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Top 15 Times Higher Education stories of 2013

From the advice you need (but rarely get) to pick the right PhD supervisor, to an extraordinary rant about the idiocy of the research excellence framework, we reveal our most-read stories of 2013

Best of 2013 rosette

Times Higher Education readers have shown particular interest in global stories, including features on the rise of Singaporean universities and on life as an expatriate scholar in Japan, as well as the inaugural THE Global Gender Index, which exposed the inequalities facing women in higher education worldwide.

Here, from fifteen to one (and excluding stories on the THE World University Rankings), are our most-read stories of the year.

David Lyttleton feature illustration (18 July 2013)

Source: David Lyttleton

15. Branded to death (18 July 2013)

The marketeers’ blandishments are reducing to ashes the pursuit of knowledge and the very idea of the university, argues Fred Inglis, who looks on their works and despairs.

German student standing on statue

Source: Getty

14. Unbridled success: Germany’s fee foes claim victory (23 May 2013)

Less than 10 years since their introduction, tuition fees will soon disappear from the country. Frances Mechan-Schmidt reports.

Kenneth Branagh, Macbeth, Manchester International

13. Is there anything new to say about Shakespeare? (26 September 2013)

Nothing new under the Shakespearean sun? Matthew Reisz reflects on the academic ‘industry’ surrounding the Bard and considers whether fresh editions of his plays do anything to increase our understanding of the man and his works.

David Lyttleton feature illustration (28 March 2013)

Source: David Lyttleton

12. Higher education pay survey, 2013 (28 March 2013)

Times Higher Education’s annual pay survey shows that with a few exceptions, vice‑chancellors’ remuneration did not rise vertiginously in 2011-12 - a good thing politically. But despite reasonable restraint, are they still paid too much compared with their public and private sector peers? Jack Grove investigates.

Elly Walton feature illustration (29 August 2013)

Source: Elly Walton

11. Six conference questions every academic hears (29 August 2013)

Q&A sessions, the misunderstood B-sides of conference presentations, can play some peculiar tunes. Allan Johnson listens in and doesn’t like what he hears.

Feature illustration (25 April 2013)

Source: Getty

10. Are PhD vivas still fit for purpose? (25 April 2013)

The viva, the final hurdle to gaining a PhD, is labour-intensive, not conducted to any national standard and is dreaded by students who fear an examiner will capriciously halt their career. Is it still fit for purpose? asks Elizabeth Gibney.

Feature illustration (8 August 2013)

9. International and postgraduate student fees survey, 2013 (8 August 2013)

For postgraduate and international students, the cost of studying in the UK can vary wildly. With new data showing what each university will charge next year, David Matthews assesses the implications of the uneven landscape.

David Lyttleton feature illustration (6 June 2013)

Source: David Lyttleton

8. Work and other labours of love (6 June 2013)

If you want a 9 to 5 job, you’re in the wrong profession. Five university staff in varying roles and at different stages of their careers tell Times Higher Education about their typical working week.

Japanese students walking in line

Source: Reuters

7. Beyond sushi: the attractions of lecturing in Japan (14 November 2013)

Susan K. Burton looks back at her decade teaching at Japanese universities and wonders why more Westerners don’t head East.

James Fryer opinion illustration (22 August 2013)

Source: James Fryer

6. Why I’m quitting the academy (22 August 2013)

With universities driven mainly by money, Alessandra Lopez y Royo feels that integrity, honesty and mutual support are disappearing.

Feature illustration (2 May 2013)

5. Global Gender Index, 2013 (2 May 2013)

It’s still a man’s world, even in the academy. Times Higher Education’s first Global Gender Index shows startling levels of sexual inequality among staff, despite the decades-long fight for women’s rights. Jack Grove reports.

Paul Bateman feature illustration (7 November 2013)

Source: Paul Bateman

4. Scholars’ rude awakenings (7 November 2013)

Matthew Reisz uncovers various examples of academic bitchiness and asks: does rudeness serve any useful scholarly purpose?

Hand on Singapore skyline

Source: Getty

3. Singapore: no sleep for the Lion City’s universities (21 November 2013)

It’s a pocket battleship in economic terms with an academy growing in stature, but Singapore still faces pressing questions over academic freedom, lack of space and rising ‘anti-foreigner feeling’. David Matthews reports from the Asian city state.

Paul Magrs

Source: Paul Magrs

2. Re: your REF impact request (25 April 2013)

Paul Magrs was flabbergasted when an institution he had left almost a decade before and had not heard from since asked to use his work to demonstrate impact in the REF. Here, he sets down the appropriate response.

Katie Edwards feature illustration (11 July 2013)

Source: Katie Edwards

1. 10 truths a PhD supervisor will never tell you (11 July 2013)

There are some important dos and don’ts to bear in mind when choosing someone to oversee your doctoral thesis, advises Tara Brabazon - the foremost being don’t let the supervisors grind you down.

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