Tools of the Trade: UK Research Intermediaries and the Politics of Impacts

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

In recent years questions concerning the impact of public research funding have become the preeminent site at which struggles over the meanings and value of science are played out. In this paper we explore the ‘politics of impact’ in contemporary UK science and research policy and, in particular, detail the ways in which UK research councils have responded to and reframed recent calls for the quantitative measurement of research impacts. Operating as ‘boundary organisations’ research councils are embroiled in what might be characterised as the ‘politics of demarcation’ in which competing understandings of the cultural values of science are traded, exchanged and contested. In this paper we focus on the way the UK’s ‘Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’ (EPSRC) has responded to contemporary policy discourses concerning the impacts of public research expenditure. We argue that, in response to the shifting terms of contemporary science policy, the EPSRC has adopted three distinct strategies. Firstly, in collaboration with other research councils the EPSRC have emphasised the intellectual and metrological challenge presented by attempts to quantify the economic impact of public research expenditure, emphasising instead the cumulative impacts of a broad portfolio of ‘basic science’. Secondly, the EPSRC has sought to widen the discursive meaning of research impacts – specifically to include societal and policy impacts in addition to economic ones. Thirdly, the EPSRC has introduced a new framing into the ‘impact agenda’, preferring to talk about ‘pathways to impact’ rather than research impacts per se. In responding to government priority setting, we argue that the EPSRC has sought to exploit both the technical fragility of auditing techniques and the discursive ambiguity of notions of impact.   Matthew Kearnes and Matthias Wienroth Minerva, 2011, Volume 49, Number 2, 153-174, DOI: 10.1007/s11024-011-9172-4
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Research vitality as sustained excellence: what keeps the plates spinning?

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

Research vitality addresses the perseverance that faculty members in the organization sciences experience in maintaining their research quantity and quality over an extended period of time. The purpose of this paper is to offer a theoretical model of research vitality. The authors propose a model consisting of individual and situational factors which influence the motivation and commitment of a professor to continue to conduct quality research over an extended period of time. Additionally, the authors identify benefits that may accrue when faculty members possess research vitality and discuss human resource management implications for schools engaged in hiring, tenuring, promoting, and socializing faculty members. A set of propositions about research vitality and contextual factors that influence this construct are presented and discussed. Findings – An individual-level construct that represents a time related measure of the quality and quantity of individual contributions to the scholarly discipline of management is developed. Every individual in the organizational sciences field has the capability to contribute in a meaningful way. Research limitations/implications – The model presented has a number of personal implications and departmental implications such as how to predict research vitality in junior faculty members. Practical implications – The framework should be used for understanding one element of success in the organizational sciences. Originality/value – The paper develops a model of research vitality to explain why some faculty continue to be productive, even in the face of a challenging research process. J. Bruce Gilstrap, Jaron Harvey, Milorad M. Novicevic, M. Ronald Buckley, (2011) “Research vitality as sustained excellence: what keeps the plates spinning?”, Career Development International, Vol. 16 Iss: 6, pp.616 – 644 DOI:10.1108/13620431111178353
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Direct2Experts: a pilot national network to demonstrate interoperability among research-networking platforms

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

Research-networking tools use data-mining and social networking to enable expertise discovery, matchmaking and collaboration, which are important facets of team science and translational research. Several commercial and academic platforms have been built, and many institutions have deployed these products to help their investigators find local collaborators. Recent studies, though, have shown the growing importance of multiuniversity teams in science. Unfortunately, the lack of a standard data-exchange model and resistance of universities to share information about their faculty have presented barriers to forming an institutionally supported national network. This case report describes an initiative, which, in only 6 months, achieved interoperability among seven major research-networking products at 28 universities by taking an approach that focused on addressing institutional concerns and encouraging their participation. With this necessary groundwork in place, the second phase of this effort can begin, which will expand the network’s functionality and focus on the end users. JAMIA; Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association doi:10.1136/amiajnl-2011-000200 http://jamia.bmjjournals.com/content/early/2011/10/28/amiajnl-2011-000200.full.pdf
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Community of scholars: lifelong learning needs lifetime readers’ tickets

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

Recently, Jstor, a digital archive of more than 1,000 major academic journals, has piloted an alumni-access programme that allows 19 institutions, including Yale University and the universities of London and Exeter in the UK, to bring the collection to alumni worldwide at a reasonable cost. For our alumni, access to the collection is free. The response has been tremendous. When programmes such as this are combined with collaborations between university libraries and alumni offices, it becomes possible to build a virtual alumni library that can support an entire lifetime of learning. At the same time, many universities are also vastly expanding public access to their own collections via the web. At Yale, individuals around the world have free online access to images of millions of objects housed in our museums, archives and libraries. But, as we must continue to remind all who will listen, not everything has been put on the web and the physical collections of a university library are still essential, irreplaceable research tools. So while a university library cannot bring its physical collections to alumni spread across the world, it can open its doors, perhaps just a bit wider, to the community that surrounds it. As universities strive to become more a part of, rather than apart from, the community, they should see their libraries as essential to the local intellectual commons.
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Enabling Open Scholarship – A case study in openness: Salford University

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

« A case study in institutional openness has just been published, focused on Salford University. Written by the Vice Chancellor and EOS Board member, Professor Martin Hall, the study describes the drive to openness and the benefits it brings to the University and its public. « The University aims to create economic and social value through innovative ways of working together. A key element of this is openness », says Professor Hall. In the paper, he develops the concept of a ‘Generic Open Access University’ and describes how the univeristy repository, USIR, is the core of intermediary agencies and a wide range of networked connections. « The open access repository is at the heart of this model, in the place that the library has occupied from the earliest days of the university », Professor Hall says.
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Research, higher education and innovation: redesigning multi-level governance within Europe in a period of crisis

Via Scoop.itDual impact of research; towards the impactelligent university

In this paper we present a vision for the course Europe should take in its research and higher education policies in order to fully live up to the expectations of its citizens to provide a safe, comfortable, affluent and sustainable environment in this period of considerable financial restraint on the part of EU governments. In particular we focus on the division of labour between the EU, Member States and regions. We first provide a brief historical overview of the origins of research policy in Europe. Second, we give our vision for investments in research and higher education for economic growth and hence also for solving many of the “big challenges” Europe is being confronted withalready today but increasingly so in the coming years. Third, we fit out our vision onto the history to derive a perspective on how our vision could be transferred in budgetary and regulatory terms according to an optimum interplay between the EU, member states and regions. UNU-MERIT Working Papers 2011 Jo Ritzen & Luc Soetefull text: http://www.merit.unu.edu/publications/wppdf/2011/wp2011-056.pdf
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