Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Resources for Understanding Research Impact: Updated

Below is a heavily updated list of links and resources on the issue of research impact. I have tried to include pieces from research funders and agencies as well as critical and other perspectives. I might come off the fence and express a personal view on a later date!

The RCUK document below distinguishes between academic and economic/societal impacts:
"Academic impact
The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory and application.

Economic and societal impacts
The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy. Economic and societal impacts embrace all the extremely diverse ways in which research related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations by: fostering global economic performance, and specifically the economic competitiveness of the United Kingdom, increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy, enhancing quality of life, health and creative output."  

Pain et al (2016). Mapping Alternative Impact: alternative approaches to impact from co-produced research. Centre for Social Justice and Community Action. 

Kingsley (2015). What is ‘research impact’ in an interconnected world? University of Cambridge Office of Scholarly Communication. 

LSE Handbook on impact for the social sciences 

Community Engaged Scholarship (Canada).
"Our partnership is comprised of eight universities and an international organization that have pledged to work together to change university culture, policies and practices in order to recognize and reward Community Engaged Scholarship (CES). Our overarching goal is to realize the potential of universities to improve the quality of life for all Canadians through CES." 

This post gives a nuanced definition of research impact. 
"1. A research impact is a recorded or otherwise auditable occasion of influence from academic research on another actor or organization.a. Academic impacts from research are influences upon actors in academia or universities, e.g. as measured by citations in other academic authors’ work.b. External impacts are influences on actors outside higher education, that is, in business, government or civil society, e.g. as measured by references in the trade press or in government documents, or by coverage in mass media."
Dean et al (Eds) (2013). 7 Essays on Impact. DESCRIBE Project Report for Jisc. University of Exeter. 

LSE Impact post on how researchers achieve external impact

Penfield et al (2014). Assessment, evaluations, and definitions of research impact: A review. Research Evaluation, 23, pp. 21–32.

LSE Public Policy Group (2011). Maximising the impacts of your research: a handbook for social scientists, LSE, April 2011.

RAND: Impact and the Research Excellence Framework: new challenges for universities.

Useful Links:

ESRC Impact Case Studies (2015)

UCL Impact Case Studies.

LSE Impact Case Studies

LSE blog on impact of the social sciences.

ESRC: What is impact?


Watermeyer (2016). 
Impact in the REF: issues and obstacles. Studies in Higher Education, Volume 41, Issue 2. 

Watermeyer & Hedgecoe (2016). Selling ‘impact’: peer reviewer projections of what is needed and what counts in REF impact case studies. A retrospective analysis. Journal of Education Policy, Volume 31, Issue 5. 

Marcella et al (2016). Beyond REF 2014: The impact of impact assessment on the future of information researchJournal of Information Science June 2016 vol. 42 no. 3 369-385. 

Matthews (2016). REF ‘leads to short-term research approach’. TES. 

Hinrichs & Grant (2015). A new resource for identifying and assessing the impacts of research. BMC Medicine, 13:148.

Manville et al (2015). Evaluating the Submission Process for the Research Excellence Framework's Impact Element.RAND.

Morton (2015). Progressing research impact assessment: A ‘contributions’ approach. Research Evaluation, 24 (4): 405-419.

Hanan Khazragui & Hudson (2015). Measuring the benefits of university research: impact and the REF in the UK.Research Evaluation, 24 (1): 51-62.

Vincent (2015). The Ideological Context of Impact. Political Studies Review, Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 474–484.

Marginson (2015). UK Research Excellence: Getting Better All the Time?  International Higher Education, Number 81: Summer 2015.

Greenhalgh & Fahy (2015). Research impact in the community-based health sciences: an analysis of 162 case studies from the 2014 UK Research Excellence Framework. BMC Medicine, 13:232. 

Butler & Spoelstra (2015). How the REF’s regime of excellence is changing research for the worse. The Conversation UK.

