Monthly Archives: May 2016

Spurious Correlations

As empirical social scientists, we are always looking for relationships between different phenomena. However, we need to be very careful which variables we include in our empirical models. For example, Spector and Brannick (2011) point out that common control variables (e.g., age or size of an organization) are often rather included because of “methodological urban legends” than for theoretical reasons. Therefore, many significant findings denote unobserved relationships or just correlate by chance.

I just came across a website which collects spurious correlations – just in case anyone needs further arguments, why a relationship should be established conceptually first.

Source: Spector, P. E., & Brannick, M. T. (2011). Methodological urban legends: The misuse of statistical control variables. Organizational Research Methods.

CfP: 2016 Technology Transfer Society (T2S) Conference

The 2016 Technology Transfer Society (T2S) Conference will be held from November 3-5, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference theme is on Innovative Mechanisms for the Exchange of New Knowledge. Contributions may include the following areas:

  • Research Centers, Groups and Team Dynamics
  • University R&D Collaborations
  • Ethical and Normative Issues in Technology Transfer and Research Collaboration
  • Academic Entrepreneurship
  • Public Sector Entrepreneurship
  • Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship support policies and programs
  • Models of University Technology Transfer

Submission deadline for session proposals (1-2 pages) or research abstracts (300-500 words) is on July 1, 2016. Find more information on the conference website.

CfP: 2016 EFMD Higher Education Research Conference

This year’s EFMD Higher Education Research Conference will take place at IESE Business School Barcelona on October 10-11, 2016. The main focus is on “Innovation in Higher Education” and the organizing committee invites submissions to the following areas: (1) Innovations in forms of governance, management and organisation of higher education institutions, (2) Innovations in education, or (3) Innovations in research.

Submissions deadline for outline papers (2,000 words) or full papers is on May 27, 2016. For further information read the full call for papers or visit the conference website.

CfP: 8. ZSM junior meeting on 28th & 29th October 2016 in Magdeburg: „Hochschulen als Organisation und die Organisation von Hochschulen– Reformen des Wissenschaftsbetriebs in Theorie und Praxis.“

On 28th & 29th October 2016 the junior meeting of the “Zentrum für Sozialweltforschung und Methodenentwicklung” (ZSM) titled „Hochschulen als Organisation und die Organisation von Hochschulen– Reformen des Wissenschaftsbetriebs in Theorie und Praxis.“ takes place at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, faculty of human sciences.

The meeting wants to provide a forum of exchange for junior scholars of all disciplines concerned with higher education research. The aim of the meeting is to connect researchers of different disciplines concerned with topics like new governance mechanisms in academia, changing views of science or changing power relations in higher education.

Paper proposals (max. 3000 characters) or posters (max. 1500 characters) presenting results of empirical, theoretical or conceptual work can be submitted until 31st May to For further information take a look at the call for papers.

CfP: Conference on Higher Education Partnership Trends and Policy Issues between African and European Higher Education Institutions

The conference is organized by the Workgroup “Higher Education and Society in Africa” and will take place at Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth on 3-4 November 2016.

Deadline of submission is 10 June 2016.

Please find the full call for papers here.

IndiKon on Tour: Workshop on Scientists’ Careers @ Kassel

The Economic Policy Research Group and the INCHER Kassel are hosting a workshop on “Scientists’ Careers Inside and Outside the University”. It takes place on June 27-28 2016 at the Science Park of the University of Kassel. The workshop brings together international scholars with a research interest in academic personnel development. I’ll present results from a survey, asking “How important is the junior professorship? Self-reported success factors of academic careers in four scientific fields”. Attendance to the workshop is free. Click here for more information.