The Impact Agenda as Paradigm Shift

In advance of running my first impact and social media workshop on Tuesday in Ghent, I’ve been working through some of the literature on impact. One book that’s proving more thought-provoking than I expected is Achieving Impact in Research by Pam Denicolo. It’s an edited collection that emerged from a symposium in Warwick in 2012 that I wish I’d attended.

In the first chapter Colin Chandler makes a case that the impact agenda is part of a paradigm shift in how research is viewed:


I have many problems with this account. Viewed by whom? How does the perception match up with the reality? How has this been contested? Are all these points of transition part of the same process? In reality, it’s obviously the case that many factors are at work here.

But as a sensitising device, I find this table extremely useful. Much of the work I’ve been doing in the last year (distraction about my distraction book notwithstanding) has been about trying to understand how social media is implicated in the changing character of research and academic labour.

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