News in brief

November 22, 2012

'He Jargon' competition

Award-winning waffle

The University of Leeds has won the inaugural Times Higher Education "HE Jargon" competition to uncover the worst examples of management waffle circulating in the sector. Dawn Freshwater, pro vice-chancellor for staff and organisational effectiveness, secured the title for Leeds with a quote that appeared in the university's in-house magazine. Talking about organisational effectiveness, she said: "We can reframe the way we define it, so that it's not viewed as simply foregrounding cost savings, but instead a much more complex interplay of influences and drivers that facilitate opportunities for enhancing the ways in which we manage movement." A mole at Leeds, who sent us the article, will receive a bottle of champagne.

Open access

Scrutiny still under scrutiny

Research Councils UK is still finalising details of how it will monitor compliance with its open-access policy after a meeting with universities last week failed to reach consensus. The policy, effective from next April, requires all research funded by the councils to be published in open-access formats - preferably the "gold" author-pays model. A spokeswoman for the RCUK said that the meeting revealed broad support for its decision, announced earlier this month, to allocate block grants to help meet the costs of the open-access transition on the basis of direct labour costs. However, there was no consensus on how compliance should be monitored other than a view that RCUK should avoid "reinventing the wheel". She said the body would produce a "template" on the subject shortly that would be subject to further consultation.

Complementary and alternative medicine

Spinal rap for royal recognition

Critics of complementary and alternative medicine have condemned the Privy Council's decision to award a Royal Charter to the professional body for chiropractors. According to the website of the British Chiropractic Association, the College of Chiropractors was granted the charter earlier this month. The 13-year-old college is a professional membership body modelled on the medical royal colleges. It oversees the delivery of chiropractic treatments in the UK, which most notably involve the treatment of lower back pain by manipulation of the spine. The college is the first CAM organisation to receive the honour. Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter, described the award as "a serious mistake which debases the title as carried by all the other royal colleges".

Europe

Hands off Erasmus

Thousands of people have signed a petition warning European governments not to cut funding for the Erasmus student exchange programme. The petition - hosted on the change.org website - demands that the European Commission and the bodies responsible for the funding issue "a clear message confirming that the grants for the Erasmus programme are guaranteed not only for the whole [2012-13] academic year, but for the upcoming years as well". The petition comes ahead of crucial European Union talks on 22 November at which heads of state will try to agree on the EU budget from 2014. The British Council last week released statistics showing that the number of UK students participating in Erasmus has risen by 6.5 per cent since 2010-11.

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