The first blog post: 23 Things

This is the post excerpt.


My first blog posting, winter 2017, july.


Ethics in an age of data breaches

oh my, worth many many thoughts about ethics in research…….

The Research Whisperer

This post began as a comment on a blog post, The Ethics of Research on Leaked Data: Ashley Madison, by Neurosceptic on their Discover Magazine’s blog, 14 July 2018.

I’ve expanded it here to provide context and background.

Photo by Oumaima Ben Chebtit | unsplash.comPhoto by Oumaima Ben Chebtit | unsplash.com

In August 2015, a hacking group released data from AshleyMadison.com, a website designed to attract funds from men seeking an extramarital affair.

Before the year was out, academics were drawing on the Ashley Madison breach data.

I’ve found five journal articles or scholarly papers that draw on the data.

  • Grieser, William, Rachel Li, and Andrei Simonov. ‘Integrity, Creativity, and Corporate Culture’. SSRN Scholarly Paper. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network, 19 April 2017. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2741049.

Grieser, Li and Simonov (all based in the USA) used email domain names to compare the proportion of staff in the Ashley Madison breach data with occurrences of corporate…

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Hiya Norm, Where ‘Ya Headed?

the power of history revealed

The Activist History Review

We are history. I know that sounds like some cheesy line from an intro-level seminar, but it really is true in both senses of the phrase. We are history in an existential sense, because we die. From this we draw an imperative to live. We are also history, though, because we are material and ideological expressions of the past. We are born into worlds with preexisting conditions—ideas, hierarchies, inequalities, to name a few—and, through the course of our lives, decide whether we will replicate or change these flaws. The two together, our impending death and our knowledge about our place in the world, are what make studying history so important.

History helps us understand the failures of prior generations and, from them, to construct norms by which we can better live. From history, we learn that there is no “great again” to which we can return, that we are dangerous…

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The Social Structures of Global Academia – New Book, Coming Soon!

bobbydazzler Book

the social thinker

Since the broadly neoliberal reforms of the 1980s, debates about the future of higher education have been a contest over the rightful mission of universities. From the corporatisation of public research in the USA’s Bayh-Dole Act (1980), to the reputation markets produced through the UK’s RAE/REF, and the quasi-markets produced through Australia’s demand-driven Unified National System of higher education, economistic language has been central to the pronouncements of both advocates and critics of these reforms. Formalised economics has long been recognised as the unifying language of politics, with behavioural economists checking the grammar of Homo economicus.

By contrast, the study of institutional culture in higher education has been much slower to develop as a unified or even comparative practice. The sociology of academia has long been associated with the names of Max Weber, Robert Merton, Edward Shils, then Pierre Bourdieu, Mary Henkel, Tony Becher and Paul Trowler. However, these…

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Five benefits of a writing ‘system’

oooh writing systems

The Research Whisperer

Chris Smith is co-founder of Prolifiko and interested in using behavioural science, neuroscience and positive persuasive technology to unlock human potential.

He’s also a consultant to academic publishers and higher education advising on marketing and digital strategy, design thinking and the future of edtech.

Chris is a former founder of Swarm, a content and digital marketing agency, and a former lecturer in social psychology, continental philosophy and aesthetics.

Prolifiko tweets from @beprolifiko.

Working hands (photo by madamepsychosis on flickr) | www.flickr.com/photos/belljarWorking hands (photo by madamepsychosis on flickr) | http://www.flickr.com/photos/belljar

In July, I wrote about Prolifiko’s survey of scholarly writing practice, and our early objectives for that study. We teamed up with two academics and a data insight expert to design a large-scale study into academic writing practice.

So far, the study has gathered responses from 510 academics from over 40 countries and the interim findings build an intriguing picture of how academics write.

The data reveals…

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Stephen Hawking: Technology drives ever-increasing inequality

the history of class struggles and new tech 0-Hawking spoke

Economic Sociology and Political Economy

On 6 October 2015, a great theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking conducted a special Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session. Out of the thousands of submitted issues, Hawking selected those he wished to reply, mainly discussing aspects of artificial intelligence. In conclusion, Hawking picked a question about technological unemployment and ended with an insightful alarming observation on socio-economic and political trajectories:

Q: Have you thought about the possibility of technological unemployment, where we develop automated processes that ultimately cause large unemployment by performing jobs faster and/or cheaper than people can perform them? Some compare this thought to the thoughts of the Luddites, whose revolt was caused in part by perceived technological unemployment over 100 years ago. In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated?
Stephen Hawking: “If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy…

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Lessons learned through failure

learning curves, failures and academia

ESRC blog

by Olivia Maynard

This is how I chose to tell my colleagues on Twitter that I’d been awarded a prestigious ESRC New Investigator Grant. People congratulated me and ‘liked’ my post – it looked like a fantastic success story. However, I’m sure there were many (particularly other early career researchers) who read my post in dismay –  I certainly remember the feeling of personal failure when others had posted something similar in the past. So, I quickly decided to follow up my initial post to show that every success story has a (often long) back story…

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Toxic workplace cultures and bullying at work

another one – adds to a increasing evidence base —

Minding the Workplace

Those who have studied workplace bullying, mobbing, and abuse know very well that these behaviors are often stoked by toxic organizational cultures. Today I emphasized that theme in a presentation at a workplace mental health seminar hosted by The Conference Board (TCB), “a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest.”

I built my remarks around the concept of relational workplace cultures so brilliantly developed by Drs. Linda Hartling and Elizabeth Sparks in their 2002 paper, “Relational-Cultural Practice: Working in a Nonrelational World” (2002), which I’ve referenced on numerous occasions on this blog.  (Linda Hartling is the current director of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network.)

According to Hartling and Sparks, a “relational” culture is one that values “growth-fostering relationships, mutual empathy, mutuality, [and] authenticity,” creating qualities of “zest, empowerment, clarity, sense of worth, and a desire for more connection.”

By contrast, three types of…

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