Wednesday, 5 May 2021

NUI Galway to host virtual Open Scholarship Week 2021

Open Scholarship Week will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally NUI Galway will host a virtual Open Scholarship Week showcasing the importance of research and education that is open and accessible to everyone. The free events will take place online from 10–14 May and is coordinated through the Open Scholarship Community Galway.  Open Scholarship is a global movement towards research and educational practices that are collaborative and transparent. It aims to make research and educational resources such as publications, data, research outputs and teaching and learning resources publicly available as early as possible, as well as actively encouraging participation in the research process with the general public. Open Scholarship Week will feature contributions from a host of national and international scientists working in the domain including the opening keynote address by Professor Frank Miedema,  Professor of Open Science at Utrecht University. The contributions will examine the current transition to Open Science, and the impact of Covid-19 on publishing globally. Panel discussions will examine how open can change the world, the use of open practices in teaching, learning, and the use of Open Educational Resources. Presentations will also focus on how research is enabled through the use of open software and open data. The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the move of researchers and institutions to push for Open Scholarship, Open Science and overall greater transparency in the execution of research. Open Scholarship Week 2021 builds on 2020 and 2019 events hosted at NUI Galway, which were the first of their kind in Ireland. It brings together researchers, academics, educators, and members of the public to highlight and showcase what Open Scholarship is and how to work together towards creating knowledge that is open to everyone. During the week themes such as films as a method of research dissemination, virtual reality and environmental protection will be examined from the open perspective. The week will also feature open workshops and a hands-on session. As part of the week’s activities, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology will host and sponsor an Open Scholarship prize in conjunction with Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland software Research Center. Hardy Schwamm, Open Scholarship Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “Thanks to our brilliant organising committee we have a varied programme for people who are new to open Scholarship as well as for Open enthusiasts. Open Scholarship Week has developed from a small, local event to an internationally recognised event that showcases the benefits of many Open practices.” The move towards Open Scholarship has received substantial support from the funders of scientific research such as the European Union Horizon programs and from national research funders such as Science Foundation Ireland. All sessions at Open Scholarship Week 2021 are free and open to everyone who is interested in the idea of Open Scholarship. To register visit For further information visit -Ends-

News Archive

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

In simulations using this new model, the local authorities that receive the largest grants are Donegal, Galway, Meath, Laois, and Wexford County Councils Researchers at the Whitaker Institute in NUI Galway have developed a new methodology for estimating top-up grants for local councils with insufficient revenue bases. The research has been published in the 2021 Spring issue of The Economic and Social Review, Ireland’s leading journal for economics and applied social science. Stephen McNena co-author of the report from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, explains: "Currently, these so-called equalisation grants are funded primarily from the 20 percent of Local Property Tax receipts that are pooled and redistributed as additional payments to councils with smaller revenue bases, with the allocation based on historical baseline supports. Of the 31 local authorities, 20 are in receipt of these payments, totalling €133.5 million for the year 2021. The local authorities that currently receive the biggest grants in euro terms are Tipperary, Donegal, and Mayo County Councils, and Waterford City and County Council." Under the revenue equalisation model proposed by the authors, as is common in other local government systems internationally, the equalisation transfers are based on a well-designed formula, objective and quantifiable data and estimates of fiscal capacity. Regarded as the ‘most sophisticated technique for assessing interjurisdictional differences, and designing an equalisation transfer system’, fiscal or revenue-raising capacity is the potential ability of a local government to raise own-source revenues. In the Irish case, own-source or local revenues are raised through commercial rates, the Local Property Tax, and fees and charges for goods and services. Estimates of fiscal capacity for the 31 local councils are calculated, and compared to a standard defined as the national average of the fiscal capacity estimates. Where the fiscal capacity of a local council is less than the standard, a local council receives an equalisation payment equal to this shortfall. In the new model, 22 local authorities are eligible for equalisation grants, totalling almost €210 million with the funding now derived from central government. In this study's simulations, the local authorities that receive the largest grants are Donegal, Galway, Meath, Laois, and Wexford County Councils.  Given the highly political nature of fiscal equalisation, any new redistributive scheme will inevitably result in losers and winners. Per head of the population served, the study found that the biggest winners are Galway, Laois, Meath and Wexford County Councils. Given that the Local Property Tax will no longer be used to fund these equalisation payments under this new model, urban councils also win out with an additional €40 million revenue income available annually to the four Dublin local authorities to fund essential services for their residents. Dr Gerard Turley, co-author of the study from the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, concludes: "As for the sensitive issue of the losers, alternative sources of funding include, if the fiscal space allows, higher taxes locally levied on commercial and/or residential properties, or in cases where it is deemed necessary, a temporary transition payment from central government. Either way, our new model provides for a local government funding model that is more transparent, sustainable and, most importantly from the perspective of financially weaker local councils providing comparable levels of public services, equitable." The authors manage the local government finance website, which is part of the Whitaker Institute’s research infrastructure at NUI Galway. To read the full paper entitled 'Equalisation transfers and local fiscal capacity: A new methodology for Ireland' visit: or Ends

