Category: research evaluation

Academic review promotion and tenure documents promote a view of open access that is at odds with the wider academic community

A critical issue for advocates of Open Access (OA) has been the persistent lack of institutional incentives for academics to engage with Open Access publishing. Drawing on their research into Review, Promotion and Tenure documents, a team at the Scholarly Communications Lab, including Juan Pablo Alperin, Esteban Morales and Erin McKiernan argue that when these key documents for research assessment […]

Do no harm? – What development practice can teach us about negative impact

As previous posts on the Impact Blog have highlighted, one aspect of the impact agenda that has until recently been relatively neglected has been that of negative impact, or ‘grimpact’. In this post Valeria Izzi and Becky Murray draw on examples from development practice and research to advance a more complex understanding of grimpact and argue that as development research […]

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used in […]

How will the emerging generation of scholars transform scholarly communication?

Presenting evidence from the Harbingers Study, a three-year longitudinal study of Early Career Researchers (ECRs), David Nicholas assesses the extent to which the new wave of researchers are driving changes in scholarly practices. Finding that innovative practices are often constrained by institutional structures and precarious employment, he suggests that the pace of change in these areas is always going to […]

The changing imperative to demonstrate social science impact

In less than a decade the impact agenda has evolved from being a controversial idea to an established part of most national research systems. Over the same period the conceptualisation of research impact in the social sciences and the ability to create and measure research impact through digital communication media has also developed significantly. In this post, Ziyad Marar argues […]

Grimpact – Time to acknowledge the dark side of the impact agenda

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. In this post Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘Grimpact’, to describe instances where research negatively impacts society, and argue that the implicit optimism of research assessment has rendered researchers and science systems poorly equipped to deal […]

Charting the rise and fall of North American leadership in global science: Insights from the population of Nobel Laureates.

For the majority of the last century North America has been at the epicentre of global scientific research. However, through the course of the 21st century other countries have begun to close this gap in a number of ways, notably China is now the global leader in published research and is on course to overtake the US in research spending by […]

Knowledge exchange or research impact – what is the difference between REF and KEF?

The UK research system has historically been innovative in its approach to measuring and assessing the impacts of academic research. However, the recent development of the Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), has elicited scepticism as to how this framework will significantly differ from the impact element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). In this post Hamish McAlpine and Steven Hill outline […]

Assessing Impact Assessment – What can be learnt from Australia’s Engagement and Impact Assessment?

The impact agenda is an international and evolutionary phenomenon that has undergone numerous iterations. Discussing the development and recent release of the results of the Australian Engagement and Impact Assessment (EIA), Ksenia Sawczak considers the effectiveness of this latest exercise in impact assessment, finding it to provide an inadequate account of the impact of Australian research and ultimately a shaky evidence […]

Mapping the impact of UN Sustainable Development Goals on global research

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent one of the largest and most sustained influences on global research to date. However, charting the effect of these 17 goals on the global research community is a complex task. In this post, Martin Szomszor draws on the findings of a recent bibliometric study to produce a ‘citation map’ of sustainability research, which […]