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Getting the hang of academic dress

I recently had the opportunity to join the academic processional at my friend’s graduation. What was funny about this was that although I’m a member of staff, my own PhD is still under examination, so…
You haven’t used ‘stakeholder’ enough. Professor and student via Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

To write English like a professor, don’t rely on Google translate

Thankfully, nobody speaks academic English as a first language. The English of the university is a very particular form that has specific features and conventions. Sometimes, this is just referred to as…
The hanging of Masha. Bruskina on October 26 1941 was the first of the Nazis' many public executions in occupied Russia. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/masha.html

Academics and ‘barbarians’: why one article aroused Russian ire

It’s not easy for Australians to become famous in Russia. It would seem harder still to become a figure of loathing in Russian print and online media. But Associate Professor Timothy Lynch, who teaches…
It is the role of academic researchers to challenge the relationships between government and corporations that allows society to be damaged – such as in the recent Hazlewood mine fire. AAP

Critical scholarship in a hostile climate: academics and the public

Corporations are involved in every area of our lives. In our education, health, welfare and criminal justice systems, they are ever-present. So obvious is this “fact” of life that it is often only in moments…
Academics may find they are increasingly able to use altmetrics in the place of traditional modes of tracking reach. Shutterstock

Are universities turning into giant newsrooms?

Like many of my fellow journalism lecturers, I often get asked for tips on turning academic research into journalism pieces. These requests have been getting more frequent. It’s a compliment, but why is…
Academics are often accused of political bias – but should your nail your political colours to the mast? Colour image www.shutterstock.com

Showing your colours: the good and bad of academics joining political parties

I’ve always thought being an academic is like living in the middle of an endless war where the weapon of choice is words. You could say the same of parliament, so it is perhaps surprising that relatively…
Some say the academic book is dead, or at least, dying. But is that true? And is there anything to be done about it? Book image from www.shutterstock.com

The death of the academic book and the path to Open Access

Is publishing academic books a dying trade? And if so, are free e-books from universities likely to deal the final blow? The future of book publishing in general is hotly contested, but particularly so…
A new academic work which covers all of Australia’s history is a timely addition to Australian historical scholarship. Australia image from www.shutterstock.com

Our past revisited: new Cambridge History of Australia gives us the big picture

This week’s launch of the two-volume Cambridge History of Australia comes just as the Coalition government fires the opening salvo of a new battle in the Australian history wars. Over the past 12 months…
Unfair working conditions are nothing new in academia. chancellorgriffin

Zero-hour contracts shame British universities

Further and higher education institutions have a long and ignoble history of employing staff on zero-hour contracts, so figures released last week by the University and College Union come as no surprise…
Which self are you expressing when you vent online? west.m

140 thoughtless characters cost dear in academia

The censuring of an academic in the US for sending out an offensive tweet has led many university tweeters to pause for thought. Geoffrey Miller, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University…
There are plenty of myths about open access – are any of them true? Open lock image from www.shutterstock.com

Busting the top five myths about open access publishing

Rather than lock up knowledge in costly journals, increasingly universities and governments are recognising that publicly funded research should be open to all. This past year has seen new open access…
The open education movement seems as though it’s here to stay – but why would anyone give away their work for free? Open book image from www.shutterstock.com

Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement

The New York Times dubbed 2012 the year of the MOOC. And for many, the seemingly unstoppable rise of Massive Open Online Courses – courses which are offered for free by prestigious universities – is where…
A longer academic year would have serious drawbacks for university students and staff. Academic image from www.shutterstock.com

Idle time? Why we don’t need a longer academic year

This week Coalition MP Alan Tudge wrote a piece in the Australian Financial Review calling for an end to the 26-week academic year. In his article, he said students were spending the remainder of their…
It’s time to move past outdated ideas about porn. hansol

Academia needs a porn journal: here’s why

The launch of a new academic journal doesn’t usually grab popular media interest. But the first journal of Porn Studies seems to have bucked the trend. For the most part, media coverage has contained more…
A Palestinian farmer and Israeli soldier clash in an olive grove. Can academics in other countries affect this situation by boycotting one side or the other? AAP/Abed Al Hashlamoun

Academics and activism: Stephen Hawking and the Israel boycott

The news that famous physicist Stephen Hawking has decided to join the academic boycott of Israel has attracted some heated commentary. Hawking pulled out of attending an Israeli conference in June, explaining…

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