Researchers' contributions go beyond the academy and include impacts on the economy, industry and business, public policy, culture, behaviour, and society.
This type of impact can include:
To learn more about societal impacts of research, try the Introduction to Research Impact tutorial.
Some of the factors that help generate impact include:
First, the bad news: for a variety of reasons, including the difficulty of attributing societal changes or benefits to a particular research output and time lag between the production of research and its impact, it is not clear how to evaluate the societal impacts of research.
Despite this, some approaches being used are:
The landscape of higher education is evolving, with a growing emphasis on achieving societal impact alongside academic excellence. Community-engaged research and service is a highly impactful approach, which is intentionally designed so the methods and research outcomes are developed and managed with communities. In support of this valuable approach to research, the University of Alberta Library (UAL) can provide services to foster and bolster community impact initiatives.
Meeting and Event Spaces: To facilitate meaningful interactions between researchers and community members, UAL can provide designated spaces for meetings, workshops, and events. These spaces can be conducive to open discussions, idea sharing, and collaborative planning, fostering a strong foundation for community engagement. Check out bookable spaces in the library, or contact your Subject Librarian to discuss larger options or events.
Interdisciplinary Collaborations: UAL can actively promote interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers from various disciplines, and provide targeted literature searches to identify potential collaborators.
Training and Capacity Building: The Research Impact Team can consult with researchers, or provide instruction on, topics such as understanding research impact, planning for impact, and qualitative and quantitative approaches to research impact.
Open Access (OA) Publishing Support: Recognizing the significance of disseminating research outcomes and the broad, accessible reach of OA publishing, UAL can offer robust support for OA publishing, including providing researchers with resources, guidance, and infrastructure for disseminating research and knowledge mobilization products openly. Contact your Subject Librarian for more information.
The University of Alberta Library is committed to empowering researchers to make a positive difference in their communities.