Tag Archives: research

What is the impact of publicly funded science research?

Well, we dont know… BUT we are going to try to shed some light on it.

A debate, a colloquium, a discussion. A group of local and international analysts, funders and policymakers will discuss this on 13 November 2015, RCPI Dublin.

Details here:  Open Policy Debate on Measuring Impact Programme Outline.

Booking (free) here:

Marie Curie Fellowships – Expressions of Interest sought

So, I am, along with some colleagues, interested in taking on some postdoc fellows under the Marie Curie programme.

One would be on a project on the the global determinants of metal and other critical mineral production. The main thrust is to examine the relationship between mineral production costs and mineral prices, investigating which leads which and in what regard.

The second is to address the matter of higher education institutions within the framework of local regional development objectives of maximizing employment, output and FDI investment potential as part of a suite of supply-side policies. The aim is for the candidate to work towards an analysis of the local Irish context and subsequently aim to make a series of comparisons with other similar regions of the European Union.

Candidates should have a phd in economics, with ag/resource economics a boon for the first and economic geography/regional studies for the second.

If you are possibly interested, let me know by email, with a compresensive CV, letter of interest, and a sample of recent research.

Predatory and Pay for Publish journals and Irish Academia.

Being the editor of the journal gives you a perspective on the publishing process that is not available to the majority of academic researchers. One of the issues that strikes you is that there is an enormous volume of material seeking a home. Into this gap have come open access journals, new journals from existing publishers, but also a host of predatory journals. Unfortunately, some Irish academics are either falling prey or worse are deliberately seeking out publication opportunities in these predatory journals.

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Knowledge Transfer Ireland – Partial, Error ridden and Naïve


Knowledge is only useful if people know it exists. So it is great to see Knowledge Transfer Ireland established, to start to allow organizations and individuals to seek out the knowledge in Irish third level institutions.

At least , it would be if it worked. . It doesnt

Look first at economics. Inputting “economics”  we see on the front page (how is this ranked? Is it random? ) my good self and we also see Richard J Tol as economics in TCD. I am in the Business school and work in Finance. He is in Sussex, and has been for some considerable time.

I apparently have 31 publications (an undercount by at least an order of three if we look at just peer reviewed publications and by seven fold if we look at all publications).  If we look at the TCD research system record we see nearly all my publications. If we look at google scholar, to which the KTI system neatly provides a link we see a pretty full record again.  The system misclassifies my research interest,  and it misses most of my research output. This alone tells me, straight out the box, that KTI is next to useless.

Looking at the TCD Economics profile of experts, again it’s a mess. It contains (some) of the people who actually work there; it also contains people who work in the Central Bank, a whole bunch of ESRI folk, a smattering of people in TCD in areas as disparate as law, sociology, business, sports science….

A quick glance at the other universities shows similar problems.

It proudly states that it “ automatically builds expert profiles from publication output, patent submissions and funding attainment. .Aficionado is unique in that it never asks an expert to create or maintain a profile on our system.“ and that’s a problem. If they are going to just trawl open access archives (as they seem to do) then they cannot present that as remotely like a full picture of any research endeavour. It seems that they have, as so often in Ireland, tried to do it on the cheap. Bibliometric databases abound and a decent system would use all of them, firewalled and open, to build a picture. Not here.  Beyond that the data are presented in a whizzbang graphics rich mode that is devoid of any hint of bibliometric or other analysis. Every paper is the same as every other. A raw paper count is produced but there is no sense of quality in any sense.


This portal may well be an accurate representation of the STEM areas researchers and research profile. The thrust of the thing seems to be towards that area – leaving aside the fact that the centers of global excellence in Irish universities is in Arts, Humanities and Social Studies –  but the data seem to me to be so patchy, poorly presented and flawed as to make it useless.  If it is merely meant to be for STEM patentable  right-now commercial research then say so. We know that AHSS research is not valued, so lets be upfront.  This exercise has been supported by the taxpayer via Enterprise Ireland, launched by the government via Richard Bruton and its shoddy.



What good is a university education?

What good is a university? Economists think a lot about goods, and the classifications of them can shed some light on the present state of Irish higher education.

We can think about goods in several ways.  All are useful.

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