Empirical evidence on the relationship between research and teaching in academia

Authors : Domenico A. Maisano, Luca Mastrogiacomo, Fiorenzo Franceschini

Research and teaching are the two most characteristic activities of the professional life of academics. Since the second half of the last century, a plurality of studies focused on the link between these activities, with often contrasting conclusions.

While some studies are in line with the von-Humboldtian view of research and teaching as synergistic activities, other studies theorize their uncorrelation or even negative tension. This divergence of views probably stems from the fact that investigations are often based on heterogeneous, limited and difficult-to-generalise data, using mainly qualitative metrics.

This paper deepens the study of the research-teaching link, through a survey of 251 academics from Politecnico di Torino, i.e., one of the major Italian technical universities. From a methodological point of view, research and teaching are both analysed from the dual perspective of workload and quality of results obtained, on the basis of data of various kinds, including bibliometric indicators, teaching satisfaction indexes, number of credits awarded to students, etc.

Next, a correlation analysis investigates possible links between teaching and research, showing that they tend to be weak and/or statistically insignificant. For instance, the investigation excludes both (i) the existence of a negative link in terms of workload—contradicting considerations such as “Those who do more teaching have less time to do research and vice versa”—and (ii) the existence of a positive link in terms of the quality of the results obtained—contradicting considerations such as “Those who obtain high quality results in research are likely to do the same in teaching and vice versa”.

The results of this study are limited to the Italian context and do not necessarily have general validity. Nevertheless, they enhance previous findings in the scientific literature and may be useful for university administrators and those involved in the formulation of incentive strategies for academics.

URL : Empirical evidence on the relationship between research and teaching in academia

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-023-04770-x

The Impact of Open Access on Teaching—How Far Have We Come?

Authors : Elizabeth Gadd, Chris Morrison, Jane Secker

This article seeks to understand how far the United Kingdom higher education (UK HE) sector has progressed towards open access (OA) availability of the scholarly literature it requires to support courses of study.

It uses Google Scholar, Unpaywall and Open Access Button to identify OA copies of a random sample of articles copied under the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) HE Licence to support teaching. The quantitative data analysis is combined with interviews of, and a workshop with, HE practitioners to investigate four research questions.

Firstly, what is the nature of the content being used to support courses of study? Secondly, do UK HE establishments regularly incorporate searches for open access availability into their acquisition processes to support teaching? Thirdly, what proportion of content used under the CLA Licence is also available on open access and appropriately licenced? Finally, what percentage of content used by UK HEIs under the CLA Licence is written by academics and thus has the potential for being made open access had there been support in place to enable this?

Key findings include the fact that no interviewees incorporated OA searches into their acquisitions processes. Overall, 38% of articles required to support teaching were available as OA in some form but only 7% had a findable re-use licence; just 3% had licences that specifically permitted inclusion in an ‘electronic course-pack’.

Eighty-nine percent of journal content was written by academics (34% by UK-based academics). Of these, 58% were written since 2000 and thus could arguably have been made available openly had academics been supported to do so.

URL : The Impact of Open Access on Teaching—How Far Have We Come?

DOI : https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7030056

Youth and Digital Media: From Credibility to Information Quality

Building upon a process- and context-oriented information quality framework, this paper seeks to map and explore what we know about the ways in which young users of age 18 and under search for information online, how they evaluate information, and how their related practices of content creation, levels of new literacies, general digital media usage, and social patterns affect these activities.

A review of selected literature at the intersection of digital media, youth, and information quality — primarily works from library and information science, sociology, education, and selected ethnographic studies — reveals patterns in youth’s information-seeking behavior, but also highlights the importance of contextual and demographic factors both for search and evaluation.

Looking at the phenomenon from an information-learning and educational perspective, the literature shows that youth develop competencies for personal goals that sometimes do not transfer to school, and are sometimes not appropriate for school.

Thus far, educational initiatives to educate youth about search, evaluation, or creation have depended greatly on the local circumstances for their success or failure.”

URL : http://ssrn.com/abstract=2005272