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Economics & Public Policy Extra


The latest Library news and information for economists and political scientists


The Conversation is looking for data-driven academic research

By Kieron L Jones, on 27 February 2014

Researchers from UK universities and research institutes now have a powerful new channel to get visibility for research underpinned by secondary data.

The Conversation is a fast-growing, independent and non-profit source of data-driven news.

It was established in the UK as a charitable organisation with support from academic funders HEFCE, HEFCW and the Scottish Funding Council along with Research Councils UK and several independent research foundations. Twenty UK universities have added their support as founding partners. The site currently features articles from experts at 113 universities and other academic institutions across the UK.

Academic researchers who use data from the UK Data Service may find The Conversation an especially helpful place to:

  • gain visibility for their work
  • share their expert knowledge with those who shape public policy
  • stimulate debates on issues of interest to wider society

Contributing authors receive a photo byline and short bio, along with access to a suite of behind-the-scenes analytics to better understand the volume and diversity of each article’s readers – a handy and visual way to demonstrate impact.

The editorial process is transparent, online, and guided by trained journalists who have worked at leading publications including The Guardian, The Economist, Reuters and The Observer. The editors are also open to working with academic authors on better ways of visualising the data they use.

The Conversation UK website is organised into themes including:

  • business and economy
  • education
  • politics and society
  • science and technology
  • health and medicine

In addition, articles are indexed by individual topics, with the option for readers to subscribe to topics of personal or professional interest. Articles filed under the Hard Evidence topic are specifically written by academics with a body of published work who ‘use research evidence to tackle the trickiest public policy questions’.

There are several ways to get involved:

  • sign up to the newsletter: get a flavour of the kind of articles featured in The Conversation
  • pitch an idea: describe an article you’d like to write in 100 words or less – or suggest a colleague who might have the expertise to contribute
  • become an author: set up an academic account and submit an article

Researchers who write articles based on data from the UK Data Service are encouraged to cite their data to acknowledge the data source, make it easier for others to find, and to encourage more secondary analysis. For more on how (and why) to cite research data, see the ESRC’s guidance Data citation: What you need to know.

To learn more:

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