H809 – 3 weeks in

So far the course is teaching many new areas that were previously a mystery. Things such as academic search engines, citation tools and the number of cited references a paper has…! which Atholl has rightly pointed out as a serious issue for academics in England as citations and “impact” will be used in the REF, the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions that replaces the previous RAE.

It seems HEFCE will use the REF results to allocate funding – which is judged by its value based on given citation. This is a worrying factor as surely the value of the written paper should be marked on its own merits and any citation be a secondary factor. I’m also wondering if certain references are not present, the funding bids won’t even get a look in – nevermind a read.

I have to thank Jane B, Alessando and Deirdre for explaining why I couldn’t find any reference to the Wegerif Mercer paper, it was driving me mad – having never used ISI WOK, Google Scholar, Refworks or not really understanding what any of them do. What I can say is that after having set the Google Scholar preferences to use the OU Library and RefWorks, it will make life easier from now on – I’m a great Google fan and love its simplicity.

I’m not too sure about this RefWorks citation tool, I’ll try it out and see how it goes. I also have to confess to ‘not knowingly’ using academic search engines before – despite doing H808 before this.

So to me, all these clever H809 people have heaps of stuff I can learn from and by reading the forums, I learnt loads already.

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