Learned societies and subject associations representing humanities and social sciences disciplines remain extremely concerned about the impact of the new research council policies on open access publication that take effect from April next year. In a meeting organised by the British Academy, representatives from a range or organisations argued that enough thought has not been given to the consequences of the new model of charging researchers to publish on academic and university management behaviour. Academics raised questions about the long-term impact of open access publication on highly esteemed learned society journals and on the freedom to publish research in the most appropriate place.
The Academy will continue to advocate on behalf of the humanities and social sciences academic community and ensure their concerns about the impact of the open access policies are given proper consideration by policy makers. It will publish a series of commissioned essays on how academics, learned societies and university managers will deal with the new publishing environment. These essays will look at the impact in different disciplines and explore some of the potential risks involved in a rapid move to open access publication. The first set of essays will be published in spring 2013.
15 October 2012: A briefing on the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill
On 19 October 2012 this Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Baroness Cox of Queensbury, will have its second reading in the House of Lords. This briefing informs the debate around the bill and covers:
- The existing academic evidence about minority legal orders, of which sharia is only one;
- The demand from women for religious tribunals;
- How protecting women is a concern in relation to religious tribunals;
- Alternatives to prohibiting minority legal orders and the ways in which the state can work with minority legal orders.
The British Academy welcomed the report on Overseas Students and Net Migration issued on 6 September by the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and echoed its call on the government to record overseas (non-EU) students under a new classification outside the net migration limits, to allow the UK to attract more overseas students.
The Academy’s President Sir Adam Roberts restated the Academy's longstanding anxieties over the adverse impact of current immigration policy on overseas students and expressly called for them to be treated as a separate and distinct category.
This response to the House of Lords Commitee on Public Service and Demographic Change summarises the report Demographic futures and calls for a change in attitudes and assumptions about ageing and older people in the UK.
This response examines the four legislative proposals made by Ministry of Justice and Department for Education and concludes that none will have an effect on the larger number of non-resident parents who lose contact with their children without litigation occurring. However, the first three proposed clauses could cause harm to some children.
The Academy supports the general move to open access whenever feasible, but has a number of specific concerns about the proposals.
The question of how postgraduate study should be funding in the future has been largely ignored in public debate. Postgraduate study is under threat from a number of quarters, ranging from: increased levels of undergraduate debt; rising postgraduate tuition fee; the shortage of postgraduate funding opportunities; and current immigration policy. The statement makes a number of recommendations aimed at addressing these threats and urges the government to develop a holistic strategy that recognises the value of postgraduate study in the UK.
The Academy continues to express concern at the nature and speed of the government's reforms for higher education, particularly with regard to the impact on postgraduate education and vulnerable areas of provision such as languages (and related area studies) and quantitative skills. It is vital that HEFCE is vigilant about the consequences of the government's reforms in these areas, and places itself in a position to react, or to coordinate reaction, should risks be identified.
The Academy endorsed the draft Concordat to Support Research Integrity. We believe it will play an important role to reaffirm the importance of research integrity within UK institutions, and underline the various roles that people working within the sector have to play to maintain that integrity.
The Academy contributed to the Higher Education Commission's Postgraduate Education Inquiry. Much of the debate in higher education in recent years has focused on the challenges in undergraduate education; the issues facing the postgraduate sector had been largely marginalised in recent debates. Postgraduate is extremely valuable to the UK economy and society, and not solely accruing benefits to the individual. Postgraduate education prepares individuals to enter a wide variety of careers, supports the global competitiveness of the UK economy and ensures the renewal of our academic research base with the very best people.
1 February 2012: British Academy submits evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry into science and development
The Academy has contributed to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology inquiry into DfID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries. A submission from the British Academy to the Science and Technology Inquiry into DFID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries and a submission from the British Academy to the Science and Technology Inquiry into DFID’s current activities to build scientific capacity in developing countries were submitted in December 2011 and on 1 February 2012, Professor Graham Furniss FBA, Chair of the British Academy’s Africa Panel, will give oral evidence. We welcome DFID’s efforts to build capacity internationally, believing that limited success in this area has in large part been due to the complex nature of capacity building, and the difficulties inherent within this. However, we argue that more could be achieved by a long-term, sustainable approach to activity and by ensuring that strengthening research capacity forms an integral part of the government’s development work. Foremost, the Academy stresses the need to ensure that capacity building is not narrowly defined to refer only to the STEM subjects, and that the value of the humanities and social sciences in addressing development issues be recognised.
The British Academy has responded to the Scotland Office consultation on facilitating a legal, fair and decisive referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom.
Directive 93/7/EEC makes provisions to ensure the return of national treasures removed from an EU member country and now located in another EU country. This response highlights the most urgent points the British Academy feel the European Commission should address regarding the functioning of the Directive.
This paper for the British Academy Review examines what individual electoral registration would mean, in particular how it would impact on constituency boundaries, and concludes that under the current proposals its introduction could have a profound impact on the nature of British representative democracy.
Authors: Ron Johnston FBA, Iain McLean FBA
26 November 2009: Research Excellence Framework: The British Academy’s Contribution to HEFCE’s consultation
21 November 2009: Research Excellence Framework – Position Statement by the UK Strategic Forum for the Social Sciences
30 September 2009: The Fruits of Curiosity: Science, Innovation and Future Sources of Wealth – A Submission from the British Academy to the Royal Society’s call for evidence
25 September 2009: Setting Science and Technology Research Funding Priorities – A Submission from the British Academy to an Inquiry by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee
January 2009 – updated July 2009: Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy: Evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills
3 June 2009: Language Matters - A Position Paper
3 June 2009: Language Matters: The supply of and demand for UK born and educated academic researchers with skills in languages other than English (Report commissioned from RAND Europe)
12 May 2009: International Development Select Committee Inquiry: DFID’s Programme in Nigeria Submission by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the British Academy
May 2009: Future Directions: A response to the AHRC consultation
March 2009: The Nairobi Report: Frameworks for Africa-UK Research Collaboration in the Humanities and Social Sciences
11 March 2009: Review of Government Official History Programme
October 2008: Submission to RCUK consultation on 'A Code of Conduct and Policy on the Governance of Good Research Conduct'
October 2008: Submission to the DIUS consultation 'A Vision for Science and Society'
September 2008: Submission to the ESRC consultation on its Strategic Plan for 2009-10
April 2008: Joint Guidelines on Copyright and Academic Research: Guidelines for researchers and publishers in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Published jointly by the British Academy and the Publishers Association)
March 2008: Review of the 30-year rule
February 2008: Response to the questions posed by the HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework