Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Fundermentals Top 10 2016

2016. What a year. At the beginning of the year the largest issue we had was what NERC would call their new research ship; by the end all the heroes were dead, climate scientists in the USA are desperately backing up data for fear that the new President will scrub it all, the UK is committing economic suicide and withdrawing into itself, and the one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world is being bombed into oblivion. 

In higher education, it's been a busy year too. The Stern Review was published, the HE White Paper was reshaping the sector, and the Global Challenges Research Fund was launched.

Fundermentals has been on hand to comment, highlight and, occasionally, laugh. Here are the most popular posts from the last twelve months.

10: Real Call or Bugger AllCan you tell your Research Council fact from all too plausible fiction? This is a chance to find out...

9: Using Social Media to Support your Research. Notes from the last Early Career Network of the Autumn Term, this summarises the fabulous advice of Mark Burnely, Kate Bradley and Nigel Temperton, covering such platforms as Twitter, Facebook, ORCID, ResearchGate, and Impactstory.

8: Global Challenges Research Fund: a Primer. The Government has shifted £1.5bn funding from the aid budget to the research budget, triggering a wave of new calls. This post followed a session we ran in July giving an overview of the Fund and what you need to know.

7: Brexit and the Suffocating Dog of Research. After the referendum, the guessing. What would an exit from the EU mean for UK research? Here I liken it to a dog slowly suffocating in a hot car. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

6. NERC Launches Competition to Rename Sir David Attenborough. And then, a bit of light relief. NERC run a competition to name their research ship, and the overwhelming choice is Boaty McBoatface. They decide to ignore the public vote (why can't the same rules apply to the referendum?) and go for the sensible National Treasure, Sir David Attenborough. Here I suggest the next logical step...

5: Peer Review and the Xerox Machine. A column first published in Funding Insight, I look at the surprisingly short history of academic peer review, and how it coincides with the rise of the photocopier.

4: Lighting a Candle. The second of the Brexit-related articles in the top 10, this was a cri de coeur following the Referendum. It felt like a body blow and, whilst time has made it more familiar, it hasn't made it any less painful.

3: Simplifying Impact. The first of two posts relating to Prof Mark Reed, the man behind Fast Track Impact. This was a review of his Research Impact Handbook.

2: How to Write a 4*Article. And the second, by the man himself, following on from an interesting Tweet where he suggests a formula for writing 4* REF articles. Its popularity suggests a strong need for help in support in preparing for the REF but also, perhaps, a need for any more information on what form the REF will actually take.

1: Going Down with All Hands. At number one it's the story that just kept on giving: Boaty McBoatface. It's already made an appearance in the list (at number 6), but here is a more thoughtful piece on the longterm effect of such a competition.

Thanks to all those who have read the blog, or contributed to it. Here's hoping that 2017 gives me far, far less to write about.

If you want to find out what topped the list in the last three years, have a look at:

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