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Mirek Dymitrow

Postdoctoral fellow

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What is the research impact of (the ideal of) scientific truth?

Author

  • Rene Brauer
  • Mirek Dymitrow
  • Filipe Worsdell
  • John Walsh

Summary, in English

This conceptual paper addresses how the emergent impact agenda is slowly but surely changing the normative framework of modern science. In order to understand such a cultural shift, we draw a chronology around the evaluation regime of research impact and identify a causal mechanism that changes the disciplinary structure of the research ecosystem. We draw upon a sociological model of scientific knowledge production that allows us to contrast and discuss how ‘impact facts’ mimic the process of scientific knowledge creation but are geared towards a different end. Such an explicit emphasis on societal contribution not only propositions a different purpose for research, but also changes the very logic of research along its entire construction. Our argument is that an emphasis on the advancement of knowledge, as opposed to impact, maintains innovation and pre-empts social tensions. The contribution of our paper is outlining the societal influence of the scientific ideal of truth, alongside identifying and articulating the unintended consequences around the impact agenda as the emerging impact or starve paradigm. We provide a sociological model of how this new paradigm mimics the creation of scientific facts, nevertheless as it geared towards a different end, it hermetically seals itself from criticism. We conclude that only with an explicit acknowledgement of the adverse potential of the impact agenda is it possible to maintain science’s beneficial impact upon society.

Publishing year

2021-09-25

Language

English

Pages

113-136

Publication/Series

Journal of Education Culture and Society

Volume

12

Issue

2

Document type

Journal article

Topic

  • Ethics
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology

Keywords

  • research impact
  • unintended consequences
  • sociology of science
  • ethics
  • evolutionary thinking

Status

Published

ISBN/ISSN/Other

  • ISSN: 2081-1640