A university press is most often a loss making entity serving an established research university. In addition to producing textbooks for students, its rationale has long been to serve the needs of scholars by publishing peer-reviewed research, advancing the university’s academic mission, and helping faculty members gain tenure. Carl Straumsheim (Inside Higher Ed) explores the daunting challenges currently facing this venerable institution. Read more about his research here.

Those who campaign for the use of empirical research to drive public policy design and implementation should be reminded of the difficulties inherent in the task. A case in point would be to consider two recent papers that are well thought out, are based on plausible theory, and have sound research design but reach the exact opposite conclusions. Read more about these two studies here.

Back in the day, many development economists would tally up a household's ownership of consumer durables to estimate their socioeconomic position. Should they be counting local bug populations instead? A recent paper by Leong et al. in Biology Letters explores the possibility of identifying the socio-economic status of urban neighborhoods by establishing indoor arthropod diversity. Read more about this study here.

Scientific research is increasingly collaborative and contributions made by each author must be suitably acknowledged by co-authors. Often, there is much prestige associated with being the first author of a published paper. Hence, the decision-making  process in a contribution-based system can be quite contentious. Economics avoids this potential rancor by being one of the very few disciplines to list authors in alphabetical order. Matthias Weber has identified the presence of alphabetical discrimination in economics and the strategies used by researchers to counter its effects. Read more about his research here

In today’s digital world, there are numerous platforms on which people can pose questions and add to their knowledge. In August 2016, EconTalk - one of the leading economics podcasts - host Russ Roberts interviewed Adam D'Angelo (CEO of Quora) on the challenges of getting the right questions to the people best placed to answer them. Read more about it here.

Russ Roberts, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, talks to Matthew Futterman, sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, about his recent book "Players" on the progress, innovation, and excellence in sports driven by the increasing professionalism of athletes. Read more about this here.

A recent paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives by Cowen and Tabarrok examines the various questionable approaches used in defense of continued government support of grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) towards economic research. The authors acknowledge that there is a positive externality justification for public sector support of scientific research. The authors also go on to raise uncomfortable questions regarding the marginal value of NSF funding when there is significant institutional support for economic research. Read more about this here.

Has econometrics taught in classes kept pace with its application? Is a paradigm shift needed? Angrist and Pischke’s (2017) “Undergraduate econometrics instruction: through our classes, darkly” compares old and new approaches to regression by contrasting two studies, and then assesses classic and contemporary textbooks and course outlines to address the gap between “is” and “should” in the field. Read more about their research here.