In recent years, the concept of ‘impact’, or the wider value of research for society, has climbed to the top of national and EU science policy agendas. Yet the way impact has been imagined often relates to concepts of value, and traditional measurements of impact, which emphasise cost-benefit analyses and the economic value of research, which are poorly suited to arts and humanities research (AHR). This virtual issue of Research Evaluation reflects distinct EU and national debates and characteristics important for exploring the societal value of AHR. These examples are useful for understanding AHR, and also the societal value of research in general.
In total, the articles reveal the importance of understanding the impact and the public value of AHR in local contexts, the need to provide viable alternatives to ‘one-size fits all’ measures drawn from the natural and physical sciences (most notably new, qualitative approaches to research evaluation), not to shirk from complexity, to augment economic impacts with social and cultural impacts, the importance of a long-term vision of research impact, and the essential role of arts and humanities scholarship in providing a critique of, and antidote to, orthodox practice.
All articles in this virtual issue are freely available to download, read, and enjoy.
Introduction: Measuring the impact of arts and humanities research in Europe
Claire Donovan and Magnus Gulbrandsen
Arts and humanities research, redefining public benefit, and research prioritization in Ireland
Andrew G. Gibson and Ellen Hazelkorn
Qualitative network analysis tools for the configurative articulation of cultural value and impact from research
Alis Oancea, Teresa Florez Petour, and Jeanette Atkinson
A review of literature on evaluating the scientific, social and political impact of social sciences and humanities research
Emanuela Reale, Dragana Avramov, Kubra Canhial, Claire Donovan, Ramon Flecha, Poul Holm, Charles Larkin, Benedetto Lepori, Judith Mosoni-Fried, Esther Oliver, Emilia Primeri, Lidia Puigvert, Andrea Scharnhorst, Andràs Schubert, Marta Soler, Sàndor Soòs, Teresa Sordé, Charles Travis, and René Van Horik