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25 May 2014 Issue 0321 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Open access publishing on rise in China – but non-science scholars resist

In Commentary, Andrea Hacker argues that social sciences and humanities academics, who are resistant to open access publishing, should focus on the purpose of publication – to widen access to knowledge. Phil Gee describes a Plymouth University initiative that is providing core texts free as e-books, boosting student applications and performance.
Simon Marginson predicts radical and negative long-term changes to Australian higher education if Senate passes premier Tony Abbott’s budget.
In World Blog, Rahul Choudaha argues that much-needed higher education reform in India needs to begin with greater transparency. In Student View, Nevena Vuksanovic contends that consultation on the European Area of Skills and Qualifications has kicked up concerns about parallel structures and an instrumentalist approach.
In Features, Sharon Dell covers the launch of the Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – project, including its first executive training programme aimed at building capacity across Africa and South East Asia.
Nic Mitchell investigates reasons behind the sharp decline in part-time student numbers in England. Yojana Sharma reports on scholars who have called on China's government to release detained academics and activists, and on the country’s big push for open access publishing for publicly funded research.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Geoff Maslen

Tens of thousands of university students held protests across Australia last Wednesday as outrage spread at the impact the federal budget would have in sharply increasing the cost of higher education. Dozens of students were arrested in Melbourne, Sydney and other cities when they held street marches, blocked traffic and tried to enter state parliaments.
Yojana Sharma

China’s top science funding agencies – the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the National Natural Science Foundation of China – have issued new open access policies on research in a move to make research widely available. The academy said open access would “facilitate knowledge dissemination and accelerate the globalisation of science”.
Ameen Amjad Khan

Established in the historic city of Lahore in Punjab province, Pakistan’s first ‘knowledge park’ has attracted a number of foreign institutions. Britain’s University of Lancaster, Noor International University of Bangladesh and Scotland’s University of Strathclyde signed agreements in Lahore on 9 May to locate branch campuses in the park.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The government is aiming to improve the position of Russian science in the global arena by accelerating research activities at national universities.
Michael Gardner

The European Students’ Union has sharply criticised moves to drastically raise tuition fees for foreign students at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology. It claims that this would run counter to creating a European Higher Education Area.
Karen MacGregor

The latest major global university ranking, U-Multirank, was launched in Brussels earlier this month. With more than 850 higher education institutions of various types from 70 countries compared over 30 indicators – and 5,000 study programmes and 60,000 students surveyed – Europe’s answer to the ‘big three’ rankings says it is also the world’s biggest.
David Jobbins

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has been ousted from the top of the QS Asia rankings – the first time in the ranking’s history that a university from the city-state has failed to claim first place. It falls to fifth while the University of Hong Kong slips from second to third place, making way for the National University of Singapore to become Asia’s top institution.
Munyaradzi Makoni

Rhodes University fired two academics this month for falsifying and fabricating research findings submitted to scientific journals. Husband and wife team Dr Bhupesh Samant and Dr Mugdha Sukhthanakar, who worked in the pharmaceutical department, left for India before a guilty verdict could be passed on them following top-level disciplinary proceedings.
Mimi Leung

An outspoken academic twice denied tenure is taking up a job at a Hong Kong university after saying he was forced to leave Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. After keeping silent during the debate over why he was denied tenure Cherian George, a former associate professor of journalism at NTU, has spoken for the first time about his high profile case, which appears to call into question Singapore’s commitment to academic freedom.
Gilbert Nganga

At least half of graduates produced by East African universities are ‘half-baked’ for the job market, a damning survey by the bloc’s higher education regulator shows. The study, which polled employers across the region, concluded that graduates lacked employability skills – technical mastery and basic work-related capabilities.
Michael Gardner

The Max Planck Society has joined forces with Technische Universität München to launch an ambitious programme for junior scientists incorporating a tenure-track career system. The scheme is the first of its kind in Germany.
Wachira Kigotho

Women in Jordan have raised the academic bar against their male counterparts, despite entrenched cultural and social barriers that contribute to high unemployment rates among female university graduates, according to a World Bank study on gender assessment.
Sharon Dell

Higher education and research policy-makers and senior managers from nine developing countries in Africa and South East Asia converged on the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, last week for the launch of a unique executive leadership programme that aims to build capacity at national and institutional levels. The training is one stream of a Research, Higher Education, Development and Innovation – RHEDI – project also launched last week.
Nic Mitchell

A third of students at English universities study part-time, but numbers are falling and the decline accelerated between 2011 and 2013 – to the alarm of policy-makers who fear the downward spiral could harm the economic recovery. Ten years ago, 47% of all entrants to higher education were on part-time courses. Today, that figure is down to 31%.
Yojana Sharma

