27 September 2019
Stumbled over …
À great blog post on the LSE Impact Blog by Toby Green: Publication is not enough, to generate impact you need to campaign. Starting from the observation that the funders of research increasingly place value on the impact that research will make. He makes the case for and provides examples that:
(…) impact isn’t necessarily having lots of downloads or traffic to a website, impact can also be a directed process to make someone, the right someone, take action.Toby Green
I can not agree more! But one huge challenge to this remains unanswered: How to measure this impact? (And thus make the case for the funders.) I have coordinated various “impact operations“, especially for the Earth System Governance Project in the process of developing the SDGs. I know that this made quite a few people and institutions take action based on or guided by the research findings I pushed – but me knowing is not a valid metric for a funder.
There is a reason why so many NGO’s in the UN processes are so focused on getting their keywords in a UN text whether it makes sense or not (more often not). That way there is at least a metric of success for them to show their funders or supporters. For NGOs, creating impact is at the core of their mandate. For science it is not:
I can hear many of you now: “but I’m too busy to promote my papers”. Let’s put this in context. If you’ve spent many months – even years – gathering data, writing up the results and getting a paper through the publishing process, isn’t it worth spending time on making sure your findings reach beyond your immediate peer group?Toby Green
Again, could not agree more – BUT – the promotion of the research findings, the creation of impact, does not have to be done by the researcher alone, or at all. There are boundary persons and organisations who can do this as well and maybe even more effectively.
(Hint: including me. If you have governance of and for sustainable development research and want to make an impact, you want a campaign: drop me an email!).
Sustainable Development and the Digital Revolution
There seems to be an aggregation of interest and efforts around the role of digitalisation in (governance of) sustainable development. It is not a new issue, but it is gaining momentum in the mainstream. A prominent new initiative launched this week in the framework of the SDG Summit, is the ‘Our Common Digital Future’ – a Charter for a Sustainable Digital Age, building on the landmark WBGU report Towards our Common Digital Future.
The charter is intended to serve as a system of principles, objectives and standards for the international community and to link digital change with the necessary global sustainability perspective.‘Our Common Digital Future’ – a Charter for a Sustainable Digital Age
The International Science Council Action Plan 2019-2021 also includes the Digital Revolution as one of its four domains (see my Notes #5). The digitalisation will also impact research practice, for instance on how literature review or research synthesis will be done. An exciting issue that I will certainly frequently come back to in my Notes.
I am currently reviewing a paper on climate governance and distributed ledger technologies which elaborates on the issue from a solid social science basis. Will share the publication if and when published. Also, I am involved in a project on The Paris Score. A Transactional Data Approach. This is not a scientific project but rather a fascinating joint effort of programmers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, scientists, and artists.
- Breuer, Anita, Julia Leininger, Jale Tosun. 2019. Integrated policymaking: choosing an institutional design for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Discussion Paper 14/2019. Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). Another study reflecting on the national governance architecture for advancing the SDGs. Related reading to the study I co-authored on Europe’s approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, and valuable background for the Global Forum for National SDG Advisory Bodies.
- Open Europe. Policies, reforms and achievements in EU science and innovation 2014-2019 under EU Commissioner Carlos Moedas: open innovation, open science, open to the world.
- Civil society perceptions: how well are we doing in running Voluntary National Reviews and implementing the 2030 Agenda? Together 2030 Blog, 25 September 2019.
- Novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper, Nature, 26 September 2019.
- Universities and the future of Europe, LERU Briefing Paper. I am writing an opinion-piece on universities and the SDGs in which I will extensively reference this paper.