Research Impact

Research Impact Categories and Example of Relevant Indicators

There are wide variations in the impacts of research across different disciplines, as well as in the indicators used to measure them. Below are some examples. This list is not comprehensive and other categories of impacts and examples of indicators could be included in your description.

(List adapted from sources at end of page.)

Academic: bibliometric indicators, article preprints, datasets, software, protocols, prizes and awards, post-publication peer-review, acknowledgements, etc.

Capacity: experiential learning/research opportunities for students, integration of research as a learning outcome, technology transfers, etc.

Community: number and quality of partnerships with community groups, requests for consultancy/advice from community groups, etc.

Culture: language revitalization, increases in the number of people with access to cultural production, increased cultural literacy etc.

Decolonization: deconstructing Eurocentric biases, working with Indigenous communities to support Traditional Knowledge or Indigenous ways of knowing, advancing theories and practices of decolonization, centring Blackness etc.

Economy: advisory roles and board memberships, revenues opportunities and cost savings in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors resulting from research applied in practice, income derived from patents, patent licensing, copyright and trademarks, consulting contracts cost savings, measurable increases in productivity, etc.

Environment: improvement in indicators of pollutions, development of indicators of the state of ecosystems, forecasting of climate change impacts, etc.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI): contributions to EDI in the research ecosystem, inclusion of EDI considerations in research design and outputs, etc. 

Governance: invitations to participate as an expert witness or advisor, commissioned reports, citations in government documents, clear influence on adopted policies, contributions guidelines, regulations, laws, standards and/or practice, etc.

Health: Informing clinical guidelines and recommendations or change in practice, pharmaceutical advances, etc.

Innovation: development of new technologies, improvements in well-known technologies, partnerships with industry, start-ups, etc.

Media: media coverage of research, media engagement, research-related social media, etc.

Public: Knowledge sharing or translation with the public or other specialists, engagement of the public at events, etc.

Scholarly Service: community service that leverages expertise, such as membership on scientific or advisory committees or journal editorships, initiating or strengthening scholarly partnerships or collaborations, etc.

Society: increases in reported quality of life, supporting human rights, helping remote communities access services, etc.

Tools: datasets, software, etc..

This list was adapted from the following sources:

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