Friday, May 27, 2016

Failure to Fund Overhead Penalizes Nonprofits, Study Finds

Philanthropy News Digest
May 23, 2016

Funders' reluctance to fully fund overhead costs prevents many nonprofits from maximizing their impact, a report from the Bridgespan Group finds.

According to the report, Pay-What-It-Takes Philanthropy, the typical 15 percent cap on reimbursement for nonprofit overhead falls short, in many cases, of the actual indirect costs associated with the delivery of a service or services. In response to the finding, the report, which appears in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, urges grantmakers to re-think the 15 percent cap on nonprofit overhead reimbursement and calls for an approach that takes into account the actual costs associated with providing a given type of service, or what it calls "pay what it takes" philanthropy.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Elsevier’s Purchase of Social-Sciences Hub May Signal a Strategy Shift

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Jeffrey R. Young
May 20, 2016

The publishing giant Elsevier announced this week that it had bought the Social Science Research Network, an online community where scholars in the humanities and social sciences freely share preprints of their academic work. You may have heard about this on social media, where much of the reaction was fierce and frustrated.

As George Siemens, a prominent innovator in education, put it on Twitter: "Weird. Kinda like 'Satan buys the Vatican.'"


Academic Publishing: Toward a New Model

The Chronicle of Higher Education
Michael Satlow
May 18, 2016

The web, we all thought, was going to transform academic publishing. At the very least, it would make research far more accessible, lowering the cost and expanding the reach of publications. At most, it would fundamentally alter the nature of research itself, making it far more collaborative. In either case, though, academic publishing as we knew it was doomed.

Now, a decade later, as the web has fundamentally transformed so many areas of our lives, academic publishing is one area upon which its impact has been only modest at best. There are, it is true, a few open-access journals and many academics maintain blogs, but contrary to expectations, journal costs have soared and our writings remain perhaps less accessible, locked behind paywalls while libraries forgo buying print versions. While it is not difficult to understand why this has happened, a solution to it has been elusive.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

China Passes Law Tightening Control Over Foreign NGOs

Philanthropy News Digest
April 29, 2016

China's national legislature has passed a law that tightens controls over foreign nongovernmental organizations, a move critics say will have a detrimental impact on civil society in the country, the Associated Press and Wall Street Journal report.

In its third and final version, the law states that foreign NGOs must not endanger China's national security and ethnic unity and leaves unchanged the controversial provision putting the Ministry of Public Security in charge of the registration process for overseas nonprofits. The law grants police the power to question administrators, search residences and facilities, seize files and equipment, and blacklist "unwelcome" groups and prevent them from operating in the country if they commit violations, including "spreading rumors, slandering, or otherwise expressing or disseminating harmful information that endangers state security."

Ford Foundation Program Helped Advance Social Justice, Study Finds

Philanthropy News Digest
April 28, 2016

A $420 million Ford Foundation program that funded the advanced education of social justice leaders from marginalized groups led to significant positive change in communities and organizations around the world, a report from the Institute of International Education finds.

The report, Social Justice and Sustainable Change: The Impact of Higher Education (36 pages, PDF), evaluated the impact of the foundation's International Fellowships Program, which, with the goal of giving emerging leaders the tools to succeed in their studies and improve conditions in their communities upon returning home, supported graduate-level education for more than forty-three hundred emerging social justice leaders from twenty-two countries between 2001 and 2013. Based on responses from nearly two thousand IFP alumni, the report found that 87 percent indicated the program enhanced their leadership skills, while 79 percent now hold senior leadership roles, many as founders of grassroots organizations and  leaders in national governments and international NGOs. More than nine hundred alumni have created programs and organizations that have reached an estimated 9.5 million adults and children in their countries and 860,000 others globally. Of these initiatives, 97 percent address social issues or provide community services and 48 percent were created by women.



Citations Per Dollar as a Measure of Productivity

National Institutes of Health
Office of Extramural Research
Mike Lauer
April 28, 2016

NIH grants reflect research investments that we hope will lead to advancement of fundamental knowledge and/or application of that knowledge to efforts to improve health and well-being. In February, we published a blog on the publication impact of NIH funded research.  We were gratified to hear your many thoughtful comments and questions. Some of you suggested that we should not only focus on output (e.g. highly cited papers), but also on cost – or as one of you mentioned “citations per dollar.”  Indeed, my colleagues and I have previously taken a preliminary look at this question in the world of cardiovascular research.  Today I’d like to share our exploration of citations per dollar using a sample of R01 grants across NIH’s research portfolio. What we found has an interesting policy implication for maximizing NIH’s return on investment in research.