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

CodePlus opens a pathway for young women to a computer science career en thousand girls attending secondary schools throughout Ireland are being targeted to redress the gender imbalance in the take-up of Computer Science in Ireland’s third-level colleges. CodePlus, a Computer Science (CS) outreach engagement project pioneered by Trinity College Dublin, is to be rolled out across the country by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software in partnership with Trinity, NUI Galway and University of Limerick (UL) over the next 24 months. The programme is funded under the SFI Discover Programme and will encourage, facilitate and provide opportunities to teenage female students to engage with Computer Science. According to Clare McInerney, Education and Public Engagement Manager with Lero, research into the CodePlus initiative shows it positively impacts female secondary school students. “The CodePlus programme is a powerful, non-formal outreach project encouraging adolescent girls to explore careers in Computer Science,” she said.  Professor Brendan Tangney, from the team at Trinity College Dublin who developed the CodePlus programme, said they found young women who participate in the 20-hour course were more likely to select a Computer Science course at third-level. “It is wonderful to see these young women grow as the course progresses. Selection of a CS course on their CAO application became a real option for them, but more importantly, they felt they would be well able for a CS course,” added Professor Tangney. Lero’s Dr Cornelia Connolly of NUI Galway’s School of Education said the goal of CodePlus is to redress the imbalance in CS graduates coming out of Irish third-level colleges. “When you look at the percentages of all undergraduate degrees in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) awarded to females over the last seven years it is stuck at just 18%, and a lowly 20% for CS courses. We need teachers and students to sign up for CodePlus. Young women are missing out on great careers in Computer Science and Computer Sceince needs more women designing for and with women; developing and leading the way,” Dr Connolly continued. Ms McInerney of Lero and UL cited the United Nations, Action Plan to Close Digital Gender Gap as one of the foundations driving the expansion of the CodePlus programme in Ireland: “Women’s equal and meaningful participation in the digital society is seen as both integral to the realisation of women’s rights in the 21st century, as well as the realisation of a just, inclusive, and rights-based information society and to achieve global objectives around gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2030.” Launching the 2021 programme today, the CodePlus team ran an online event for TY, 5th and 6th-year secondary school girls. A panel of female software industry professionals spoke about their individual career experiences to inspire and enthuse students about Computer Science. Teachers, pupils and schools who want to participate in the CodePlus initiative should contact -Ends-

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

New research from NUI Galway has revealed four different types of individual who post about charity on their social media, and it found that some types are less altruistic than they might first appear. It is a challenging time for all businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Particularly so for charity organisations who are very reliant on donations of time and money from the public and often use social media in their marketing campaigns. The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Zaragoza in Spain, and follows charitable initiatives such as the Ice Bucket Challenge and #nomakeupselfie which, as well as being awareness and fundraising initiatives, became social media sensations. The researchers wanted to know whether people who posted about charities on social media were making charity donations, or whether they were all about the action, rather than the cause. Dr Elaine Wallace, co-author of the research and Senior Lecturer in Marketing, J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, NUI Galway, said: “Although social media can be an excellent way to spread your message, there is some cynicism about these campaigns, as people participate but not everyone donates. One critic even labelled these campaigns a ‘narcissists' bonanza'.  “Previously, the term ‘Conspicuous Donation Behaviour’ was developed to explain acts of conspicuous compassion such as publicly wearing ribbons following a donation so that everyone can see that we have donated. However no-one knows whether our social media posts reflect what we do offline. We could post a selfie as part of a charitable campaign to show others how good we are, without ever donating. Or we might donate, and we might also post online to make sure everyone on social media knows about it. And this poses the question, are we ‘dirty altruists’?” The authors investigated the views of 243 Irish and 296 US Facebook users who had posted about a charity on Facebook. They measured their Conspicuous Donation Behaviour, their Facebook activity (their time spent online and number of Facebook friends), their traits (such as materialism and self-esteem), and their intention to donate time or money to that charity. Using a cluster analysis technique, four types were revealed, common to Ireland and the US: ⦁ Quiet Donors: This group are not materialistic, and they have low interest in impressing others. They are the least active on social media, but they are likely to donate money to the charity. The study labelled them ‘quiet donors’ as they are inconspicuous about their charity donations, and are not involved with conspicuous donation behaviour. ⦁ Friendly Donors: This group are active on Facebook and post about a charity only when it has a deep personal meaning for them, rather than to impress others. They have a lower need for uniqueness, and so they are not worried about standing out on Facebook. They have a high intention to donate time and money, and will donate when the charity has personal meaning. ⦁ Facebook Expressives: This group are most active on Facebook, and very conspicuous in their posts about charities online. They have a high need for uniqueness, and they may be posting about charities in order to stand out and impress their large number of Facebook friends, or because they believe it is socially acceptable. Yet they have a low intention to donate money or time to the charity, so their real world behaviour does not match their online posts. ⦁ Dirty Altruists: This group has the largest number of Facebook friends. They have a high need for uniqueness and high levels of sensitivity to others’ views of their posts, meaning they are careful to post about popular items. Unlike the Facebook Expressives, this group donate offline, but they admitted in the survey that they post about charities on Facebook to impress others. They also are highly materialistic, and so their charitable posts may be a form of conspicuous consumption. The study authors labelled them ‘Dirty Altruists’ because they are altruistic, but their altruism is tarnished because it is partly motivated by their need to make an impression on social media. Dr Isabel Buil, co-author of the study, University of Zaragoza Spain, said: “Social media presents great opportunities for charities to spread their message and engage a wide network. Our study shows that, for some (the Facebook Expressives), their online charity posts are not matched by charitable behaviour. Another group will post and donate only when the charity has a personal meaning for them (the Friendly Donors). Other types give, but they vary by the amount they post about it on social media, with Quiet Donors engaging very little with Facebook, and others by their use of social media for impression management (the Dirty Altruists).  “However, even the Facebook Expressives have the potential to spread awareness about the charity as they often have large numbers of Facebook friends. We hope our findings help charities to identify the likely donors, even the quiet ones, and those who might help to spread awareness.” To read the full study in the journal, Emerald Insight, visit: Ends

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