As Beijing authorities tighten security in the capital in the run up to the 25th anniversary of the 4 June military crackdown on pro-democracy student protests in Tiananmen Square, scholars have pressed the government to release detained academics and rights activists – and to review the official version of the event.
Rahul Choudaha

Indian higher education is highly complex. Student enrolment is growing fast and there are concerns about quality. Reform of the system needs to begin with moves towards greater transparency.
Andrea Hacker

The humanities and social sciences are more resistant to open access publishing than the sciences for a variety of reasons. But academics in these fields need to ask the question: what is the purpose of publication? Is it about personal prestige and promotion or widening access to knowledge?
Phil Gee

Does providing core texts free as e-books boost applications and could it help even the playing field among students with differing income levels? Yes, it does and it can.
Simon Marginson, The Conversation

In Hinduism Lord Brahma is the creator, Lord Vishnu is the preserver, and Lord Shiva is the destroyer and transformer. Here are rich models for contemporary leaders, whether they were raised in the Hindu tradition or not. Australia’s Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has chosen for himself the role of Shiva the destroyer and transformer.
Nevena Vuksanovic

The consultation on the European Area of Skills and Qualifications has highlighted concerns about the creation of parallel structures and an instrumentalist approach which views higher education as merely about the economy.
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Universities have called on the Tony Abbott government to delay the start date for the deregulation of course fees, warning of "grave risks" from undue haste, writes Daniel Hurst for the Guardian. And the Labor opposition has accused Abbott of misunderstanding the government's higher education overhaul, after the prime minister claimed that students who started courses next year would not face changes to their conditions of study.

A profitable student loan market has fuelled an ‘arms race’ among colleges and universities, along with an astronomic rise in tuition fees that seeks to capture the student loan dollar through increasing fees, writes Andrew Rossi for TIME.

An activist in Chile has burnt documents representing US$500 million worth of student debt during a protest at Universidad del Mar, writes Neela Debnath for The Independent.

The ‘Going Global 2014’ Conference took place in Miami with over 1,000 participants from 70 countries, writes Damtew Teferra in a blog from the Center for International Higher Education. In a discussion entitled “Post-2015 Development Framework: The role of tertiary education”, it was stated that the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals may not speak to the development of the higher education sector directly.

Walking a diplomatic tightrope between neighbouring Ukraine and Russia, Belarus – a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States – is attempting to adopt liberal market-led policies to improve the quality of higher education and to attract more international students, writes Stephen Hoare for Times Higher Education.

A Harvard physics professor was named last week as the first winner of the Minerva Prize, a new award given to a single faculty member worldwide in recognition of “extraordinary innovation” in teaching, writes Matt Rocheleau for The Boston Globe.

President of the Higher Education Council Professor Gökhan Çetinsaya announced recently the completion of a report examining the state of higher education in Turkey over the last 30 years, which concludes that universities are in need of 45,000 more academics, reports Cihan.

"This faculty is occupied," read a huge banner hanging from the mining department of an Istanbul university, where Turkish students have been holding all-night vigils over a devastating mine disaster that claimed over 300 lives, reports Channel News Asia.

Local law enforcement authorities in Morocco now have authorisation to enter universities in the event of a threat to security or public order, writes Siham Ali for Magharebia. The 6 May decision, which followed the murder of a student at the University of Fez on 24 April, has stirred up controversy in Morocco.

There is no "cover-up" when it comes to the publication of research that questions man-made climate change, two scientists have said, writes Hannah Osborne for International Business Times.

One person in five who receives university education becomes a millionaire, writes James Kirkup for The Telegraph. And 20% of all adults who hold at least one university degree – more than two million people – now have wealth totalling at least £1 million (US$1.69 million), data from the Office for National Statistics show.

The number of jam-packed classes at Seoul National University is on the rise despite the Education Ministry’s policy to enhance higher education quality, writes Yoon Min-sik for The Korea Herald.

The number of presidents at public universities making over US$1 million a year more than doubled, to nine in the 2012-13 academic year as performance bonuses drove pay higher, writes Michael McDonald for Bloomberg.

Two top universities from Israel and China announced recently that they are starting a US$300 million research project focused on nanotechnologies, the latest move in booming ties between the Jewish state and the Asian giant, writes Ariel David for Associated Press.

Academics have expressed concern over East Africa’s low university enrolment levels, writes Gashegu Muramira for The New Times. Experts made the observation during a stakeholder meeting to validate the draft East African qualification framework that kicked off in Kampala, Uganda, organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa.

University College Dublin has amended a job advertisement for a lecturing post to remove a condition that appeared to bar graduates from institutes of technology, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.
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