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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Archive for the ‘Full-text electronic documents’ Category

Report identifies vulnerable research skills and capabilities in the UK

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

“The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Medical Research Council (MRC), in collaboration with the Society of Biology, have identified vulnerable skills and capabilities facing the UK bioscience and biomedical science research base.”

“In consultation with academia, businesses and other research organisations, skills and capabilities within the following five areas were highlighted:

  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Maths, statistics and computation
  • Physiology and pathology
  • Agriculture and food security
  • Core research and subject specific skills”

“Strengthening vulnerable skills and capabilities within these areas could help support UK researchers to deliver further impact for society and the economy.”

“A survey was conducted in summer 2014 to identify vulnerable skills and capabilities.”

“A large number of responses reflected an increasing need for cross-disciplinary working in the biological and medical sciences to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between researchers. Within both sectors, there are concerns about the future supply of skilled individuals to work in the fields of physiology and pathology in relation to both animals and plants.”

“The survey also highlighted the need for improved maths, statistics and computational skills as there is difficulty recruiting skilled researchers at postgraduate and postdoctoral levels.”

To read the report go to:

[Source BBSRC news: ]

EPSRC welcomes Independent superbug report

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

“The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [] welcomed a new report by an independent review which calls for global investment, better diagnostics, better surveillance and greater support for researchers in the international race to solve the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).”

“Antimicrobial resistance is a huge and complex problem for healthcare and agriculture. Antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections in humans and animals for 70 years, but these medicines are becoming less and less effective. No new classes of antibiotics have been discovered for 25 years and some strains of bacteria are now unharmed by the drugs designed to kill them.”

“In the UK alone £275 million has been spent on research in this area since 2007, yet, to date, no effective solutions have been found. It has been estimated that current antibiotics may become useless within the next two decades.”

“Economist Jim O’Neill was commissioned by the Prime Minister in July 2014 to review and make recommendations on a package of actions that should be agreed internationally to tackle antimicrobial resistance. In the new report [], he acknowledges the crucial role research has to play and calls for investment in a global innovation fund to support blue sky science.”

“The research councils have already committed £28.5 million to improve our understanding of resistance, and ultimately, our ability to develop new drugs and therapies. The seven UK research councils have joined in an historic ‘war cabinet’ to co-ordinate and stimulate research across all areas impacted by antimicrobial resistance – from labs to livestock, drawing together a range of scientific expertise from the UK and abroad.”

To read the report go to:

[Source EPSRC news: ]

Report on the ecology of culture launched

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

“A report commissioned by the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project [has been] published. Written by John Holden, Visiting Professor at City University, London, the report – The Ecology of Culture – argues that the UK’s ‘cultural ecology’ is intensively interlinked, with many strengths, but also points of vulnerability.”

“Based on interviews with 38 cultural practitioners and experts from across the cultural field, the report covers a wide variety of cultural forms, including the visual arts, dance, fashion, choral music, popular music, and film.”

“The report examines the interdependencies of publicly funded culture, commercial culture and homemade culture that interact and “shape the demand for and production of arts and cultural offerings”. The report suggests that rather than seeing these interactions as an economy, they are better understood through an ecological approach that “concentrates on relationships and patterns, showing how careers develop, ideas transfer, money flows, and product and content move, to and fro, around and between the funded, homemade and commercial subsectors”.”

To read the Report the Ecology of Culture go to:

[Source AHRC news: ]

Monographs and Open Access report

Monday, February 9th, 2015

“HEFCE has [] published its report ‘Monographs and Open Access’, a welcome in-depth study of the impacts of open access publishing on the publication of monographs. The British Academy has been closely involved in debates regarding the adoption of open access models of publishing and their impact on academic research in the humanities and social sciences in particular. The Academy is very pleased to see this detailed analysis of the implications of open access for monographs – a major form of research output in our disciplines.”

“One of the key issues is how business models can be developed that would make open access publication of monographs viable. This report analyses this question in detail, raising concerns about whether a model in which authors pay for publication can extend from journal publication to monographs. It also highlights the important issue of the value of the physical text – both in terms of the inherent qualities of layout and design in a printed text, and the importance of future access to scholarly volumes within the national and international research communities. The particular challenges of open access monographs was explored in our series Debating Open Access, in a chapter authored by Professor Nigel Vincent FBA – a member of the steering group for the HEFCE report.”

“Continued engagement between funding bodies, publishers, learned societies and the research community in its entirety is essential in order to ensure that open access publishing delivers its intended benefits without disadvantaging any of the critical stakeholders in academic publication. The HEFCE report provides a very important contribution to this conversation.”

