The Impact AgendaControversies, Consequences and Challenges

The Impact AgendaControversies, Consequences and Challenges

Katherine Smith, Justyna Bandola-Gill, Nasar Meer, Ellen Stewart, and Richard Watermeyer

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781447339854

Publisher: Policy Press


As international interest in promoting and assessing the impact of research grows, this book examines the ensuing controversies, consequences and challenges. It places a particular emphasis on learning from experiences in the UK, since this is the country at the forefront of a range of new approaches to incentivising, monitoring and rewarding research impact achievements. The book aims to understand the origins and rationale for these changes and to critically assess their consequences for academic practice. Combining a review of existing literature with a range of new qualitative data (from interviews, focus groups and documentary analysis), The Impact Agenda is unique in providing a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary empirical examination of the ways in which various forms of research impact assessment are shaping academic practices. Although the primary focus of the book is on the UK, the book also considers the different approaches that other countries with an interest in research impact are taking (notably Australia, Canada and the Netherlands). While noting the benefits that the increasing emphasis on outward facing work is bringing, the book draws attention to a wide range of challenges and controversies associated with research impact assessment and, in particular, with the UK’s chosen approach. It concludes by using the insights in the book to propose an alternative, more theoretically robust approach to incentivising and rewarding efforts to undertake and use academic research for societal benefit.