News in brief - 7 August 2014

August 7, 2014

Female vice-chancellors
And then there were three

Janet Beer has been named as the next vice-chancellor at the University of Liverpool. Professor Beer, currently vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, will succeed Sir Howard Newby on 1 February 2015 and become Liverpool’s first female vice-chancellor. She will also be one of only three female vice-chancellors in the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities. Professor Beer chairs the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group (responsible for the National Student Survey and Key Information Set), is an elected board member of Universities UK, a board member of Ucas and a member of the Higher Education Policy Institute advisory board. Professor Beer said: “I have strong links with the North West, so to be invited back to the region to lead the world-famous University of Liverpool feels truly special to me.”

Open access
Free papers get more citations

Open access science articles are read and cited more often than articles available only to subscribers, a study has suggested. The Research Information Network analysed the web traffic to more than 700 articles published in hybrid science journal Nature Communications in the first six months of 2013. It found that, after 180 days, articles whose authors had paid for them to be made open access had been viewed more than twice as often as those articles accessible only to the journal’s subscribers. A further analysis of more than 2,000 papers published in Nature Communications between April 2010 and June 2013 revealed that open access articles were cited a median of 11 times, compared with a median of seven citations for subscription-only articles. The paper concludes that open access papers enjoy a “small” citation advantage in all disciplines except chemistry.

British Council post
Macmillan chief is new CEO

The head of a cancer charity has been appointed as the new chief executive of the British Council. Ciarán Devane, who currently leads Macmillan Cancer Support, will take up the role from January next year, replacing Sir Martin Davidson. A former engineer, Mr Devane moved into a career in management consultancy, helping to reorganise companies such as AstraZeneca and Rolls-Royce. He then studied international policy and practice at George Washington University before leading Macmillan. In a statement, Mr Devane said: “I have a long-held interest in international affairs, cultural relations and soft power, so it is all the more a privilege to join an organisation with such a record of achievement.”

Cyber security
GCHQ backs six master’s degrees

The first six master’s degrees in cyber security to be certified by GCHQ have been unveiled. The UK’s surveillance agency announced in March that it was to offer official certification for master’s programmes that it felt provided a “general, broad foundation in cyber security”. Of the six universities with courses deemed to be of an acceptable standard, four have been awarded “full certified status”. These are: Edinburgh Napier University; Lancaster University; University of Oxford; and Royal Holloway, University of London. A further two, Cranfield University and the University of Surrey, have been granted “provisional” certification. All six programmes were judged to provide “well-defined and appropriate content, delivered to the highest standard”, GCHQ said.

Follow Times Higher Education on Twitter

Our feature on university whistleblowers, in which academics who had made disclosures reflected on the long-term impact it had on their careers, provoked a reaction online. “When I worked for Civil service and whistle blew, life was made intolerable and was told I was destroying the brand,” tweeted @valeriewalsh19, while @VTombuds said the repercussions for the whistleblowers detailed in the article made “a good argument for hiring university ombudsmen”. @ykalaw claimed that the knock-on effects of blowing the whistle meant that “so many” issues in universities “never came to light”.

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