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When a Tenure Bid Fails

Over at Inside Higher Ed, there’s an unfortunate story of three tenure denials at Northeastern University. It’s a sad, cautionary tale for any researcher on the tenure track. All three of these researchers were praised by their departments and deans for the accomplishments — and then they were summarily denied tenure by a provost.

We here at ResearchFlow(TM) feel for these researchers and hope they land on their feet.

We also want to use this opportunity to let other researchers on the tenure track know that ResearchFlow(TM) can help prevent this situation. If you read the article, you’ll see that Northeastern is increasing its emphasis on research impacts. These are independent of approval of faculty committees and peers — these are standards that are measurable. We at ResearchFlow(TM) offer just this to both researchers and admins: measurements of citations, word counts, social media reputation, browsing habits, IP generated, and much more. We offer this to take the guesswork out of the tenure process and to give researchers — and their bosses in the administrative offices — peace of mind.

The future of Academic Work: ResearchFlow(TM)

Over in the Chronicle of Higher Education, there’s a fantastic piece about the future of academic work. It’s worth a read!

Key ideas we’d point out:

As lawmakers, parents, and students continue to question whether a college degree is worth it, and as higher education struggles to reinvent itself, professors are sure to face more scrutiny about their workloads.

At ResearchFlow(TM), we couldn’t agree more. We offer lawmakers, parents, students, administrators, and of course faculty access to beautiful visualizations of faculty activity. ResearchFlow(TM) doesn’t just track articles or books. It tracks browsing habits, keystrokes, mouse movements, items saved in Endnote, and words. In this way, everyone from state governors to administrators knows how hard faculty are working to produce new knowledge.

Dedicated office space on campus may not always be a given in the workplace of the future, even for some tenured and tenure-track professors.

Indeed. This is why ResearchFlow(TM) is geared towards helping academics anywhere they are. Install ResearchFlow(TM) on any computer a scholar uses, and all the data is synced and coordinated in our cloud-enabled server farm. We’re on the cutting-edge of the new officeless work environs that faculty will no doubt thrive in.

Saint Mary’s College of California considers itself a teaching institution, and that mission guides the way professors there think about technology. The college’s Education Technology Group, led by Jeffrey A. Sigman, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, awards grants to faculty members who want to use a new technology in their teaching or scholarship or test a current one.

This is fantastic! Colleges can use grant money and federal funds to purchase subscriptions to new technology apps, including, of course, ResearchFlow(TM). Free and open source software or older technologies (such as paper, chalk, etc), will not cut it when it comes to improving scholarly productivity. What’s needed is more high-quality, proprietary apps in higher education.

The title of the Chronicle piece is “The Uncertain Future of Academic Work.” We here at ResearchFlow(TM) feel that one thing is certain: change. And we intend to lead it. Join us today!

The Facebook Experiment

As many of you have probably seen, researchers at Facebook have teamed up with psychologists at Cornell and UC-San Francisco in a massive experiment to see how emotions propagate across that social network. The results were astounding: by adjusting a person’s “stream” by only a few words (positive, or negative), they were able to change the moods of thousands of Facebook users! Naturally, they’re interested in emotional propagation because they value the experience of their users. Simply put, Facebook wants us to be happy, and so they rightly seek the best algorithms to produce that result.

This research has inspired us at ResearchFlow(TM). We are, of course, the premier system to improve researcher productivity. We provide workflow solutions that keep researchers on task, guiding them from one idea to the next, and getting their research out the door. Administrators who work with us see results.

But the Facebook study tells us that we could do more. What if we find ways to not only make researchers more productive, but happier too? A happy researcher is a productive one, no doubt!

So, we’re announcing that one of our next projects will be to add emotional intelligence to a future release of ResearchFlow(TM). We envision this emotional intelligence system to not only monitor the researcher’s productivity, but her emotional state as well, and offer happy messages that keep the researcher feeling great. Imagine a researcher working hard on a paper about 19th century Mardi Gras festivals but feeling overwhelmed by all the research, when a message pops up:

You’re writing the definitive piece on 19th Century Mardi Gras festivals! Keep it up!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better!

This, along with our other future plans (such as TheoryPaks(TM)) will make ResearchFlow(TM) an even more valuable part of researchers’ lives.

So why not get ResearchFlow(TM) going on your campus? The future is ours — and it’s looking happy!

Open offices — both real world and virtual

First off — welcome to the ResearchFlow(TM) blog! Here we will provide the latest news about the ResearchFlow(TM) community, as well as comments on the latest in the higher ed industry, the digital humanities, and more! Now, on to the blogging…

Over at Inside Higher Ed, Joshua Kim has a remarkable piece about open offices in the higher education industrial space. As he notes,

In the academic context, less office space can mean more space tied to mission.  More space for classrooms and labs.

Less office space can also mean more public spaces.  More spaces for collaboration.  More spaces for communication.

Most importantly, spending less money on square feet means more money for more brains.

We at ResearchFlow(TM) love this! We’d only add that open offices don’t just happen in the “real world” — that is, in the physical space of desks, watercoolers, and coffee machines — but also virtually. In fact, ResearchFlow(TM) can be thought of as a “virtual” open office — a space where communication and collaboration flows through central servers, where Deans and adjuncts, full profs and postdocs, work side-by-side, collaborating on the latest humanities research. We believe not in faculty doing their work on “closed” computers (behind closed doors), but rather on “open”, networked computers that allow all to see keystrokes, browsing habits, and sources gathered. That way, newer and truer forms of collaboration will be made possible, and those who are having trouble producing research or getting grants can get help.

That’s just like what happens in a well-planned open office, just as Kim notes. More “virtual space” for collaboration is possible — with ResearchFlow(TM). Check it out now!