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FoxenEssential Guide: Eight ways research gets into Parliament

Discussions about research and policy have a tendency to be more reflective about policy-making in general, rather than focusing on the more practical aspects of how research filters through a variety of networks and into policy discussions. Sarah Foxen looks at eight specific ways research currently gets into Parliament and provides some helpful links on where to start to get more involved.

janeRather than narrow our definition of impact, we should use metrics to explore richness and diversity of outcomes.

Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors. 

heidi laineThe case against the journal article: The age of publisher authority is going, going, gone — and we’ll be just fine.

Heidi Laine evaluates the often unsubstantiated claim that the journal article is central to the research communication process. Is a formal article really such a law of nature? She argues that the journal article (at least as we know it) will become a thing of the past. It will soon be replaced by article-style narrative reports, blogs, wikis, video and audio recordings, conference papers and presentations.

Al_ScottWho’s talking about your research? Tune in to the digital debate and discover what happens post-publication.

Searching for anything in the vast chaos of cyberspace can be a major case of needles and haystacks. Alistair Scott describes how his team has established systems for capturing data related to research outputs. By using carefully constructed search strings (combinations of search terms) and a bit of fine-tuning, you can map and visualise online conversations and the progression of real-world impacts.

heather doranPlanning your online engagement strategy? Don’t go it alone. Well-chosen partnerships can maximise reach and impact.

What are the conditions needed to create real engagement via social media? Heather Doran shares three case studies of successful public engagement. All three examples highlight that building an engaged audience doesn’t happen overnight and requires flexibility, training and a targeted communications strategy. True public engagement with research should be a two-way street.

metricsmallResearch Impact and Public Engagement for Career Success – What do researchers need to know? hosted a live Google+ Hangout on Research Impact & Public Engagement for Career Success. Panel members were Ann Grand (Open University and UWE Bristol), Steven Hill (HEFCE), Stacy Konkiel ( and Charlotte Mathieson (University of Warwick). Full video of the hangout can be found at the end of the post. To kick-off the event and encourage wider discussion on the topics here are some extracts on research impact from the panel.

atheneArtificial divisions between science and culture hinder creative dialogue and public engagement.

Athene Donald ask why we artificially divide the world between that which is considered scientific and that which is considered culture? The two spheres are increasingly isolated from each other and the media consistently reinforce this division. The dialogue between science and culture, and indeed scientists and non-scientists, should be ongoing and properly integrated.

Dr. Eric Anthony GrollmanFor marginalized scholars, self-promotion is community promotion.

Systems of oppression operate throughout academia. For marginalized scholars, bias and systemic barriers are compounded by self-doubt and imposter syndrome. Eric Grollman argues that by daring to speak up and promote work, marginalized scholars can contribute to disrupting this systemic exclusion. Drawing on Audre Lorde, Grollman underlines that silence has never, and will never, protect us.  

silver-jubilee-bridge-402943_1280Building bridges in development: Five recommendations to connect the islands of research, policy and practice.

Elizabeth Harrison, Eleanor Jew, Thomas SmithIqbal Ahmed and Sarah Peck present the recommendations from a recent conference for early-career researchers on bridging the gap in development research, policy and practice. Participants were encouraged to consider partnership-based solutions to development problems. From having a realistic understanding of intended outcomes to formulating relevant research questions, constructive debate took place on how best to navigate and undertake practical solutions to developing dialogue across sectors.

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