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    Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Where’s the evidence? Obstacles to impact-gathering and how researchers might be better supported in future

Despite the increased importance of demonstrating impact, it remains a concept many academics feel ill-equipped to measure or evidence. Clare Wilkinson reveals how researchers from a broad range of disciplines think about evidencing impact, what obstacles might stand in their way, and how they might be further supported in future. Knowledge around research impact continues to exist in siloes, […]

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    Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Barriers to research collaboration: are social scientists constrained by their desire for autonomy?

Researchers everywhere are being pushed to collaborate. Individual academics are being urged to join teams, small teams are encouraged to merge with others to become bigger teams, and institution-wide and inter-institutional collaborations are spreading. With potential benefits including increased chances of funding, visibility, and impact, why, asks Jenny M. Lewis, are social scientists not embracing collaboration more? Might it […]

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    Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Want to ensure your research influences policy? Advice from a government insider

Among the ways social sciences research can have impact is by influencing public policy. Duncan Green recently attended an event at which this subject was much discussed, with a leading government research analyst offering clear advice on what officials are looking for. Comparative work highlighting a range of possible solutions is valued, as are multidisciplinary approaches. Most useful is […]

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    How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

How can blogging help research make an impact beyond academia? Illustrative examples from the LSE blogs

Previous posts in our series on the Impact of LSE Blogs project examined the effects of blogging on the academic sphere, looking more closely at citations to the original research outputs and also to the blog posts themselves. But what about the effects of blogging beyond academia, on the public sphere? In the final post of the series, Kieran […]

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    Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

Book Review: The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things by Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener

In The Open Book: Stories of Academic Life and Writing or Where We Know Things, Ninna Meier and Charlotte Wegener offer an experimental co-memoir that blurs, unhooks and reweaves the relationship between “academic” and “creative” writing, while also disturbing traditional divisions between professional and personal life. The book succeeds in bringing emotion and empathy to academic writing, writes Vanessa Longden, and prompts reflection on personal practice.
This […]

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Clickbait and impact: how academia has been hacked

It has become increasingly clear that prevailing academic incentive structures have a potentially damaging and distorting effect on the nature of academic debates. Portia Roelofs and Max Gallien use the example of a controversial recent journal publication to illustrate how deliberately provocative articles have the capacity to hack academia, to privilege clicks and attention over rigour in research. This […]

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    Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Today, academics must prepare written proposals describing the research they wish to conduct and submit them to funding agencies for evaluation – a process known as peer review. According to Don Braben and Rod Dowler, the current peer review process actually serves as a blocker to more radical research, stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing discoveries. Obviously peer review should not be abandoned entirely, but […]

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    Rather than promoting economic value, evaluation can be reclaimed by universities to combat its misuse and negative impacts

Rather than promoting economic value, evaluation can be reclaimed by universities to combat its misuse and negative impacts

To critics across higher education, evaluation frameworks such as the REF and TEF represent mechanisms of control, the generation of a “target and terror” culture. Deirdre Duffy explains how the REF and TEF resonate most closely with impact evaluation, a form of evaluation that can prove useful for a simple cost-benefit analysis but can also be problematic as it […]

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    Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

One of the most contentious aspects of the Stern review of the 2014 REF was the recommendation that research outputs should not be portable in future exercises. The subsequent consultation revealed a significant minority to be in support of this, echoing Stern’s concerns that current rules distort investment incentives and encourage rent-seeking. However, a majority opposed this recommendation as […]

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    The 2014 REF results show only a very weak relationship between excellence in research and achieving societal impact

The 2014 REF results show only a very weak relationship between excellence in research and achieving societal impact

Results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework have, in some quarters, been interpreted as evidence of a direct relationship between the quality of scientific outputs and the degree of societal impact generated by researchers. However, such an interpretation, allied to definitions of impact such as that used by Research Councils UK, arguably promotes a stronger reading of the REF […]

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July 19th, 2017|Impact, REF2014|1 Comment|
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    Scientific birds of a feather flock together: science communication on social media rarely happens across or beyond disciplinary boundaries

Scientific birds of a feather flock together: science communication on social media rarely happens across or beyond disciplinary boundaries

The success of academic research in reaching out beyond its own scientific community is a perennial concern, even more so following the rapid adoption of social media and the ability to easily transmit information to potentially millions of people. Consequently, many attempts have been made to capture the broad scientific impact beyond academia using social media data. But is […]

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    If academics are serious about research impact they need to learn from monitoring, evaluation and learning teams

If academics are serious about research impact they need to learn from monitoring, evaluation and learning teams

The impact of academic research, particularly on policy and the private sector, is an increasingly important component of research assessment exercises and funding distribution. However, Duncan Green argues that the way many researchers think about their impact continues to be pretty rudimentary. A lack of understanding of who key decision-makers are, a less-than-agile response to real-world events, and difficulties […]

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    Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Gained in translation: adding value to research to inform policy

Within the social sciences, translating and sharing new knowledge is now common practice amongst many researchers and institutions across academia. From evidence briefings and summaries of literature to online blogs and presentations, a wide range of research evidence aims to engage policy and practitioner audiences so they can more easily access and use the evidence. Raj Patel questions whether […]

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    How do LSE blogs impact the academic sphere? Blogs as citable items in scholarly publications

How do LSE blogs impact the academic sphere? Blogs as citable items in scholarly publications

In the third of a series of posts on the Impact of LSE Blogs project, Carlos Arrebola takes a closer look at the increasing frequency with which LSE blog posts are being cited in scholarly publications. The Impact Blog has been cited most often, perhaps reflecting its authors’ readiness to draw on non-traditional scholarly outputs. Unsurprisingly, a majority of citations come […]

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Introducing the Impact of LSE Blogs project!

Since launching in 2010, more than 2000 contributors have written for LSE’s public-facing academic blogs, reaching an ever-expanding, international audience. But how do we measure the impact of this particular form of research communication? In the first of a short series of posts, Carlos Arrebola and Amy Mollett introduce the Impact of LSE Blogs project. As well as following the […]

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    The impact of social sciences on health behaviour interventions has diminished – more interdisciplinary, culture-focused research is needed

The impact of social sciences on health behaviour interventions has diminished – more interdisciplinary, culture-focused research is needed

Capturing the impact of social sciences on other disciplines is notoriously difficult. Daniel Holman, Rebecca Lynch, and Aaron Reeves have looked at the example of health behaviour interventions (HBIs), a field recently criticised for failing to draw on alternative, social sciences approaches that emphasise the structured and contextual aspects of behaviour and health. A bibliometric analysis of the HBIs […]

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    MSF Scientific Days 2017: improving the effectiveness of humanitarian programmes through scientific research and innovation

MSF Scientific Days 2017: improving the effectiveness of humanitarian programmes through scientific research and innovation

MSF Scientific Days is a global network of events focused on how scientific research and innovation can improve the effectiveness of humanitarian medical programmes. Sarah Venis presents some of the highlights of this year’s programme, including discussion of how to best gather evidence from emergency settings, and the challenges of community engagement; as well as an examination of different […]

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