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[ Tools for researchers ] October 7, 2022

How does research affect our world, our economy, and our lives?

Each scientific idea, discovery, and breakthrough sets off a different kind of chain reaction after it’s shared. But to understand how scholarly information affects our everyday lives and the world, we need to measure and understand impact faster and earlier in the research lifecycle.

What are the different kinds of research impact?

The influence of research extends beyond the laboratory, classroom, or conference hall. As scholarly outputs get disseminated, there are many different implications and applications in our real lives that we may not recognize.

 

Social

Scientific discoveries can greatly influence our attitudes and beliefs regarding ourselves and our surroundings. From clinical trials that teach us new information about our bodies to intergalactic insights that inform us about the nature of our physical universe, we are constantly altering the way we live based on new scholarly outputs. Consider the recent attention on climate change research and how it’s influenced the public’s environmental concerns. When studies found that plastic straws could harm marine wildlife, the public and major companies responded by turning to reusable straws, which caused a massive uptick in sales. As many scientific studies and publications began using the term “climate emergency”, the general public has demanded scholarly information on climate change to become freely available and openly accessible.

Beyond environmental concerns, research also directly affects human rights and public policy. Public impact research (PIR) can expose education barriers and other disparities as well as long-term medication effects and other public health insights.

 

Economic

Research has tangible economic impact beyond providing information that may help us increase our efficiency and productivity across sectors. . Products drive our economy, and new inventions draw from scientific knowledge and understanding. Federal institutions support research efforts in order to drive innovation and reach new technological and ideological frontiers. Through research and development (R&D), companies can also gain valuable insights into how their products work and improve upon them to create a sustainable future for customers. 

Corporations fund scientific research in order to support their mission, provide evidence for their claims, or create a source of information for investors. These R&D investments can lead to increases in revenue and cost savings. Whether from a corporate level or a federal level, institutional bodies support new discoveries because of the economic impact and growth they lead to.

 

Scientific

As the scholarly publishing industry develops and evolves, the impact and reach of research outputs within academia continues to expand. With the right infrastructure, scientists can access and build upon the discoveries of others to advance their ideas and support their further explorations. This can pave the way for collaboration across industries and geographical borders, resulting in more diverse perspectives within research and greater revenue and or visibility for journals. 

Take, for example, the collaborative efforts made around the globe during the COVID pandemic. Scientists worked together to develop vaccines and treatments, drawing upon different trials, studies, and breakthroughs to find the most efficient and safe methods to stop the spread of the virus. Can you imagine how many other instances there are in which researchers have built on each other’s findings to accelerate their own? 

 

How can we measure impact?

Clearly, the different impacts of research are so vast that they are impossible to list and extremely difficult to quantify. But, the effect that findings can have on the academic community and wider world are too significant to go ignored and unmeasured. Impact factors (IF) have been used as a metric to evaluate the relevance of research by focusing on the number of citations. Yet, this can encourage bad practices like citation manipulation and only assesses the final published research, dismissing valuable early-stage results. Further, impact factors do not measure economic or societal impact of research. We can also use tools like Altmetric to evaluate the public response to and conversation around research. We need stronger research impact frameworks to measure the success of innovations in publishing.

How can we develop more innovative approaches to evaluate the impact of research?

 

Conclusion

At Morressier, we provide societies and organizations with a 360 degree view of their community’s research data across the scholarly lifecycle. This means that you can gain key insights about the reach and level of interest surrounding your community’s early-stage results in addition to the final paper, helping you increase publishing outputs by keeping track of trends and talented authors, ultimately increasing the impact of their work.

Research impacts our world in many ways, and because of this we have a responsibility to make sure that the discoveries we share are reliable.

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