Evaluating usage and impact

This is an area that is primarily driven by statistics, data and factual information. This is where the effectiveness of the scholarly communications system is being measured in quantifiable more than qualitative ways, assessing the effectiveness of the system that facilitates outputs reaching the eyes of users as well as the impact those outputs are having.

Scholarly communications in the next few years will increasingly take a role in constructing a case that justifies infrastructure development, as well as pointing stakeholder communities to exactly where that development should take place. Before making the case for resources, however, collated data can be exploited so that wherever the system is seen to be failing, or where outputs are not generating the interest they should, there can be a focused effort to improve. This assessment process allows the community to know how it is doing, allowing stakeholder units to improve accordingly, and the community can then show Government where the resources are required. To achieve this, robust policy development is a vital part of the process across the stakeholder groups to ensure the processes to gain this information, and act on it, are in place.


RIN’s Statement of Principles sets out three key areas for public policy development in this area:

1. Secure sound knowledge on the impact and use of research outputs, and their dissemination vehicles
2. Gain reputable data on the UK system’s performance with a built-in process to review its effectiveness
3. Apply metrics to measure performance levels of departments, institutions and the UK as a whole.

As much of this refers to national policy, there will need to be cooperative strategies developed for when stakeholders have responsibilities to act collaboratively at a national level, and suitable preparations made to brief outside bodies that may need to work on the national implementations of these objectives. Some of the broader issues that may be of concern to stakeholders in the context of these objectives are mentioned in this section of the Policy Centre.

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