Welcome to Our Curated Section of Articles on Measuring Impact


We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, experiences and concerns about impact and its measurement. Comment below or write us at info@socialscience space.com

Newest Posts

Share Your Story of Impact

As part of a SAGE project to demonstrate, measure and promote social science impact, we’re looking for short write-ups from members of the social science community that we can share widely to make the case that our disciplines routinely provide knowledge that can be used to improve the human condition.


Don’t Just Publish and Hope

‘Invisible research’ is a waste of time and money, because what is the point of spending months researching and writing up findings only for them to gather digital dust in an online archive?

Video: APS Panel Discusses Nexus of Impact and Life

Can social science’s impact be boiled down to improving and enriching lives? In recent years, there has been an uptake in requirements from funders across the globe to prove impact of scholarly work, and simultaneously, intensified scrutiny about the value…

ESRC’s Effort to Develop Leadership in the Social Sciences: A Hunt for Unicorns?

Surely preparing Britain’s social science community to take the lead in a future of global and interdisciplinary team research isn’t a quest for a mythical beast? Matt Flinders, who heads an ESRC project trying to nurture that leadership, doesn’t think…

Shaping Welsh Government Policy with Research Evidence

The Wales Centre for Public Policy is helping to inform and shape policy decisions by presenting research evidence directly to government ministers, producing over 120 studies in the last five years – supporting effective policy making and benefiting public services…

Do Researchers Share New Information or Just Tell Practitioners what they Already Know?

When practitioners first learn about the matches we do at r4i, one question that sometimes arises is whether it’s worth taking the time to speak with a researcher? Here Adam Seth Levine uses the 2018 data to help answer this question.

Whither the Children When Parents Are Incarcerated?

An estimated 312,000 children annually lose a parent to imprisonment in England and Wales. Dr. Shona Minson, is the winner for Outstanding Early Career Impact in the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2019.

Impact and Knowledge Exchange series | By Louis Coiffait

Australia flag outline

Meanwhile, Impact Down Under

by Louis Coiffait (May 22, 2019) | Australia has been sampling a variety of tests for measuring research impact for more than a decade, but has yet to settle on whether the ‘impact agenda’ is here to stay.

Where Next for National Impact and Knowledge Exchange Policies?

(May 20, 2019) | Showing impact is a question of timescales as well as metrics. If you invest in research you are likely to see success in high-quality research outputs such as publications, as the UK has demonstrated in the past couple of decades. But it’s harder to demonstrate innovation and it takes longer.

Trans-Atlantic Approaches

Louis speaks to two leading UK experts who also know other countries; Hamish McAlpine, head of knowledge exchange data and evidence at Research England, and Sean Fielding, director of innovation, impact and business at the University of Exeter, and chair of the UK national knowledge exchange association, PraxisAuril.

Improving Google Scholar (and the Citation System)

To end his trilogy of articles on the research metric system (and Google Scholar in particular), Louis Coiffait explores what improvements could be made.

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Criticisms of Google Scholar

In his second article about the citation system and Google Scholar, Louis Coiffait looks at some of the current criticisms.

The Emerging UK Policy Landscape for Researchers

In this first in a series of articles about impact, Louis Coiffait will provide an overview of the current situation for researchers (including social scientists) in the United Kingdom, in particular looking at the impact and knowledge exchange frameworks.

At a Glance: The UK’s Twin-track Approach to Measuring Impact

For the public, the recent surge of populism suggests things other than ‘facts’ or ‘truth’ can drive them. In his second article in a series on impact, Louis Coiffait looks at how REF and KEF treat impact in the UK.

Impact Posts

Do We Turn Away from the ‘Grimpact’ of Some Research?

A critical blind spot in the impact agenda has been that impact is understood and defined solely in positive terms. Gemma Derrick and Paul Benneworth introduce the concept of ‘grimpact’ to describe instances where research negatively impacts society. Researchers and science systems, they argue, are poorly equipped to deal with.

Do Researchers Want to Engage with Practitioners?

Do researchers want to be engaged? Many have suggested otherwise. By and large I found the opposite. The large majority of researchers accepted my invitation to connect with practitioners.

Opening the Door to Allow All Truly Gifted Students Entry

Joni Lakin takes a look at David Lohman’s seminal 2005 work in Gifted Child Quarterly. His paper addresses the issue of underrepresentation while tackling a well-intentioned myth that nonverbal tests are the most equitable way to assess students who come from racial, ethnic, or linguistic minorities in the U.S.

Research Makes Police Custody More ‘Autism-Friendly’

Autistic individuals are estimated to be seven times more likely than the general population to come into contact with the Criminal Justice System. Dr Chloe Holloway from the University of Nottingham, is one of the finalist for Outstanding Early Career Impact in the ESRC Celebrating Impact Prize 2019.

