Welcome to the Impact Conversation

This collection of articles highlights the of social and behavioral science research, and interrogates the metrics by which this impact is measured.

We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, experiences and concerns about research impact and its measurement. Join the conversation using #SocialScienceImpact, comment on the articles below, or send us your thoughts at info@socialsciencespace.com.

Collage of COVID 19 in public spaces

Why Does Social Science Not Bite?

David Canter considers why the social sciences failed to influence behavior in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. The virologists had been preparing for a new virus for some years, so were already ahead of the game when they had to start creating a new vaccine. What preparations had social psychologists, sociologists or anthropologists for the inevitable emergence of a new pandemic?

word cloud of various social science terms

What I Have Learned from Social Science

I’ve spent my adult life in and around social science. Academically through studying psychology and linguistics (alongside philosophy), professionally through […]

Punk rocker seen from behind

Return Political Science to the Noble Science of Politics

As the ‘impact agenda’ weighs ever more on political scientists (and the academy as a whole), ). this should be seen less a threat to autonomy than an opportunity to rise to political science’s inherent public responsibilities.

Road into city with 2021 in foreground

2020 Proved Value of Social Science to Wider World

If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear through this pandemic it is that a pandemic, like so many of the other really big and pressing issues facing us such as structural racism or climate change, are not problems to be faced by one discipline or sector alone.

Leith Mullings

Leith Mullings, 1945-2020: Anthropologist Behind the Sojourner Syndrome

Leith Mullings, an anthropologist whose work on what she dubbed the Sojourner Syndrome created a baseline understanding of the “weathering” that the amplified stresses of race, class, and inequality have on African Americans, and in particular African American women, died on Cancer on December 12.

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Once upon a time written on graph paper

Think of Impact Statements As Maps, Not Short Stories

As a precondition to receiving research funds, many research funders require applicants to state how their project will ultimately achieve impacts prior to any work being undertaken. Reflecting on a study of these impact statements made to the Science Foundation Ireland Investigators Programme, Lai Ma, argues that such statements often introduce a narrow short-term bias to considerations of impact and presents four ways impact statements could be used more productively.


Reward and Recognize Open Science?

Calls to align incentives in academia to promote open research practices are not new. However, in recent years research funders are increasingly implementing policies and schemes designed to promote open science practices amongst researchers. In this post, Maria Cruz and Hans de Jonge outline details of the Dutch Research Council’s (NWO) new Open Science Fund, which they suggest is the natural next step towards a culture of open science in Dutch research.


To Better Serve Students and Future Workforces, We Must Diversify the Syllabi

Ellen Hutti and Jenine Harris have quantified the extent to which female authors are represented in assigned course readings. In this blog post, they emphasize that more equal exposure to experts with whom they can identify will better serve our students and foster the growth, diversity and potential of this future workforce. They also present one repository currently being built for readings by underrepresented authors that are Black, Indigenous or people of color.

Robert Langer in his lab

Researchers Talk About University Impact and How to Measure It

As part of the Impact at UTS podcast series, staff at University of Technology Sydney spoke to researchers about how they navigate collaboration, engagement – with communities, industry and government – and impact.


Connective Consumption? Lockdown Life is Restructuring the Ways We Socialize

People have had a host of responses to lockdown living, ranging from cutting off all contact with others, to maintaining […]


Should PhD Students Be Trained to Make an Impact?

In addition to thesis writing, PhD candidates in SHAPE subjects are expected to be able to communicate their research to […]


Marketing Opportunities and the Commercialization of Social Sciences

The social sciences have a crucial role to play in the COVID-19 recovery, and in addressing many other challenges society […]

ESRC Celebrating Impact logo

Layard Receives Lifetime Achievement Award as ESRC Names 2020 Impact Winners

Britain’s Celebrating Impact competition, now in its eighth year, recognizes and rewards ESRC-funded researchers who have achieved impact through outstanding research, knowledge exchange activities, collaborative partnerships and engagement with different communities.

Margaret Levi

CASBS Leader Margaret Levi Receives Breakthrough of the Year Award

Margaret Levi’s conception of “an expanded community of fate” gained international recognition as the 2020 “Breakthrough of the Year” in the social sciences and humanities. The Falling Walls Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Berlin, selected 10 “Breakthroughs” out of a pool of nearly 1,000 nominations from 111 countries.

two researchers looking at laptop screen

How Can We Ensure Our Research is Inclusive?

COVID-19 has led to new ways of working which have transformed research practices. This has created opportunities for research cultures to be more inclusive and accessible- especially to those for whom the university is a barrier. However, post-pandemic, research cultures also need to change. In this post, Stuart Read, Anne Parfitt and Tanvir Bush outline three provocations that researchers can ask as part of an inclusive research practice.


How to Run an Academic Writing Retreat

Since it started in 2011, Academic Writing Month has seen a growth of workshops and initiatives aimed at helping researchers […]


SHAPE – A Focus on the Human World

Social sciences, humanities and the arts can help us in our endeavors, which is why we, along with the British Academy and others, have recently launched SHAPE: Social sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy

Research impact in the social sciences

Competition: Share Your Story of Research Impact

As social and behavioral researchers, we expect you have a story you could tell about your work and what it’s meant to the world outside your laptop. We’re giving you the chance to share that story in our second annual Impact Storytelling Contest, with a $500 prize for each winning submission and the opportunity to get your impact story heard.

Scott Lilienfeld

Scott O. Lilienfeld, 1960-2020: Kind Champion of Rigor in Psychological Science

Psychologist Scott Lilienfeld, a tireless ambassador of the psychological sciences to non-scientific audiences, died of pancreatic cancer on September 30. He was 59.

ESRC Celebrating Impact logo

ESRC Names 2020 Finalists for Celebrating Impact Prize

Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council has named nine professors and two teams of researchers as finalists in its Celebrating […]

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Why Social Science? With Prevalent Misogyny, Women Still Don’t ‘Rule’ Equally to Men

Fifty years after Ruth Bader Ginsberg worked to secure constitutional equality for women, misogyny is still alive and well in […]


Businesses See the Value of Social Sciences, But Does Higher Education Policy?

The social sciences are recognized for their role in evaluating policy and offering practice-based interventions about ‘what works’. However, they […]

Mary Gergen

Mary Gergen, 1938-2020: Pioneer in Social Constructionism and Feminist Psychology

Social psychologist Mary Gergen, whose career explored the intersection of social constructionism, narrative studies, and feminist theories, and who was one of the founders of the Taos Institute, died of cancer on September 22. She was 82.

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Live Blogging Virtual Conference on Social Science’s Societal Impact

The Network for Advancing and Evaluating Societal Impact of Science, or AESIS, is currently conducting its Impact of Social Sciences […]

Graphic concept for auction theory

Auction Theorists Win 2020 Economics Nobel

Two economists whose work on how auctions work shone a much broader light on how people value and price goods and service have received the 2020 Nobel Prize in economics.

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