Thursday, March 24, 2016

In an Era of Tighter Budgets, Researchers Find Tenure Without Grants

The Chronical of Higher Education
Paul Basken
March 24, 2016

It’s long been a rite of passage at major research universities: To have a chance at tenure, scientists first need to win at least one full-size federal grant.

Now that’s changing. Though they’re reluctant to discuss details, several large research universities admit that they’ve begun granting tenure to faculty members who haven’t yet crossed that threshold, a concession to several years of flat federal support for science.

Read more…

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Most Nonprofits Operate Without a Plan, Survey Finds

Philanthropy News Digest
March 16, 2016

Even as they face growing competition and a "seismic" demographic shift, many nonprofits continue to operate as usual, failing to prepare for inevitable economic downturns, neglecting to cultivate meaningful relationships with supporters, and not bothering to share information on their effectiveness and impact, a report from the Concord Leadership Group finds.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Handful of Biologists Went Rogue and Published Directly to Internet

The New York Times
Amy Harmon
March 15, 2016

On Feb. 29, Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University became the third Nobel Prize laureate biologist in a month to do something long considered taboo among biomedical researchers: She posted a report of her recent discoveries to a publicly accessible website, bioRxiv, before submitting it to a scholarly journal to review for “official’’ publication.

It was a small act of information age defiance, and perhaps also a bit of a throwback, somewhat analogous to Stephen King’s 2000 self-publishing an e-book or Radiohead’s 2007 release of a download-only record without a label. To commemorate it, she tweeted the website’s confirmation under the hashtag #ASAPbio, a newly coined rallying cry of a cadre of biologists who say they want to speed science by making a key change in the way it is published.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Research Scrutiny: Corporate influence and outright fraud undermine academic science

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Tom Bartlett
February 29, 2016

Corporate influence over science tends to be subtle. Just as politicians who solicit donations from Wall Street banks deny allegiance to their backers, scientists insist that the money they accept from industry does not alter their scholarly conclusions. Surely no university researcher would ever admit being in cahoots with a company.

Not usually, anyway. In November, the Associated Press obtained emails sent by James O. Hill, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver and director of the university’s Center for Human Nutrition, to executives at the Coca-Cola Company.


Publication Impact of NIH-funded Research – A First Look

National Institutes of Health
Office of Extramural Research
Mike Lauer
March 2, 2016

In a recent PNAS commentary, Daniel Shapiro and Kent Vrana of Pennsylvania State University, argue that “Celebrating R and D expenditures badly misses the point.” Instead of focusing on how much money is spent, the research enterprise should instead focus on its outcomes – its discoveries that advance knowledge and lead to improvements in health.

Of course, as we’ve noted before, measuring research impact is hard, and there is no gold standard. But for now, let’s take a look at one measure of productivity, namely the publication of highly-cited papers. Some in the research community suggest that a research paper citation is a nod to the impact and significance of the findings reported in that paper – in other words, more highly-cited papers are indicative of highly regarded and impactful research.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Public-Affairs Dean Wants Research to Reach Policy Makers Faster

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Sarah Brown
February 28, 2016

Angela Evans was drawn to the deanship at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson

School of Public Affairs for many reasons, namely the school’s national reputation and its history of

informing critical policy debates. But it was the collaborative spirit Ms. Evans sensed throughout the

school that sealed the deal, she says.

"I wanted to work in an environment where the students didn’t know everything," says Ms. Evans,

who has been a clinical professor of public-policy practice at the school for more than six years and

started as dean on January 16. "Consistently, I saw a group of students who were diverse and eager

to exchange ideas, and collaboration was really something they excelled in."