Knowledge as Public Property : The Societal Relevance of Scientific Research

    Research output: Book / ReportBookAcademic


    Universities are funded by public means to a large extend. It’s reasonable to expect that society benefits from the results. For scientific research this means that it should at least have a potential societal impact. Universities and individual investigators must explicitly consider the societal relevance of their research activities. And also report on it explicitly. Core questions are: ‘Do we do the right things?’ and ‘Do we do them right?’ This implies that next to indicators of scientific quality, attention should be given to indicators of societal relevance. This dual aim is placed in the context of current evaluation practices of academical research. A proposal for 12 indicators of societal relevance is formulated, focussing on both social-cultural value and economic value. Examples given mainly concern the health and life sciences. The paper ends by discussing the central challenges in evaluating the societal relevance of scientific research.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherVrije Universiteit
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Publication series

    NameHigher Education Management and Policy


    • Indicators
    • Societal relevance
    • social values
    • the position of research


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