One Thought To Start Your Day
You may recall that in last Friday’s blog I was looking at scientific output of world-class universities. I could do that thanks to quite an excellent database available from Leiden University’s Centre for Science and Technology Studies, developers of the excellent multi-dimensional Leiden Rankings, which do a strong job of comparing university research output and impact. I have covered this output and impact a couple of times before back here and here. This same data can be used to compare Canadian institutions – or at least the … [ Read More ]
The post-Naylor Report effort to get big new investments in fundamental science is in trouble. Bluntly, the Finance Department appears not to be buying the argument that fundamental research is, in fact, a good investment. I’m not 100% surprised: the Naylor mostly tended to assume the wider benefits of research to economic growth rather than demonstrate or prove it, and the big U-15 institutions have banked everything on a rhetorical strategy of: money for research à a miracle occurs à innovation and growth! A … [ Read More ]
On a pretty regular basis, some academic or other pens a piece in the popular press talking about overproduction of PhDs. Take for example this 2015 Jonathan Wolff piece in the Guardian with a piece entitled “Doctor, doctor we’re suffering from a glut of PhDs who can’t find academic jobs” in which he obsesses about a figures in a 2010 Royal Society document suggesting that of 200 people who complete a PhD only seven will get a permanent academic post and one will become … [ Read More ]
Over the past few days, I’ve been providing a lot of data on how well global “world-class universities” are faring (briefly: most of them are doing pretty well, the ones in Canada much less so). But to some degree the real question is: does any of this matter? Do higher expenditures per student actually result in greater academic output? And if not, why not?
To answer this question requires a quick detour into the issue of bibliometrics. If you try … [ Read More ]
One of the knocks against the whole idea of “world-class universities” is that it tends to reinforce institutional privilege; that it’s mostly about big universities with big reputations aiming to expand their financial advantage over everyone else. Without speaking to motive, it is possible to use the financial data I’ve been writing about these last couple of days to examine empirically whether it is true the top dogs are gaining on everyone else or not. And what the data tell us … [ Read More ]