Monday, 18 September 2017

New ScienceDirect Topics platform

In a move that aims to challenge Wikipedia and keep users on its ScienceDirect platform, the publishing giant Elsevier has launched a new service that provides encyclopedia-style entries on key scientific topics. The Topics platform will offer a quick definition of a key term or topic, details of related terms and relevant excerpts from Elsevier books. The publisher argues that this service will provide 'breadth, depth and currency of knowledge'. Some academics have questioned the need for the service and have argued that ScienceDirect Topics is merely leveraging off the expertise and authority of academic authors. Read more by accessing the Times Higher Education through the library e-journal portal or follow the link below. 

Man reading Wikipedia page on desktop computer (PC)

Elsevier takes on Wikipedia with new Topics platform

Friday, 15 September 2017

A moral panic over student cheating?

A respected academic has recently spoken out about ending the 'moral panic' over cheating students claiming that the phenomenon has been blown out of all proportion. While acknowledging that academics have never entirely trusted students not to cheat, Bruce Macfarlane argues that institutions need to stop the witch-hunt and trust in the capacity of students to learn. Citing the ubiquitous use of plagiarism detection software as one symptom of the panic he queries whether there is any evidence to show that students are any less trustworthy than in the past. Read more by accessing the Times Higher Education through the library e-journal link or by following the link below.

Student and invigilator in exam room

A moral panic over student cheats?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Should students be allowed to take phones into exams?

Eric Mazur, a Harvard professor and father of the ‘flipped classroom’ has recently said that he allows his students to take phones and laptops into exams to encourage them to look up whatever they want, whenever they want with the aim of testing their creative and analytical skills, as opposed to their information recall. He believes that academics need to rethink assessment to make it more meaningful and much more representative of testing the 21st-century skills that institutions require students to develop. Read more at the Times Higher Education by following the link below or accessing it through the library e-journals.

Eric Mazur speaks at the World Academic Summit

Allowing students to take phones into exams

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Is there a decline in academic standards among our students?

A recent article written in the Guardian by an Irish academic has claimed that a lack of continuous assessment in the Irish school system coupled with exam grade band changes have left students ill-prepared for university. Furthermore the author claims that there has been a steady decline in academic standards among incoming students with students ill-equipped with the skills needed to research and write essays. Read more by following the link below to the Guardian Higher Education pages. 

The Irish school system has left some students struggling to write essays.

Declining Irish academic standards?

Monday, 4 September 2017

A new metric to tackle self-citations in science

A recent paper written by a group of researchers has proposed a new metric to stop the practice of scientists citing their own work to boost their academic standing. The “self-citation index”, or s-index aims to tackle the abuse of self-citations in science and could, according to the authors, provide "truer" citation data. With citation data used by universities to make hiring decisions and by funding agencies to allocate grants, the process of self-citation can be open to abuse with researchers accused of using unnecessary citations to boost their citation rate. The proposed 's-index' metric describes the total number of papers that an academic has published relative to the number of self-citations and the authors say that it offers a “fair and objective” assessment of the impact and productivity of academics. Read more by following the link below to the Times Higher Education or access the journal on the library website under e-journals. 

Cat looking in mirror

A new metric to tackle self-citations

Friday, 9 June 2017

What makes a great PhD supervisor?

The relationship between a doctoral supervisor and their student is pivotal both to thesis success and ensuring academic and professional development but often the relationship can be complex and challenging. In a recently released video, three experienced supervisors, who were all recently shortlisted for a UK national award, offer their own ideas and insights into guiding the student through the doctoral process and building on the supervisor-student relationship. Follow the link below to the article in the Guardian Higher Education pages and a link to the video. 

For Isabel Torres, relationship-building is key.

PhD supervision article and link to video

Monday, 29 May 2017

Academics urged to embrace wider research dissemination

A recent report has claimed that scholarly publishing gives undue weight to commercial concerns thus stymieing the move towards open access and free sharing of knowledge. The report 'Untangling Academic Publishing: A History of the Relationship between Commercial Interests, Academic Prestige and the Circulation of Knowledge' has urged academics to resist signing over the copyright of their research to a “profit-oriented” academic publisher while recommending that university leaders seek ways to ensure that copyright remains with the author. Speaking to the Times Higher Education, Dr Aileen Fyfe the project lead, has said that what matters most is “what you publish” and that you “get lots of people to read it”. Read more by following the link below, by accessing the journal directly through the library e-journal portal or by accessing the database Nexis UK.

hanging from cliff face

Academics urged to embrace wider research dissemination