Journal of Social Sciences

Research Impact, the ‘New Academic Capital’: An Environmental Scan of Research Impact Indicators and Resources for the Humanities and Social Sciences across 32 Countries

Samantha Shewchuk and Amanda Cooper

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2018.55.64

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 14, 2018

Pages 55-64


Research impact agendas are gaining momentum globally and changing research policies from funding agencies and universities. This article reports on an environmental scan of research impact indicators and resources for Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) from 32 countries. Changing policies from national research funders include new expectations for researchers to mobilize their research to non-academic audiences that could benefit from its use and demonstrate the tangible impacts of their work. Many have argued that research impact agendas disadvantage HSS as compared to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. As such, the purpose of this environmental scan was threefold: (a) to examine how funding agencies are defining and conceptualizing research impact and KMb in different countries, (b) to gather and analyze research impact indicators used to assess HSS and (c) to identify practical resources that might support HSS researchers with research mobilization and impact. The scan yielded 721 research impact resources relevant to HSS; included analysis of 1,105 indicators; and identified 87 resources for researchers (including tools, networks, projects and open access repositories). Supplementary files for this article include a taxonomy of research impact indicators as well as a guidebook of research impact resources for researchers.


© 2018 Samantha Shewchuk and Amanda Cooper. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.