IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bla/jamist/v64y2013i2p217-233.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? a literature survey

Author

Listed:
  • Lutz Bornmann

Abstract

Since the 1990s, the scope of research evaluations becomes broader as the societal products (outputs), societal use (societal references), and societal benefits (changes in society) of research come into scope. Society can reap the benefits of successful research studies only if the results are converted into marketable and consumable products (e.g., medicaments, diagnostic tools, machines, and devices) or services. A series of different names have been introduced which refer to the societal impact of research: third stream activities, societal benefits, societal quality, usefulness, public values, knowledge transfer, and societal relevance. What most of these names are concerned with is the assessment of social, cultural, environmental, and economic returns (impact and effects) from results (research output) or products (research outcome) of publicly funded research. This review intends to present existing research on and practices employed in the assessment of societal impact in the form of a literature survey. The objective is for this review to serve as a basis for the development of robust and reliable methods of societal impact measurement.

Suggested Citation

  • Lutz Bornmann, 2013. "What is societal impact of research and how can it be assessed? a literature survey," Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 64(2), pages 217-233, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jamist:v:64:y:2013:i:2:p:217-233
    DOI: 10.1002/asi.22803
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.22803
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1002/asi.22803?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Nightingale & Alister Scott, 2007. "Peer review and the relevance gap: Ten suggestions for policy-makers," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(8), pages 543-553, October.
    2. Claire Donovan & Stephen Hanney, 2011. "The ‘Payback Framework’ explained," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 181-183, September.
    3. Alison Abbott & David Cyranoski & Nicola Jones & Brendan Maher & Quirin Schiermeier & Richard Van Noorden, 2010. "Metrics: Do metrics matter?," Nature, Nature, vol. 465(7300), pages 860-862, June.
    4. J Britt Holbrook & Robert Frodeman, 2011. "Peer review and the ex ante assessment of societal impacts," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 239-246, September.
    5. Salter, Ammon J. & Martin, Ben R., 2001. "The economic benefits of publicly funded basic research: a critical review," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 509-532, March.
    6. Mansfield, Edwin, 1991. "Academic research and industrial innovation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 1-12, February.
    7. Erik Ernø-Kjølhede & Finn Hansson, 2011. "Measuring research performance during a changing relationship between science and society," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 131-143, June.
    8. Beise, Marian & Stahl, Harald, 1999. "Public research and industrial innovations in Germany," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 397-422, April.
    9. Jordi Molas-Gallart & Puay Tang, 2011. "Tracing ‘productive interactions’ to identify social impacts: an example from the social sciences," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 219-226, September.
    10. Inge van der Weijden & Maaike Verbree & Peter van den Besselaar, 2012. "From bench to bedside: The societal orientation of research leaders: The case of biomedical and health research in the Netherlands," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 285-303, May.
    11. Albert N. Link & John T. Scott, 2013. "The theory and practice of public-sector R&D economic impact analysis," Chapters, in: Albert N. Link & Nicholas S. Vonortas (ed.), Handbook on the Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation, chapter 2, pages 15-55, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Claire Donovan, 2007. "The qualitative future of research evaluation," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(8), pages 585-597, October.
    13. Lisa Klautzer & Stephen Hanney & Edward Nason & Jennifer Rubin & Jonathan Grant & Steven Wooding, 2011. "Assessing policy and practice impacts of social science research: the application of the Payback Framework to assess the Future of Work programme," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 201-209, September.
    14. Martin Buxton, 2011. "The payback of ‘Payback’: challenges in assessing research impact," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 259-260, September.
    15. Marcia A. Mardis & Ellen S. Hoffman & Flora P. McMartin, 2012. "Toward broader impacts: Making sense of NSF's merit review criteria in the context of the National Science Digital Library," Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 63(9), pages 1758-1772, September.
    16. Barend van der Meulen & Arie Rip, 2000. "Evaluation of societal quality of public sector research in the Netherlands," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 11-25, April.
    17. Walter, Alexander I. & Helgenberger, Sebastian & Wiek, Arnim & Scholz, Roland W., 2007. "Measuring societal effects of transdisciplinary research projects: Design and application of an evaluation method," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 325-338, November.
    18. Toole, Andrew A., 2012. "The impact of public basic research on industrial innovation: Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-12.
    19. Petit, Jean-Claude, 2004. "Why do we need fundamental research?," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 191-207, May.
    20. Ben R Martin, 2011. "The Research Excellence Framework and the ‘impact agenda’: are we creating a Frankenstein monster?," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 247-254, September.
