Rapid technological developments, changes in public policy, and shifts in the international environment all affect academia. To help understand these effects, RAND researchers asked more than 3,600 academics in England how they expect their research to evolve over the next decade.
Are all types of research outputs of equal value? How do different outputs serve different purposes? Exploring these questions could benefit not only funders and universities, but also result in overall better use of research resources.
After Superstorm Sandy, residents of Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood cleaned up debris, pumped out basements, and teamed up with researchers to find out what was in the floodwater. They established safety protocols to help local businesses prevent their chemicals from escaping and wrote a guide to help other communities.
Expert peer review is considered the gold standard for assessing the validity, significance and originality of research. When it comes to grant applications, however, peer review is not without its shortcomings. Addressing some of the challenges that peer review poses could ensure that the best research receives the financial support it deserves.
The research field increasingly recognizes that we need metrics that everyone can understand. Translating the result into years of learning has become a popular approach, but this metric has major flaws. There are better options.
Policy decisions are increasingly informed (or expected to be informed) by research evidence. Making the process as systematic, transparent and explicit as possible provides users with ways to understand, question and contribute to the eventual policy recommendation, and gives policymakers and practitioners confidence in its credibility.
Emerging challenges are leading to an increased emphasis on the impact of research beyond academia. At the same time, funders must adapt to changing expectations about what research can and should deliver, financial austerity, and developments in the topics and methods of research.
Complete and transparent reporting of randomized controlled trials is integral for replication, critical appraisal and understanding context. A new extension of the CONSORT Statement aims to improve the reporting of randomized controlled trials of social and psychological interventions.
Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences
By working together, the Culture of Health and Open Science movements could increase their potential to accelerate the use of scientific evidence to address impediments to population health and collective well-being.
Leaders in business, government, academia, and philanthropy gathered at RAND's headquarters in Santa Monica to pay tribute to the seven-decade relationship between RAND and the U.S. Air Force. Panelists discussed the importance of trusted advice to inform national security descisonmaking.
Open peer review is happening in a variety of forms, but it still accounts for a small percentage of reviews carried out, and it is not clear whether open peer review is increasing in usage. In the future, as the Publons dataset grows, it will be worth exploring the data in more detail.
The leading principle of open science is that anyone, whether they are part of the research community or the public, should be able to access scientific knowledge. Free circulation of knowledge, the sharing of research results, and transparency of methodology are core tenets of the scientific method.
Mobility has become an even higher priority for researchers since the results of the UK’s EU referendum, Brexit. To continue to attract and keep top talent, the UK needs to understand how and why researchers move between countries.
More than 95 per cent of academic biomedical research funding is controlled by peer review of grant applications. It is generally cited as the gold standard for awarding funding, but it appears most effective when used conservatively.
The size and diversity of mental health research is significant, but it remains a loosely defined field in which funders tend not to spell out what counts as mental health. An outline of the current state of mental health research funding worldwide helps to address the huge challenges of mental illness.
Funding decisions in the UK direct the flow of billions of pounds of public and philanthropic funding but there is little evidence to suggest how to allocate grants to researchers to increase the chances that the work they support changes lives and improves society. New research helps inform funders' strategies.
In 2014, the research of 154 UK universities was evaluated, accounting for the efforts of 52,061 academic staff members. For the first time, the impact that the research had on wider society was part of the assessment. As we approach the next assessment period, there is opportunity for discussion to tweak and refine future measures of impact.
In the UK, research outputs from universities are assessed every five years to determine future funding allocations from government. In 2014, for the first time, the Research Excellence Framework included an assessment of research impact. Research users played key roles throughout the process.