How should we balance the research impact ecosystem?

Currently there is much discussion around research impact as REF 2021 preparations intensify. However, universities that are preoccupied with impact case study submissions to the next exercise may be missing the bigger picture. Jenny Ames emphasises the importance of establishing and nurturing a research impact culture; one that can help a university to achieve its vision more broadly and deliver […]

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    Making visible the impact of researchers working in languages other than English: developing the PLOTE index

Making visible the impact of researchers working in languages other than English: developing the PLOTE index

As outlined in the Leiden Manifesto, if impact is understood in terms of citations to international publications, a bias is created against research which is regionally focused and engaged with local society problems. This is particularly critical for researchers working in contexts with languages other than English. Peter Dahler-Larsen has developed the PLOTE index, a new indicator which hopes […]

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    Guidance on testimonials and statements to corroborate impact

Guidance on testimonials and statements to corroborate impact

One of the more compelling forms of evidence submitted to REF2014 by universities looking to demonstrate research impact was the corroborating statement or testimonial from a research user or partner organisation. Stephen Kemp provides clear guidance on what these statements should include and aim to convey, while also sharing advice on how they might be sourced, as well as […]

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How was social media cited in 2014 REF Impact Case Studies?

In their previous Impact Blog post, Katy Jordan and Mark Carrigan considered whether institutions have invested too much hope in social media as a solution to the problem of demonstrating research impact. Here they report on research analysing how social media was cited in impact case studies submitted to the UK’s REF 2014. Around a quarter of case studies […]

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    Six principles for assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

Six principles for assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

The negative consequences of relying too heavily on metrics to assess research quality are well known, potentially fostering practices harmful to scientific research such as p-hacking, salami science, or selective reporting. The “flourish or perish” culture defined by these metrics in turn drives the system of career advancement in academia, a system that empirical evidence has shown to be […]

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    Book Review: Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad

Book Review: Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad

Edited by Yvette Taylor and Kinneret Lahad, the collection Feeling Academic in the Neoliberal University: Feminist Flights, Fights and Failures offers a vital reassertion of feminist modes of resistance against the increasingly corporate structures of contemporary higher education. This is an incisive, timely and ultimately hopeful volume that provides a platform from which future feminist fights can take flight, writes Charlotte Mathieson.

This review […]

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    Measuring knowledge exchange – the road to societal impact?

Measuring knowledge exchange – the road to societal impact?

Given the well-known difficulties of measuring the full impact of universities, it may be better to focus instead on knowledge exchange, the process by which the societal impact of scientific knowledge is realised. For Frank Zwetsloot and Anika Duut van Goor, “contract income” – the financial investments made by external parties in contract research, contract education, patents or start-ups […]

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    Developing international guidelines for an effective process of research impact assessment

Developing international guidelines for an effective process of research impact assessment

Governments, funding agencies, and research organisations all over the world are now committed to measuring the impact of research beyond academic publications. Accordingly, a multidisciplinary practice called research impact assessment is rapidly developing. However, this practice remains in its formative stages and so no systematised recommendations or accepted standards to guide researchers and practitioners are currently available. Pavel Ovseiko, […]

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    The academic papers researchers regard as significant are not those that are highly cited

The academic papers researchers regard as significant are not those that are highly cited

For many years, academia has relied on citation count as the main way to measure the impact or importance of research, informing metrics such as the Impact Factor and the h-index. But how well do these metrics actually align with researchers’ subjective evaluation of impact and significance? Rachel Borchardt and Matthew R. Hartings report on a study that compares […]

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    Applying the sociological imagination: a toolkit for tomorrow’s graduates

Applying the sociological imagination: a toolkit for tomorrow’s graduates

Given how sociological concepts, theories, and perspectives can be applied to many of the relatively smaller problems of everyday life, such as improving urban spaces or enhancing work and productivity, it’s odd that the majority of sociology done in the UK remains behind closed doors, in lecture rooms, academic libraries, and conference halls. Nick Fox explains how a group […]

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    Your research has been broadcast to millions – but how do you determine its impact?

Your research has been broadcast to millions – but how do you determine its impact?

The potential of broadcast programming to reach millions of people holds obvious appeal to researchers looking to maximise the dissemination of their work. But when it comes to impact, having vast reach is just one part of the equation – how can the significance of broadcast research be determined? Melissa Grant, Lucy Vernall and Kirsty Hill developed a mixed-methods […]

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    It’s not enough for research to be useful to policy actors, we must try to actually influence change

It’s not enough for research to be useful to policy actors, we must try to actually influence change

There is no doubt that good communications and framing research and evidence for your audience is important to influencing policy and having research impact. But shouldn’t we be aiming higher than producing and packaging research that simply meets the demands of policy actors? Surely what we actually want to do is influence change, not reinforce social and political norms? […]

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    Book Review: Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences by Imad A. Moosa

Book Review: Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences by Imad A. Moosa

Academics today have to publish to succeed. In Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits versus Unintended Consequences, Imad A. Moosa assesses the disastrous consequences of this view for academics, both personally and academically. Review by James Hartley.

This review originally appeared on LSE Review of Books and is published under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UK license.

Publish or Perish: Perceived Benefits Versus Unintended Consequences. Imad A. […]

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    Does not compute: why I’m proposing a moratorium on academics’ use of the term “outputs”

Does not compute: why I’m proposing a moratorium on academics’ use of the term “outputs”

The word “outputs” is now ubiquitous in UK academia, particularly in a REF context that requires authors to think of their publications in such terms. To Kirsten Bell this is jarring, with a term previously more commonly associated with the language of computing or economics, where outputs are measured and monetised, clearly not suitable to academia. It’s ultimately ideas […]

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    Access then impact: using the media as a shortcut to policymakers

Access then impact: using the media as a shortcut to policymakers

As the value of research with impact increases, so too does the importance of first gaining access to policymakers and other persons of influence. One shortcut to doing this is through increased media coverage. Leigh Marshall explains how academics can give their research the best possible chance of being seen and read by policymakers; including by developing close relationships […]

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    “Cutting through”: overcoming the barriers to academic engagement with policy processes

“Cutting through”: overcoming the barriers to academic engagement with policy processes

A lack of access and poor communication are often cited as reasons why academic research is not widely used by policymakers. But what about the challenges for researchers engaging with decision-makers such as parliaments? Lindsay Walker, Lindsey Pike, Marsha Wood and Hannah Durrant have surveyed more than 400 research professionals and identified some clear barriers, with heavy workloads and […]

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    Global Kids Online: designing an impact toolkit for a multi-country project

Global Kids Online: designing an impact toolkit for a multi-country project

For research precisely designed to inform policy and practice, ensuring it has the desired impact is crucial. But tracking impact across many countries and diverse contexts can be difficult. Sonia Livingstone and Mariya Stoilova describe how the Global Kids Online project has built an impact toolkit which draws on recent empirical research with over 12,000 children. The ambition is […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.