There are few topics in digital publishing that cause so much debate as that of research impact. A lot of this debate – within the publishing world, at least – has tended to focus on ways of improving (or improving on) existing mechanisms. How can we make Impact Factor work better? Should we put less emphasis on the journal and more on the article – or on the author?
Funders, meanwhile, seem to be in a different galaxy.
In UK higher education, changes to the REF (the mechanism by which many research grants are allocated) manifest a desire on the part of funders to know about the practical impact of research work beyond the scholarly bubble – and beyond even the media reaction to published research: they want to know what impact it has had, what difference it has made, in the ‘real’ world.
This difference of perspective was highlighted during a ‘Research Impact Spotlight’ event hosted by Digital Science recently, as reported by Research Information. Reading about this gave a lot of food for thought – not just about the real meaning of impact, but also about how we structure our technology architecture. Read more…