IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

How do researchers generate scientific and societal impacts? Toward an analytical and operational framework


  • Pablo D’Este
  • Irene Ramos-Vielba
  • Richard Woolley
  • Nabil Amara


Models of research systems increasingly emphasize collaborations between networks of heterogeneous actors, to both produce knowledge and formulate interdisciplinary responses to societal challenges and market needs. In this context, researchers’ goals and practices are required to satisfy professional requirements for new scientific findings and societal demand for relevant knowledge. Researchers may need also to find ways to reconcile tensions between these two missions. This article proposes an analytical and operational framework that incorporates individual, organizational and process-context factors to explain distinct configurations of scientific and societal impacts from research. The framework emphasises the role of productive interactions with different nonacademic actors as a mechanism for reconciling the scientific and societal missions of research.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo D’Este & Irene Ramos-Vielba & Richard Woolley & Nabil Amara, 2018. "How do researchers generate scientific and societal impacts? Toward an analytical and operational framework," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(6), pages 752-763.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:scippl:v:45:y:2018:i:6:p:752-763.

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lam, Alice, 2011. "What motivates academic scientists to engage in research commercialization: ‘Gold’, ‘ribbon’ or ‘puzzle’?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1354-1368.
    2. Dietz, James S. & Bozeman, Barry, 2005. "Academic careers, patents, and productivity: industry experience as scientific and technical human capital," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 349-367, April.
    3. 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.
    4. Dirk Czarnitzki & Andrew Toole, 2010. "Is there a trade-off between academic research and faculty entrepreneurship? Evidence from US NIH supported biomedical researchers," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(5), pages 505-520.
    5. Irene Ramos-Vielba & Mabel Sánchez-Barrioluengo & Richard Woolley, 2016. "Scientific research groups’ cooperation with firms and government agencies: motivations and barriers," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 558-585, June.
    6. Clarysse, Bart & Tartari, Valentina & Salter, Ammon, 2011. "The impact of entrepreneurial capacity, experience and organizational support on academic entrepreneurship," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1084-1093, October.
    7. van Rijnsoever, Frank J. & Hessels, Laurens K., 2011. "Factors associated with disciplinary and interdisciplinary research collaboration," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 463-472, April.
    8. Janet Bercovitz & Maryann Feldman, 2008. "Academic Entrepreneurs: Organizational Change at the Individual Level," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 19(1), pages 69-89, February.
    9. Smith, Simon & Ward, Vicky & House, Allan, 2011. "‘Impact’ in the proposals for the UK's Research Excellence Framework: Shifting the boundaries of academic autonomy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(10), pages 1369-1379.
    10. Tartari, Valentina & Perkmann, Markus & Salter, Ammon, 2014. "In good company: The influence of peers on industry engagement by academic scientists," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(7), pages 1189-1203.
    11. Stefan de Jong & Katharine Barker & Deborah Cox & Thordis Sveinsdottir & Peter Van den Besselaar, 2014. "Understanding societal impact through productive interactions: ICT research as a case," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 89-102.
    12. Jain, Sanjay & George, Gerard & Maltarich, Mark, 2009. "Academics or entrepreneurs? Investigating role identity modification of university scientists involved in commercialization activity," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 922-935, July.
    13. Schartinger, Doris & Schibany, Andras & Gassler, Helmut, 2001. "Interactive Relations between Universities and Firms: Empirical Evidence for Austria," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 255-268, June.
    14. Subramanian, Annapoornima M. & Lim, Kwanghui & Soh, Pek-Hooi, 2013. "When birds of a feather don’t flock together: Different scientists and the roles they play in biotech R&D alliances," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 595-612.
    15. Roach, Michael & Sauermann, Henry, 2010. "A taste for science? PhD scientists' academic orientation and self-selection into research careers in industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 422-434, April.
    16. Link, Albert N. & Swann, Christopher A. & Bozeman, Barry, 2008. "A time allocation study of university faculty," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 363-374, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gunnar Sivertsen & Ingeborg Meijer, 2020. "Normal versus extraordinary societal impact: how to understand, evaluate, and improve research activities in their relations to society?," Research Evaluation, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 66-70.
    2. Wesley M. Cohen & Henry Sauermann & Paula Stephan, 2020. "Not in the Job Description: The Commercial Activities of Academic Scientists and Engineers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 66(9), pages 4108-4117, September.
    3. Ferran Giones & Daniel Laufs & Carsten Schultz, 2020. "Co-creating Science Commercialization Opportunities for Blue Biotechnologies: The FucoSan Project," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(14), pages 1-18, July.
    4. Igors Skute, 2019. "Opening the black box of academic entrepreneurship: a bibliometric analysis," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 120(1), pages 237-265, July.


    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:oup:scippl:v:45:y:2018:i:6:p:752-763.. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.