Universities and public research institutes are expected to be effective, both scholarly and in society, in ever more complex networks. How to live up to these expectations, and how to assess efforts and effects?

This paper is a good introduction to the Contextual Response Analysis

In this paper, Jack Spaapen (KNAW) and I write about these challenges and offer a road forward. First, if multiple audiences are supposed to be addressed, such as societal stakeholdes as well as academic peers, it is less sensible to look at rankings for impacts and subsequent comparisons and benchmarking of research units. As we show, the diversity of the stakeholders, and the multifaceted characteristics of the communication resist such comparison.

The paper then shows the power and possibilities of a Contextual Response Analysis, a method to trace the effects of research among varied audiences. The method serves two purposes at least. It aims at showing the uptake of research results in the societal context of research groups. And, it intends to help researchers to write up their societal impact in a more convincing way.

Presented at the Open Evaluation conference in Vienna, November 2016 and published in fteval Journal for Research and Technology Policy Evaluation, 44, september 2017