The Academy of Social Sciences plans to host a major conference looking at how implementing the Finch review on open access will affect the arts, humanities and social sciences. The event on 29 and 30 November will address concerns that there will not be enough money to cover publication costs under the "gold" author-pays system; open access' effects on future editions of the research excellence framework; and learned societies' worries that their journal income will fall. The conference, co-sponsored by Times Higher Education, will take place at the Royal Statistical Society in London.
Merger's a bit of a mouthful
Swansea Metropolitan University has formally announced its merger with Trinity Saint David, University of Wales, a move recommended by the Welsh government and funding council. Under the plans, Swansea Met will be known as "Swansea Metropolitan University of Wales Trinity Saint David". The two universities' logos will stay the same, and students will continue to apply separately to the different campuses through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Although the two institutions are now joined legally, Swansea Met's higher education corporation will remain active until August 2013 while the merger is completed. Governance and management have already been merged, while back-office functions, IT and the student database will be brought together in the coming year. Medwin Hughes, vice-chancellor of Trinity Saint David and the University of Wales, is the unified institution's vice-chancellor.
The Queen is to award up to six Regius professorships to UK universities to mark the Diamond Jubilee, the Cabinet Office has announced. The professorships, which come with no extra funding but enable universities to use the prestigious title, are to be awarded for excellence in teaching and research. Some 44 Regius professorships already exist across the UK and the Republic of Ireland, traditionally created when a university chair was founded or endowed by a royal patron. The most recent Regius position was created in 2009 when the University of Cambridge was allowed to redesignate an existing professorship as a Regius post to mark the university's 800th anniversary and the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Before this, the last Regius professorship had been created by Queen Victoria.
Safety first for Blighty
Students worldwide believe the UK is the safest place to study, according to an international survey. The perceived multicultural nature of British society is the key reason for its reputation as the most secure study destination, according to students from more than 80 countries who responded to a survey conducted by the British Council and online forum The Student Room. Strict laws restricting gun ownership, good medical care and a relatively low crime rate also contribute to the UK's status. More than a quarter of students who responded to the poll placed the UK top in the safety ratings. Canada came second, voted as safest by more than 15 per cent, followed by the US, Germany and New Zealand. Israel is seen as the least safe place to study due to fear of terrorist attacks, followed by South Africa, where street crime is rife.