There are sound moral, ethical and financial arguments that publicly-funded researchers should use their training and activities for the good of society. However, are governments’ attempts to measure whether researchers working for the good—having an ‘impact’—so well-founded? Narrow, simplistic concepts of academic and external impact fail to capture the foundational, incremental and replicating nature of much research. Measures based on such concepts risk destroying the ecologies of knowledge creation and innovation.
Michele Ferguson examines The Impact of the Social Sciences: How Academics and Their Research Make a Difference by Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy and Jane Tinkler, an ideal starting point for anyone looking for a broad overview of the story of the social sciences in modern research, and the current, rapidly changing landscape within which the research impact agenda is situated. Read her article in the Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Book title: The Impact of the Social Sciences: How Academics and Their Research Make a DifferencePublisher: Sage Publications LtdDate Published: 2014Authors: Simon Bastow, Patrick Dunleavy and Jane TinklerImage: book cover