Top of the higher education pops

January 1, 2012

Funding cuts, how not to write a PhD thesis and the Browne review’s research were among the most popular stories with readers of our website in 2011.

Our annual round-up of vice-chancellors' pay and benefits was once again widely read, as we revealed pay and benefits (excluding pensions) for university leaders stood at just under £214,000 on average.

Twitter links to an appreciation of the life of German writer W.G. Sebald, on the 10th anniversary of his untimely death, generated tens of thousands of hits.

Our exclusive story on the cost of research commissioned for the Browne Review – just £68,000 on a single survey of students and parents – also gained thousands of readers.

Meanwhile, an appeal for universal open access to academic journals by Michael Taylor, research associate in earth sciences at University of Bristol, proved extremely popular.

The controversial move by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, which cut its PhD studentships to 1,900 in 2011-12, drew sharp criticism from leading figures in academia.

Despite being published in January 2010, a guide on ‘how not to write a PhD thesis’ continued to be much read, while a review of philosopher Ronald Dworkin’s Justice for Hedgehogs was surprisingly popular.

Google’s appeal for more humanities PhD graduates, moves by UK universities towards a GPA system of degree honours, the March announcement of funding cuts and London Metropolitan University’s radical programme of course closures were other much-read stories during 2011.

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