“There are few academics who are interested in doing research that simply has no influence on anyone else in academia or outside.” Social science research can be used to inform policy, community work, business etc.
“The London School of Economics, the University of Leeds and Imperial College London have been working on the Impact of Social Sciences project aimed at developing precise methods for measuring and evaluating the impact of research in the public sphere.”
This handbook exists to assist researchers to maximise the reach and visibility of their work. It also provides good practice in expanding the impact of social science research.
Part A talks about maximising the academic impacts of research.
Part B talks about maximising research impacts beyond the academy. It covers:
- The origins and patterning of external research impacts
- Is there an impacts gap from academic work to external impacts? How might it have arisen? How might it be reduced?
- Understanding how researchers achieve external impact
- Understanding, tracking and comparing external impacts for organisations
- Expanding external research impacts
Under expanding external research impacts they suggest:
“Academics should move beyond simply maintaining a CV and publications list and develop and keep updated an ‘impacts file’ which allows them to list occasions of influence in a recordable and auditable way.”
“Universities’ events programmes should be re-oriented toward promoting their own research strengths as well as external speakers. Events should be integrated multi-media and multi-stage from the outset and universities should seek to develop ‘zero touch’ technologies to track and better target audience members.”
‘Information wants to be free.’ Publishing some form of an academics research on the open web or storing it in a university’s online depository is essential to ensure that readers beyond academia can gain easy access to research.”
“Improving professional communication, such as through starting multi-author blogs, will help academics ‘cut out the middleman’ and disseminate their research more broadly.”