Category Archives: Scientific Life

The unsustainable goal of university ranking

Ranking organisations are seeking to diversify the measures use to evaluate universities. But without addressing the fundamental flaws in their methods, they will crush rather than embrace the rich complexity of our institutions of higher learning When the Times Higher … Continue reading

Posted in Research Assessment, Science & Politics, Scientific Life | 1 Comment

Endings and Beginnings

New Year’s Eve is almost upon us, so here we are again at the close of one long year and the start of another. Personally, it has been a year of endings and beginnings. Readers of this blog would be … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Scientific Life | 4 Comments

Ten Years a Blogger

Today is the tenth anniversary of my very first blog post. When I look back at that day in 2008 when I set out my stall on Reciprocal Space it seems a long time ago and a long distance away. … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Communication, Scientific Life | 4 Comments

University rankings are fake news. How do we fix them?

This post is based on a short presentation I gave as part of a panel at a meeting today on Understanding Global University Rankings: Their Data and Influence, organised by HESPA (Higher Education Strategic Planners Association). Yes, it’s a ‘manel’ … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Scientific Life | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Interview with the author

Those of you who have read all 346 posts on my Reciprocal Space blog will have no need to read this one. You probably already have a sense of what I do and what I’m like – my science, my … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | Comments Off on Interview with the author


There’s a very real chance this could turn out to be an actual blogpost. In the original sense of the word: a web-log of what’s been happening. Posts have been rather sparse on Reciprocal Space of late. That’s not for … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Pre-prints: just do it?

There is momentum building behind the adoption of pre-print servers in the life sciences. Ron Vale, a professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF and Lasker Award winner, has just added a further powerful impulse to this movement in … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Science, Scientific Life | 16 Comments

Can we amend the laws of scholarly publication?

As part of its celebrations to mark the 350th anniversary of the publication of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s longest-running scientific journal, the Royal Society has organised a conference to examine ‘The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication’. The first half of the meeting, held over … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Scientific Life | 16 Comments

Vanity project

I haven’t written a book. And this is it. Well, I did write it of course. The words are mine. But there is nothing new here. I’ve just pulled together a selection of my blog posts from the last six … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | 10 Comments

Copyright Infringement

This morning I received an email from a publisher inviting me to write a chapter for an ‘upcoming hardcover edited collection’ on a topic of research to which I have made a number of contributions over the years. I politely declined because of … Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Scientific Life | 14 Comments

Debating the role of metrics in research assessment

I spent all of today attending the “In metrics we trust?” workshop organised jointly by HEFCE and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University. This was part of the information-gathering process of HEFCE’s independent review of the role of … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Scientific Life | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

The REF: what is the measure of success?

Science has been extraordinarily successful at taking the measure of the world, but paradoxically the world finds it extraordinarily difficult to take the measure of science — or any type of scholarship for that matter. That is not for want … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Life | Tagged , , | 17 Comments