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.

Scientists’ Data is Here to Make an Impact

The big idea Scientists don’t take time away from their research to share their expertise with journalists, policymakers and everyone […]

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Here Are the Blocks You Need to Tell Your Impact Story

At a loss for how to demonstrate impact? Laura Meagher and David Edwards outline a dynamic understanding of impact evaluation comprised of ‘building blocks’. These building blocks are five types of impacts; five broad categories of stakeholders; and eight causal factors, along with a set of over-arching reflective questions.

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Hss and STEM scientists hard at work

Social Science, STEM and Career Skills: Not ‘Either/Or’ But ‘Both/And’

As Lina Ashour has recently written, SAGE Publishing has helped make possible a report by the UK’s Campaign for Social […]

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In Response to ‘COVID-19 Forces Universities to Refocus their Vision’

From the budding sense of a tight-knit community of fellow students and faculty, to radio silence, for a lot of students the rapid coronavirus-driven shift to a digital university experience doesn’t feel like enough. I am one of those students — a current graduate student who recently moved back home to America to finish up the last year of a dual-degree program.

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James Jackson

James Jackson, 1944-2020: Pioneering Researcher of African American Life

James Jackson, a social psychologist whose pioneering survey of Black Americans created new methodologies and new insights about the psychological resiliency of the community, has died at age 76.

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AESIS Virtual Conference Looks at Social Science’s Societal Impact

The Network for Advancing and Evaluating Societal Impact of Science, or AESIS, will hold the next edition of its Impact […]

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Moynihan prize nomination graphic

‘The Idea of ‘Use’ is Important’: AAPSS and the Role of the Moynihan Prize

Social Science Space took this opportunity of a call for nominations to ask Tom Kecskemethy, executive director of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, about the Moynihan prize specifically and career awards more broadly.

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COVID warnings in various media

Social Sciences SHAPE up to Benefit a Post-Pandemic World

COVID-19 has devastated communities and economies around the world and profoundly changed the ways in which we live and work. […]

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COVID-19 Forces Universities to Refocus their Vision

After a rapid switch to distance education due to COVID-19, many universities will remain as virtual campuses in the coming fall semester. For many universities, the focus has been on mastering or refining techniques for remote teaching. But a larger challenge looms.

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ARIS Webinar Looks at Impact in Canada

The Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) community experts around the world will lead continuing discussions on broader impact topics. […]

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Aspect Annual Webinar Event 2020: Building Propensity & Well-Being Through Social Science Innovation

Click here to read more about this year’s Aspect event and to register for any of the 19 webinars being […]

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Ken Robinson

Remembering Ken Robinson, Apostle of Creativity in Education

Ken Robinson, the revered and prolific evangelist for connecting education with the arts, died August 21 of cancer. He was 70. As Social Science Space prepares a full obituary, we repost an account of Robinson’s appearance to help mark SAGE Publishing’s 50th year in 2015; SAGE is the parent of Social Science Space.

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chasing a butterfly

Do We Value Unfunded Research Properly?

Unfunded research takes time and money for already stretched academics. Yet it makes up over a quarter of all research carried out in British universities. Rosalind Edwards spoken to academics about why they do unfunded research.

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Kathy Charmaz

Kathy Charmaz, 1939-2020: Developer of Constructivist Grounded Theory

Sociologist Kathy Charmaz, whose experience as an occupational therapist led her to develop a new take on the qualitative research methodology known as grounded theory, died of cancer on July 27. A professor emerita at Northern California’s Sonoma State University, she was 80.

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Impact in Action: Relational Learning to Serve Non-Reading Adults

Lynn Thigpen’s institutional review board asked whether she intended to research a vulnerable population, but they said nothing about the impact of interviewing on her own vulnerable heart and soul. So the former laboratory scientist acquired a new skill – qualitative research and listening for the important immeasurables.

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Social Science ‘Spinouts,’ An Underappreciated Pathway to Impact?

One means of fixing and making ideas tangible, often scorned and neglected in the social sciences, but widely used in STEM, are spinouts. For universities, a spinout is a company formed on the basis of intellectual property from a university or research institute.

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Raoult and Einstein

Why the h-index is a Bogus Measure of Academic Impact

Although experts in bibliometry have pointed out the dubious nature of the h-index, most researchers do not always seem to understand that its properties make it a far-from-valid index to seriously and ethically assess the quality or scientific impact of publications.

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Why Social Science? Because We Will Need to Do Better in the Next Crisis

Without research in social, organizational, and behavioral sciences, argues John Haaga, as serious as the investment in biomedical research, the United States may be no better off when the next acute crisis hits.

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Might Commercializing Social Science Be a Road to Impact?

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown many opportunities have arisen to rethink how and for whom our societies operate. In this post, Julia Black argues that social sciences can play a unique role in the post-COVID-19 recovery by forging new relationships with business and commerce and outlines how initiatives, such as the Aspect network, are seeking to bridge the divide between the social sciences and business.

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Lucius Barker

A Giant in Mentoring Political Leaders: Lucius Barker, 1928-2020

Political scientist Lucius Barker, a pioneering African-American academic whose influence in fields like constitutional law and civil liberties has been amplified by the high-profile leaders he mentored, died on June 21. He was 92.

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Size Still Matters: Discoverability, Impact and ‘Big’ Journals

One of the proposed advantages of open access publication is that it increases the impact of academic research by making it more broadly and easily accessible. Reporting on a natural experiment on the citation impact of health research that is published in both open access and subscription journals, Chris Carroll and Andy Tattersall, suggests that subscription journals still play an important role in making research discoverable and useful and thus still have a role to play even in open publication strategies.

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Impact Award graphic

The Future of Precarious Work

In 2009, American Sociological Review published Arne L. Kalleberg’s “Precarious Work, Insecure Workers: Employment Relations in Transition,” in which he explores the various ways unpredictable work impacts employees. Over 10 years later, sociologists actively turn to and build upon his work and the suggested structural changes needed to create more stable conditions.

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People Do Not Understand Logarithmic Graphs Used to Visualize COVID-19

Editor’s Note: If you’re curious about the ways in which data visualization and graph use can generate impact with regard […]

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Can Social Science Save Lives in a Pandemic?

David Canter considers the emerging social science perspectives for controlling COVID-19

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Fannie Lou Hamer

In Search of Today’s Fannie Lou Hamers and Martin Luther Kings

Vincent Adejumo says that his scholarship in the discipline of black politics can explain why there aren’t any national African American leaders at this moment, filling roles like Martin Luther King Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer and others once did.

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