Thelwall & Delgado (2015). Arts and humanities research evaluation: no metrics please, just data, Journal of Documentation, 71(4), 817 - 833.

Shah & Song (2015). S-index: Towards Better Metrics for Quantifying Research
Impact. Cornell University.

King & Rivett (2015). Engaging People in Making History: Impact, Public Engagement and the World Beyond the Campus. Hist Workshop J (Autumn 2015) 80 (1): 218-233.

Barnes (2015). The Use of Altmetrics as a Tool for Measuring Research Impact. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, Volume 46, Issue 2.

Cahill & Bazzacco (2015). There is no easy way to measure the impact of university research on society. The Conversation AU.

Grant (2015). What REF case studies reveal on measuring research impact. The Conversation UK.

Jonathan Wolf (26th January 2015). Has the Research Excellence Framework been drowned out by its own noise? The Guardian.

Chris O'Brien (16th January 2015). Research impact post REF 2014 – the UCL approach.

Harriet Swain (20th January 2015). Universities worry about fallout from research ranking. The Guardian.

Chris O'Brien (December 2014). REF 2014 results and the future of ‘impact’.

16th December 2014. REF 2014 results: table of excellence. Times Higher Education.

Catriona Manville (7th December 2014). Measuring impact: how Australia and the UK are tackling research assessment. The Guardian.

Tim Hall (2nd December 2014. Why working across subject areas may benefit you in the REF. The Guardian.

Miriam Frankel, Alison Goddard and Gretchen Ransow (December 2014).  Golden triangle pulls ahead in REF shake-out. Research Fortnight.

Simon Kerridge (November 2013). To 2020 and Beyond.

Nature news article on UK funders incorporating impact.

The impact of research: so hard to pin down by Jonathan Wolff in the Guardian

Dr Andreas Liefooghe: Academic impact isn't just about answers - let's start with debate

David Phipps: How universities are maximising the impact of research on society 

Jane Tinkler: Academic expertise and luck required for a piece of research to be considered valuable by government in policymaking is not valued by the Research Excellence Framework.

Patrick Dunleavy: The Research Excellence Framework is lumbering and expensive. For a fraction of the cost, a digital census of academic research would create unrivalled and genuine information about UK universities’ research performance. 

Peter Wells: The REF will strangle our vibrant academic community: it will alter morale, academic valuation of our work, and the way in which we do it

Blog post by Teresa Penfield on the DESCRIBE Project in the University of Exeter, which looks at how we provide definitions and capture evidence of research impact. The project also has a blog. Here is the project's final report. 

Blog post by Richard Watermeyer on 'The elicitation of research impact through engagement'.

Also, see:

Watermeyer, Richard (2012). From Engagement to Impact? Articulating the Public Value of Academic Research, Tertiary Education and Management, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 115–130.

Watermeyer, Richard (2011). Challenges for University Engagement in the UK: Towards a Public Academe? Higher Education Quarterly, Volume 65, Issue 4, pages 386–410.

Blog post by Adam on the 'Cash for Questions: social science research funding, policy, and development' blog summarising how Impact is defined in the REF and by the research councils.

Smith, Katherine, and Meer, Nasar (Feb 2012). REF's effort to make knowledge visible may have cloudy results. Times Higher Education Supplement.

Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. (2009). Making an Impact: A Preferred Framework and Indicators to Measure Returns on Investment in Health Research. Report of the Panel on the Return on Investments in Health Research, January.

Canavan et al (2009). Measuring research impact: developing practical and cost-effective approaches. Evidence & Policy: A Journal of Research, Debate and Practice, Volume 5, Number 2, pp. 167-177(11).

Jonathan Grant, Philipp-Bastian Brutscher, Susan Guthrie, Linda Butler, Steven Wooding (2010). Capturing Research Impacts: A review of international practice. RAND Europe.

Smith, Richard (2007). Measuring the Social Impact of Research: Difficult but Necessary.
BMJ. 323(7312): 528.

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