needs you

In my early years in the union, I heard some wise words: ‘You may not be union when you enter higher education but if you believe in the transformative power of higher education you will join the union’. That refrain says a lot about university workers, whether you are a researcher, lecturer or professional staff. […] … learn more→

How Shut Up and Write became ‘Just Write!’: An American Tale

How Shut Up and Write became ‘Just Write!’: An American Tale

Inspired by Tseen Khoo’s blogs about ‘Shut Up and Write’ in Feb and March 2016 (Part 1 / Part 2), I decided to start a version at the Elliott School at George Washington University (United States). My experiences and many missteps provide some insights into: My naivety, and Research Culture at an American University. My first step […] … learn more→

Students know how to search the internet, but do they know how to find what they need?

Students know how to search the internet, but do they know how to find what they need?

  “All men naturally have the desire to know.” Aristotle’s Metaphysics , first book, chapter I. We live in the information age. But this abundance of information is a double-edged sword: it is accompanied by high levels of misinformation and overinformation. Discerning between good and bad is becoming more and more complicated . Sometimes it is an activity similar to finding […] … learn more→

What “the 4-hour work week” can teach an idealist researcher

What “the 4-hour work week” can teach an idealist researcher

When I saw a colleague’s Tweet about a book called The 4-hour Work Week: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (by Tim Ferriss), I was puzzled. After all, the book title seems to advocate for values that idealist academics generally wouldn’t endorse: work little, make lots of money. I also felt some sense of […] … learn more→

Patter’s diary

Patter’s diary

Health warning. This post contains no advice. Here in the UK we are now over the results of the Research Excellence Framework, REF, the UK audit measure of institutional “quality” and “productivity”. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and go back to life as we want it – right? No chance. Just a […] … learn more→