The full report is available to read on the HEFCE website:

[Source British Academy news: ]

Discussion Paper “The Future of Security Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities”

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

“Security, the security of society and of individuals, is at the centre of concerns of contemporary society. In recent years it has, however, become clear that developing new technologies alone will not improve our security. It is now widely accepted that security depends as much on attitudes and behaviour of individuals and groups as on availability of new technological solutions. If we want to feel more secure, better protected, we need to better understand the social, cultural and psychological factors underlying human understanding of security but also of insecurity. This can only be achieved through contributions from multiple disciplines of social sciences and humanities: sociology and psychology, history and philosophy, law and theology, anthropology and linguistics, and others working closely together with medical, technical and environmental sciences.”

“Aware of the challenge to integrate the humanities and social sciences in considerations of security, the ESF Standing Committee for the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) invited Professor J. Peter Burgess (Peace Research Institute Oslo, PRIO; Vrije Universiteit Brussels) to prepare a discussion paper analysing the current state of security research and proposing new research avenues.”

“The present paper is very timely, taking stock of recent debates and developments and it challenges up-to-date approach to security research. It argues that security research faces a major change and calls for new and innovative scientific thinking.”

To read the discussion paper go to:

[Source European Science Foundation news: ]

RCUK demonstrates positive impact achieved throughout 2014

Monday, January 26th, 2015

“Research Councils UK (RCUK) has) published the RCUK Impact Report 2014, demonstrating how the Research Councils have worked together to achieve greater impact for the research, training and innovation they support.”

“The report complements the impact reports prepared by the individual Research Councils and highlights the ways in which RCUK adds value to their activities. It also looks forward to activities [they] are undertaking now that will have impact in the future, with details of some exciting developments for 2015.”

The RCUK Impact Report 2014 is available at:

The individual Research Council impact reports can be accessed from this press release: ]

[Source RCUK press release as above]

Sowing the seed: Incentives and Motivations for Sharing Research Data, a researcher’s perspective

Monday, January 19th, 2015

“This qualitative study, commissioned by Knowledge Exchange, has gathered evidence, examples and opinions on current and future incentives for research data sharing from the researchers’ point of view, in order to provide recommendations for policy and practice development on incentivising data access and re-use.”

“Research with five research teams, with an established data sharing culture, spanning various academic disciplines, in five European countries, indicates that important motivations for researchers to share their data include: when science directly drives the need for data sharing; when data sharing increases the visibility of the researcher; the cultural norms with regards to data sharing that exist within a research group, community or discipline; and a framework of policies, infrastructure and data services as external drivers.”

“Incentives and motivations ask for development of a data infrastructure with rich context where research data, papers and other outputs or resources are jointly available within a single data resource, as well as data sharing training to become part of standard research methods training. Different types of data sharing and research disciplines need to be acknowledged. This study helps stakeholders to understand and act upon the recommendations.”

To read the report go to:

[Source UK Data Service news: ]

Charles Dickens at 200

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

“The Christmas Carol, which Dickens wrote in the six weeks leading up to the Christmas of 1843, has continuously been in print ever since, spawning adaptations into the forms of plays, films, TV specials, mime performances, abstract performance art, and opera. This online exhibition, hosted by the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, features a leather bound manuscript of the author’s first draft, presented to his friend and debtor, Thomas Mitton, just before it’s publication. This excellent site allows viewers to visit half a dozen pages of the original document, replete with cross outs and scribbles, corrections and revisions. The accompanying essays cover topics such as Dickens at Work, which explains the sense of Dickens “writing at a fast pace, usually enacting second thoughts and changes of mind in the heat of original composition.” [CNH]”

[Source Scout Report, 7 Nov, 2014: ]

Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

“An online research resource for the history of genetics, including digitised books and archives from the Wellcome Library and partner institutions.”

The papers of twenty two scientists and organisations have been digitised, ranging in date from 1863 to 2008 and including Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick, James Sanger and the Medical Research Council Blood Group Unit.

[Source Wellcome Library: ]

Digital Culture in 2014

Monday, December 15th, 2014

“[Nesta has] published the results from the 2014 Digital Culture survey, based on the responses of 947 arts and cultural organisations in England. It’s only the second year of this major 3-year study, but we’re already seeing an interesting evolution in how arts and cultural organisations use technology.”

“In particular, where the 2013 survey uncovered relatively fast rates of technology adoption, this year’s survey paints a picture of organisations consolidating their digital activities and enhancing their impact.”

“Three out of four organisations (73 per cent) now say that digital technology is having a considerable positive impact on their ability to fulfil their mission effectively, up from 60 per cent in 2013.”

“When we established the Digital Culture study alongside the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Council England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, we had the dual purpose to create a benchmarking resource for the sector, and measure the impact of the Digital R&D fund.”

“The survey findings suggest that the Fund is well-aligned with the main trends we’re seeing emerge in the data:

  • Significantly more organisations are using digital technology to generate alternative revenue streams,
  • Organisations are optimising their web presence for mobile and enhancing their use of social media to engage audiences, and
  • Increasing numbers are use of data and enhancing their data capabilities.”

To read the report go to:

To read more go to the Nesta blog at:

[Source Nesta blog as above]

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