Posted by: bluesyemre | May 30, 2013

The use of assessment reports to generate and measure societal impact of research

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  • Scientific impact measurement is carried out using a number of established methods (such as the statistical analysis of bibliometric data), which undergo continual development, and is supported by a dedicated community. Research on societal impact measurement is still in its infancy: so far, it does not have its own community with conferences and journals. Godin and Dore see research on the measurement of societal impact as being at the stage where the measurement of research and development (R&D) was in the early 1960s (2). Even though no robust or reliable methods for measuring societal impact have yet been developed, societal impact is already measured in terms of its budget relevance (or will be in the near future). In the REF, 20% of the evaluation of a research unit for the purpose of allocations will be determined by the societal influence dimension (65% by research output and 15% by environment). This uneven relationship between research and practice is astonishing when one considers how long it has taken for the methods for measuring scientific impact to develop sufficiently to reach the stage of budget-relevant practice.

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