    21. Sarah Bell & Ben Shaw & Annette Boaz, 2011. "Real-world approaches to assessing the impact of environmental research on policy," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 227-237, September.
    22. Claire Donovan, 2011. "State of the art in assessing research impact: introduction to a special issue," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(3), pages 175-179, September.
    23. Marcia A. Mardis & Ellen S. Hoffman & Flora P. McMartin, 2012. "Toward broader impacts: Making sense of NSF's merit review criteria in the context of the National Science Digital Library," Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Association for Information Science & Technology, vol. 63(9), pages 1758-1772, September.
    24. Narin, Francis & Hamilton, Kimberly S. & Olivastro, Dominic, 1997. "The increasing linkage between U.S. technology and public science," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 317-330, October.
    25. Link, Albert N. & Scott, John T., 2011. "The Theory and Practice of Public-Sector R&D Economic Impact Analysis: The Case of the National Institute of Standards and Technology," UNCG Economics Working Papers 11-16, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
    26. Birgitte Gregersen & Lisbeth Tved Linde & Jorgen Gulddahl Rasmussen, 2009. "Linking between Danish universities and society," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 151-156, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Matteo Pedrini & Valentina Langella & Mario Alberto Battaglia & Paola Zaratin, 2018. "Assessing the health research’s social impact: a systematic review," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(3), pages 1227-1250, March.
    2. Lutz Bornmann & Werner Marx, 2014. "How should the societal impact of research be generated and measured? A proposal for a simple and practicable approach to allow interdisciplinary comparisons," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 98(1), pages 211-219, January.
    3. Gaunand, A. & Hocdé, A. & Lemarié, S. & Matt, M. & Turckheim, E.de, 2015. "How does public agricultural research impact society? A characterization of various patterns," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 849-861.
    4. Joly, P.B. & Gaunand, A. & Colinet, L. & Larédo, P. & Lemarié, S. & Matt, M., 2015. "ASIRPA: a comprehensive theory-based approach to assessing the societal impacts of a research organization," Working Papers 2015-04, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    5. Wang, Fang, 2024. "Does the recombination of distant scientific knowledge generate valuable inventions? An analysis of pharmaceutical patents," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 130(C).
    6. Kroll, Henning & Hansmeier, Hendrik & Hufnagl, Miriam, 2022. "Productive interactions in basic research an enquiry into impact pathways at the DESY synchrotron," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 175(C).
    7. Kolympiris, Christos & Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas & Miller, Douglas, 2014. "Public funds and local biotechnology firm creation," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 121-137.
    8. Andrea Bonaccorsi & Filippo Chiarello & Gualtiero Fantoni, 2021. "Impact for whom? Mapping the users of public research with lexicon-based text mining," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 126(2), pages 1745-1774, February.
    9. Beck, Mathias & Junge, Martin & Kaiser, Ulrich, 2017. "Public Funding and Corporate Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 11196, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bekkers, Rudi & Bodas Freitas, Isabel Maria, 2008. "Analysing knowledge transfer channels between universities and industry: To what degree do sectors also matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1837-1853, December.
    11. Nelson, Andrew J., 2012. "Putting university research in context: Assessing alternative measures of production and diffusion at Stanford," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 678-691.
    12. Rudi Bekkers & Bodas Freitas, 2008. "Analysing preferences for knowledge transfer channels between universities and industry: To what degree do sectors also matter?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-01487467, HAL.
    13. Toole, Andrew A., 2012. "The impact of public basic research on industrial innovation: Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 1-12.
    14. Acosta, Manuel & Coronado, Daniel, 2003. "Science-technology flows in Spanish regions: An analysis of scientific citations in patents," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1783-1803, December.
    15. Martin Falk & Mariya Hake, 2008. "Wachstumswirkungen der Forschungsausgaben," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 34120, June.
    16. Anthony Arundel & Aldo Geuna, 2001. "Does Proximity Matter for Knowledge Transfer from Public Institutes and Universities to Firms?," SPRU Working Paper Series 73, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    17. Pierre Benoit Joly & Laurence Colinet & Ariane Gaunand & Stephane Lemarié & Mireille Matt, 2016. "Agricultural research impact assessment: issues, methods and challenges," Working Papers hal-01431457, HAL.
    18. Toole, Andrew A., 2011. "The impact of public basic research on industrial innovation: Evidence from the pharmaceutical industry," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-063, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    19. Dotti, Nicola Francesco & Walczyk, Julia, 2022. "What is the societal impact of university research? A policy-oriented review to map approaches, identify monitoring methods and success factors," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    20. Martina Kauffeld-Monz, 2005. "Knowledge spillovers within regional networks of innovation and the contribution made by public research," ERSA conference papers ersa05p440, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:jamist:v:64:y:2013:i:2:p:217-233. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Wiley Content Delivery (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.asis.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.