Do Practitioners Prefer Self or Hands-on Matchmaking?

Adam Seth Levine compares how many practitioners engaged in self-matchmaking by contacting researchers directly through the site versus the number who requested hands-on matchmaking.

Archived Webinar: A Scientific Approach to Social Science Communication

As part of a project sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences and the Rita Allen Foundation, four science communications experts tackled surrounding the effective and ethical communication of science to relevant policymakers. in this webinar, we talk to the four experts about their findings and the processes they recommend.

Why It’s So Hard to Reform Peer Review

Robert J. Marks, the director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, argues that academic reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. His counsel? Know your enemy!

When They Connect with Researchers, are Practitioners Time-Sensitive?

Traditionally one of the biggest obstacles to building relationships between researchers and practitioners is different time scales — nonprofits’ “focus is urgent, immediate, and often in response to events…moving quickly and loudly” whereas “academics work to a different rhythm”.

Impact and Assessing Public Engagement

Promoting public engagement with research has become a core mission for research funders. However, the extent to which researchers can assess the impact of this engagement is often under-analysed and limited to success stories. Drawing on the example of development.

Do Practitioners Prefer to Connect with Researchers who are Local?

One long-standing concern with connecting research and practice is that the implications of research findings are often presented in a highly “decontextualized, distant way” that makes it difficult for practitioners to apply them to the specific context where they work.

Have We Outsourced Impact Measures to Database Providers?

Arlette Jappe, David Pithan and Thomas Heinze find that the growth in the volume of ‘evaluative citation analysis’ publications has not led to the formation of an intellectual field with strong reputational control. This has left a gap which has been filled by commercial database providers, who by selecting and distributing research metrics have gained a powerful role in defining standards of research excellence without being challenged by expert authority.

When Do Practitioners Want to Connect with Researchers?

In the first of a series of short posts by Adam S. Levine spotlighting what the organization Research4Impact has learned about connecting social science researches with practitioners, he identifies four reasons why nonprofit practitioners have wanted to engage with social scientists.

Resume and race

Can Academic Research be a Force for Good?

The greatest value of research is the positive impact it has on society. In this first blog post from a series looking at seminal academic articles from the SAGE Inspire collection, the editor of ‘Administrative Science Quarterly’ talks about a key 2016 piece on ‘whitening résumés.’

The Changing Imperative to Demonstrate Social Science Impact

In less than a decade the impact agenda has evolved from being a controversial idea to an established part of national research systems. Over the same period the ability to create and measure research impact through digital communication media has also developed significantly. Ziyad Marar argues that it is time to reinvigorate the debate on demonstrating social science research impact and to develop a language unique to researchers.

Drops impact

New Report Looks at Steps Toward Impact Measurement

(May 23, 2019) | SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, has released a report on measuring the impact of social science. Two issues undergird the report – that traditional “literature-based” measurements of impact are insufficient for modern demands to show value for money, and that new technologies make new ways of measuring impact possible.

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How Journal Impact Factor Affects Your Career

A new preprint was recently shared on PeerJ Preprints on the Use of the Journal Impact Factor in academic review, promotion, and tenure evaluations. Alice Fleerackers, Juan Pablo Alperin, and Erin McKiernan discuss the investigation and the findings on how the flawed metric is currently used in tenure and promotion decisions in universities across North America.

A new survey of university faculty finds that the idea of altmetrics – using something aside from journal citations as the measure of scholarly impact – has made less headway among faculty than might be expected given the hoopla surrounding altmetrics. These new measures are the most familiar in the social science community (barely) and least familiar in the arts and humanities (dramatically so).

Social Science Ahead of the (Shallow) Curve on Altmetrics

Achieving Impact for Early-Career Researchers

For many early-career researchers, the practicalities of how to successfully influence policy processes can be elusive, causing problems. Megan Evans and Chris Cvitanovic provide some practical tips and suggestions that can help to empower ECRs to create their own pathways to impact that best suit their individual goals, circumstances, interests, and strengths.

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ESRC Announces Finalists for Celebrating Impact Prize

Ranging from jurisprudence to autism, the loss of a baby to the growth of equality in science education, the work of the finalists in the seventh annual Celebrating Impact Prize competition—announced today — represent a broad cross-section of meaningful work from Britain’s social and behavioral researchers.

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Demonstrating Impact: How Cognitive Science Shapes Everyday Life

In their new video series entitled “Science in the District: Cognitive Psychology in the Real World,” the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences explores different ways in which cognitive science is at play in the world, particularly to keep individuals safe and healthy.

Ethics word cloud by Teodoraturovic

The Risks of Doing Research That Has Impact

David Canter considers the emotional and physical challenges of field research and the limits of conventional ethical approval.


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