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Narrowly defining ‘impact’ could backfire, association warns

Image: Jef Poskanzer [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The value of research to society cannot be measured purely through impact assessments, the association of research funders and institutions Science Europe has cautioned.

Science Europe published a position statement on research impact assessment today, flagging the increasing demand for evidence of impact as a cause for concern that could have unintended consequences.

Defining impact as an “immediate, one-directional” effect of research on society must be avoided, the statement said. In addition, impact assessment “should avoid putting additional administrative burden on researchers and research organisations, and it must not have any negative effects on researchers’ autonomy and scientific independence”.

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