Articles on Academia

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Women are equally represented in academia, but most professors are still men. Flickr/Herkie

Why do female academics give up on becoming professors?

Australian higher education is often seen as a female-friendly industry, with overall numbers of both female students and academic staff outnumbering men. Yet women remain a minority as senior academics…
Congratulations class of 2011, you’ve been given the opportunity to have real-life professors – future classes might not. Flickr/Pauls Creative Cakes

Lost professors: we won’t need academics in 60 years

The University of Melbourne was founded in 1885 with five professors teaching 15 students. In 1952, at the start of the post-war tertiary boom, there were around 3,000 Australian academics teaching 30,000…
Universities are centres of research… but what kind of research? flickr/pcgn

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

Fundamentally, there are two big motives for research. On the on hand there is intellectual ambition: the desire to know and understand the word, to appreciate the best that has been said and thought on…
Local history has an important place in Australia. The academic world should get involved. Flickr/Kate's Photo Diary

Academic snobbery: local historians need more support

Local history is one of the most popular forms of history in Australia. Yet there is a yawning gap between the enthusiastic amateur and the academic historian. While some academic historians engage with…
Maori academics in New Zealand should be wary of talking to the non-Maori media. Flickr/geoftheref

Academic bashing in the media – a first-hand account

Maybe it’s the lot of academics to be misrepresented, but when a single incident can nearly get you sacked it makes you reconsider whether to deal with the media at all. Last year, comments of mine about…
The ARWU ranking system scored the University of Melbourne as Australia’s top research university, and number 60 in the world – up two places on last year’s rankings. Flickr/Pip_Wilson

University of Melbourne moves up global rankings

The University of Melbourne has pushed out the Australian National University (ANU) to claim the number one spot in a table…
Universities already stockpile academic papers so they can report their output to the government. But stockpiling the wrong version of the paper can restrict their right to make the paper available on open access. Flickr/Gideon Burton

How one small fix could open access to research

Providing equitable access to the findings of scholarly research is an expensive and vexed business, as many recent stories here on The Conversation have highlighted. Open access offers a way to freely…
Breaking free of the stranglehold of academic publishers holds appeal – but what are the dangers? Flickr

The pros and perils of ditching academic publishers

There are three tensions in the field of academic publishing (1) who pays to publish research? (2) who decides what gets published? and (3) who takes any profits? In the traditional model, based on publishing…
Frustration with copyright restrictions placed on scholarly work in many journals has helped fuel the Creative Commons and Open Access movements. Flickr/TilarX

Copyright or copywrong? How journals control access to research

Back in 1991, in the very earliest days of the internet, a group of high energy physicists began sharing their findings on a Los Alamos-based online archive called Arxiv. Their early experiments in the…
A growing number of academic institutions are building free online databases of their scholarly output. But publication in a big name academic journal still holds cachet for most academics. Flickr/mandiberg

Explainer: Open access vs traditional academic journal publishers

As the cost of accessing academic journal articles increases, a growing number of academic institutions are building publicly accessible databases of scholarly work. But how much of a threat to the traditional…
International education might not be as healthy as it seems Tim Ellis/Flickr.

Figures for international student enrolments can be misleading

International education has become a vital industry for the Australian economy, in recent years rivalling coal and iron ore as one of our largest export industries. But the way we’re calculating international…
How does the high cost of academic journal subscriptions impact the developing world? Flickr/Book Aid International

How academic journals price out developing countries

Universities libraries in the developed world are struggling to pay academic journal subscription costs – so how can universities in developing countries hope to pay? In this Q+A, Professor Adam Habib…
Does the cost of academic journals stymie learning? Flickr/the.Firebottle

Putting a price on knowledge: the high cost of academic journals

The phrase ‘publish or perish’ is familiar to all academics, who face enormous pressure to have their work featured in the top academic journals. Career progression, job security and pay rises can depend…

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