My presentation will be based on the research and results of the IMPACT-EV project, funded by the Framework Programme of the European Commission, of which I am the Knowledge Management Coordinator. The project aims at developing a permanent system of selection, monitoring and evaluation of the various impacts of research (i.e. scientific, political, social), with the ultimate goal of contributing to enhancing the impact of science on society.
The IMPACT-EV project was appointed by the European Commission to perform the ex-post evaluation of the 7th Framework Programme and the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 Programme in the area of social sciences and humanities. The results have been also presented at the European Parliament.
In this presentation, I will clarify the concept of social impact through explaining the difference from other concepts such as dissemination and transference, commonly mixed up with. We have dissemination when the research findings are publicized, both to the scientific community and to policy makers, stakeholders and citizens in general (i.e. press, social media, networks). We have knowledge transfer when the published results are implemented by policymakers or stake holders as the basis for their policies, products or actions. On step further, we have social impact when the published results have been transferred and lead to an improvement in relation to the goals agreed in our societies.
Furthermore, I will present about indicators and tools we have identified for the different ways to measure social impact. Given the different difficulties when measuring social impact (such as attributing specific social benefits to specific research projects’ results, the length in time that impact takes to occur, the lack of tradition among the scientific community to gather information and evidence of the impact of their research, etc.), I will show some instruments studied by IMPACT-EV to gather and measure the different social impacts from research. For example, I will present SIOR, the first Social Impact Open Repository, designed to support researchers in showing and sharing the social impact of their projects with other researchers or stakeholders. SIOR is linked to ORCID in a way that researchers not only can show publications as the outcome of their scientific activity, but also evidence of the social impact of their work.