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Patrick Dunleavy

@Write4Research and London School of Economics

With inputs from: Jane Tinkler (Nine Dots Prize), Sierra Williams (PeerJ), David Ross (Sage Open Access), Kieran Booluck (LSE Impact blog), Beth Clark (LSE Library, Head of the Digital Scholarship and Innovation Group), and Nancy Graham, (LSE Library, Research Support team head)

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Executive Summary

Many current academic citation and referencing practices are out of date and dysfunctional, especially in leading only to closed-access and paywall sources, or in providing only details of ‘legacy’ print formats. The central principles of this Digital Style Guide are that

1 All citations/ references should lead wherever possible to a digital text, database, or other information source. …

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In the modern external impacts arena, the development of effective knowledge exchange expertise will be spread across up to nine powerful and often well-funded, centrally managed units. These are

  • the university library,
  • its online open access repository,
  • a university press,
  • website and information technology services,
  • the communications (press/media) division,
  • a unit handling government relations or elite contacts,
  • a research support division,
  • fund-raising and alumni relations organizations, and
  • the contract work or consultancy support service.

Not all of these are present in all universities, but most are. So the top leadership in any university directly controls substantial resources, that could be made to be key for developing its external impacts. However, in fact each of these organizations tends to have a ‘legacy’ identity or culture that in the modern period may not be very well adapted to seeking external impacts, especially in digital mode. What is most important for generating academic and external impacts is whether the unit concerned understands or sympathizes with the idea of two-way knowledge exchange, and how effectively they have recognized the efficacy of digital and social media and moved to adapt modern methods. …

There are sharply divided views about the academic value and role of chapters in books across disciplines, and within some of them between defenders and critics of the form. In some humanities and social science disciplines chapters account for large shares of outputs and are still well regarded. Here ‘a book chapter.. is an independent article with roughly the same status as a journal article. The review and revision process involved is very similar to that for journal articles’ says the historians’ guide by Iacovetta and Ladd-Taylor.

My chart below is taken from Bastow et al, The Impacts of the Social Sciences, and records cites from multiple different sources for a sample of British academics in 2010-13. Chapters in books accounted for more than one in eight cites in five disciplines (sociology, media studies, history, geography and law), and nearly a quarter of citations in philosophy. Note that the patterns of chapter citing are not closely correlated with those for book and edited book citing. (Sadly this study did not cover wider humanities fields, where chapters play a big role also in English, literature studies, theology and other areas). …


Writing For Research

Writing creative non-fiction at a research level is hard, skilled work, across all disciplines. Here Prof Patrick Dunleavy (LSE) collates some helpful resources

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