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Five things to consider when designing a policy to measure research impact

Andrew Gunn and Michael Mintrom write in The Conversation (13.1.17) about proposed federal government measurements of academic research impact. The authors highlight how the move to measure the impact of university research on society introduces many new challenges for the academic sector.

‘This year will see the Australian government pilot new ways to measure the impact of university research. As recommended by the Watt Review, the Engagement and Impact Assessment will encourage universities to ensure academic research produces wider economic and social benefits.

‘This fits into the National Innovation and Science Agenda, in which taxpayer funds are targeted at research that will have a beneficial future impact on society.

‘Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the pilots will test “how to measure the value of research against things that mean something, rather than only allocating funding to researchers who spend their time trying to get published in journals”.

‘This move to measure the non-academic impact of research introduces many new challenges that were not previously relevant when evaluation focused solely on academic merit. New research highlights some of the key issues that need to be addressed when deciding how to measure impact.’

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