Category: research impact

Ad hominem attacks on scientists are just as likely to undermine public faith in research as legitimate empirical critiques

Media coverage attacking the character and trustworthiness of a scientist can diminish public faith in the research findings of that scientist. Ralph M. Barnes, Heather M. Johnston, Noah MacKenzie, Stephanie J. Tobin and Chelsea M. Taglang have investigated the degree to which such attacks do undermine trust in that scientist’s research, and the relative impact of various types of ad […]

Beyond Impact Factors: an Academy of Management report on measuring scholarly impact

What constitutes scholarly impact? And which stakeholders have importance for research? Usha Haley shares findings of a recent Academy of Management report that sought answers to these questions by surveying its 20,000 members and conducting a selection of in-depth interviews with prominent figures. A majority of respondents indicated journal rankings did not reflect scholarly impact, yet publications in top-tier journals […]

Resist? Welcome? Co-opt? Ignore? The pressures and possibilities of the REF and impact

The increased focus on impact in research evaluation represents a range of possibilities and pressures to those academics whose work is being assessed. For some it offers an opportunity to progress social justice causes and engage in participatory, bottom-up research approaches with less powerful groups; while to others it is further evidence of the managerial audit culture that is corrupting […]

From invisibility to impact: radically different measures are needed to capture the true impact of research

Academics are increasingly expected to produce directly applicable solutions to hard-to-solve “real-world” problems such as poverty, development, and environmental degradation. However, conventional assessments of science have not yet been adequately adapted to capture the diverse effects of this type of problem-centred research. Examining a prominent recent example of multidisciplinary research on consumption, environment and sustainability in Ireland, Henrike Rau, Gary […]

The RAE/REF have engendered evaluation selectivity and strategic behaviour, reinforced scientific norms, and further stratified UK higher education

The UK’s periodic research assessment exercise has grown larger and more formalised since its first iteration in 1986. Marcelo Marques, Justin J.W. Powell, Mike Zapp and Gert Biesta have examined what effects it has had on the submitting behaviour of institutions, considering the intended and unintended consequences in the field of education research. Findings reveal growing strategic behaviour, including high […]

Approaches to assessing impacts in the humanities and social sciences: recommendations from the Canadian research community

Conversations about the assessment of scholarly impacts are frequently hindered by uncertainty, anxiety, or suspicion. Peter Severinson reports on work published by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in Canada that it is hoped will provide guidance to university administrators, public servants, and other members of the research community undertaking the demanding work of impact assessment. Efforts to […]

The concept of research impact pervades contemporary academic discourse – but what does it actually mean?

Research impact is often talked about, but how clear is it what this term really means? Kristel Alla, Wayne Hall, Harvey Whiteford, Brian Head and Carla Meurk find that academic literature discusses research impact but often without properly defining it, with academic discourses mostly drawing on bureaucratic definitions originating from the UK. The authors highlight four core elements that comprise most […]