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A national ranking of influence: Chinese and American models

Two think tank rankings have been published recently: one for Chinese think tanks and one for US think tanks. Both have been developed by think tanks themselves and both have attempted to be as context specific and objective as possible. While they use different methods they offer an excellent opportunity for comparative research on think tanks.

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Want to be relevant? Learn how politics work -and have fun in the process

Comedy about politics serves other purposes beside entertainment. They can foster a richer political environment in which think tanks may be able to make greater contributions.

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Mentoring: what to keep in mind

Kirsty McNeill shares excellent advice on mentoring. She outlines the difference between mentors, coaches and sponsors and provides tips to get it right. In light of the interested there is from think tank leaders and their supporters to use mentors this post, from WonkComms, is very useful.

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Social scientists have a real opportunity to influence what politicians say in the run-up to the General Election

Academic researchers should have their say in holding policy promises to account. In this post first published on the LSE's Impact of Social Sciences blog, Jonathan Breckon charts the various activities around the country aimed at providing a rigorous evidence-base in the run-up to the UK’s General Election. A whole range of economists, statisticians, social scientists and others are fact-checking what politicians and pundits say so that they don’t get away with iffy promises or sound-bites. But the challenge in the boom of fact-checkers is getting the quality right.

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Gramsci and the literature on think tanks

In this post, Marcos Gonzalez explores how Gramsci's ideas have influenced the literature on think tanks and how we understand and work with them. He offers an explanation to why we tend to focus on the confrontational aspects of think tanks' roles.

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Research access initiatives to support think tanks’ research

Jon Harle from INASP writes about the organisation's offer of free access to academic journals to think tanks in developing countries. INASP negotiates with over 50 publishers to ensure that researchers in developing countries have access to their journals. Find out if your country is included and how to benefit from this service.

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Towards a global agenda on think tank transparency

Calling think tanks to join a new initiative to promote think tank transparency around the world: After hard deliberation a group of think tank leaders and thinkers have developed a call to action for think tank transparency. If you want to learn more about it and join the effort, read along and add you name!

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Book Review: How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies, edited by James McGann, Jillian Rafferty, and Anna Viden

In this post, Marcos Gonzales Hernando provides a critical review of "How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies", edited by James McGann, Jillian Rafferty, and Anna Viden. He challenges the notion put forward by the editors, that think tanks can, in its own right, become a powerful force for social development and the strengthening of civil society; but welcomes the comparative literature and cases offered by the volume.

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Stocktaking on Research Quality at the Think Tank Initiative Exchange

In this post Andrea Ordoñez writes about research quality. She identified three levels of responsibility: the individual, the organisation, and society. She argues that to deliver high quality research all three need to be addressed.

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The On Think Tanks Interview: Javier Portocarrero, Executive Director, CIES (Peru)

In this interview, Javier Portocarrero, Executive Director of CIES in Peru tells us about his own experience, the challenges he has faced on the job, and his achievements. He views that Peruvian think tanks' face an important funding challenge: foreign funding is rapidly shrinking. The interview is also in Spanish.

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