I have been looking at resources in the area of research impact, and as I am in the UK, this means a lot of this is related to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). I wanted to share what I have collated and I will probably be adding to this as I read more.
In the REF draft guidance on submission from July 2018 impact is broadly defined. Here is a snippet:
Impact includes, but is not limited to, an effect on, change or benefit to: the activity, attitude, awareness, behaviour, capacity, opportunity, performance, policy, practice, process or understanding of an audience, beneficiary, community, constituency, organisation or individuals in any geographic location whether locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.
I am not sure whether Dr. Bayley coined the phrase ‘impact unicorn’ but it is a great phrase (and I borrowed it for the illustration of this post) and a good reminder that impact comes in all shapes and sizes. See the posts she has written about impact:
- Chasing the ‘impact unicorn’ – myths and methods in demonstrating research benefits by Dr Julie Bayley, 23rd Nov 2017.
- Sausages, unicorns and strip clubs. Or impact: the challenge of connection by Julie Bayley, Oct 4th 2018.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) Impact Toolkit (March 2018) by Helen Tilley, Louise Ball and Caroline Cassidy. Great toolkit for researchers who work in policy contexts.
ESRC Impact toolkit https://esrc.ukri.org/research/impact-toolkit/
Make Your Research Known – 10 Tools to Increase Consumption of Your Research by David Evans, the World Bank blog, 26 Sep 2018. First and foremost the recommendation is to distil your message into two or three bullet points to communicate effectively with people outside your field. Also remember that the main points may need to be different for different audiences.
How was Social Media cited in 2014 REF impact case studies? by Katy Jordan and Mark Carrigan, from the LSE Impact blog, June 6th 2018.
‘Effective engagement is a matter of building relationships over time, as opposed to simply making material public via social media. An excessive fixation on metrics “bakes in” a dissemination model of social media, obscuring the relational value it can create (and the capacity for impact ensuing from this) in pursuit of ever more impressive engagement metrics in spite of the ambiguity about what, if anything, these entail for real world impact.’ (Jordan & Carrigan, 2018)
The “long tail” of research impact is engendered by innovative dissemination tools and meaningful community engagement by Kip Jones and Lee-Ann Fenge, LSE impact blog, 20 Feb 2018. Based on the authors’ article, “Meaningful dissemination produces the “long tail” that engenders community impact”, published in the Qualitative Research Journal (DOI: 10.1108/QRJ-D-17-00037).
‘The fact that the underpinning research began almost a decade and a half ago attests to the principle that research that is meaningful is never really finished, and that dissemination is more than simply a few academic journal articles’ (Kip-Jones & Fenge, 2018)
Developing approaches to research impact assessment and evaluation: lessons from a Canadian health research funder by Julia Langton, from the LSE impact blog, 19th OCt 2018.
McKiernan EC (2017) Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education. PLoS Biol 15(10): e1002614. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002614
‘A university’s societal impact depends on the commitment of faculty to transforming their research into reusable information, sharing, and participating in community outreach. As said before, if we want such commitment, universities must develop ways of recognizing and rewarding these activities. Traditional scholarly metrics, like the number of articles published and journal impact factor, give an incomplete picture of true impact. In my opinion, we need a broader perspective’ (McKiernan, 2017)
Kate Williams, Jonathan Grant (2018). A comparative review of how the policy and procedures to assess research impact evolved in Australia and the UK, Research Evaluation, Volume 27, Issue 2, 1 April 2018, Pages 93–105.
ISRIA statement: ten-point guidelines for an effective process of research impact assessment. Health Research Policy and Systems 2018, 16:8.
Research Impact on Legislatures, Sep 2018. A briefing note providing an overview of research impact in legislatures. https://www.parliament.uk/research-impact.
See also Research impact at the UK Parliament for resources and training events https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/research-impact-at-the-uk-parliament/
David Phipps, Joanne Cummings, Debra Pepler, Wendy Craig, and Shelley Cardinal (2016). The Co-produced Pathway to Impact Describes Knowledge Mobilization Processes. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, vol 9, no 1.
For a critical review of the impact agenda see Professor Robert Macdonald’s paper: Robert MacDonald, (2017) ““Impact”, research and slaying Zombies: the pressures and possibilities of the REF”, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 37 Issue: 11-12, pp.696-710, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-04-2016-0047
National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement is a great place for resources and they also published a review of how public engagement featured in the case studies submitted for REF 2014.
Impact playbook for Museums, Libraries and Archives by the Europeana Foundation
Emerald Publishing Impact resources https://www.emeraldpublishing.com/resources
UK Research and Innovation on impact https://www.ukri.org/innovation/excellence-with-impact/