Impact is about looking at the effects a piece of research has had. There are many different ways your research could have an impact depending on the nature of the work. Some key terms and areas of impact are:
Different organizations and funders are interested in different areas of impact, bringing together one or many of these, and possibly others. Check the definition of research impact on your institution’s website and consider which areas of impact are important to you.
In the UK, for example, the REF (Research Excellence Framework) emphasizes the cultural or societal aspect, defining impact as “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia”.
Governments providing public funding strive to ensure that research of the highest quality is produced, and that research can demonstrate a clear positive contribution to society. Being able to demonstrate impact allows them to continue to justify providing funding to research in this way.
For example, the REF (Research Excellence Framework) is the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK HE institutions. Impact will be worth 25% in the REF2021 assessment which is used to allocate funding of research in the UK. Find out more about the Research Excellence Framework.
Most funding councils and bodies ask for evidence of impact in their funding applications to help make sure that research they’re investing in delivers as many benefits as possible.
Demonstrating the impact of research can help you develop your career as a researcher, whether that be increasing your academic profile, or providing evidence of impact when applying for grants or positions that will allow you to take your career to the next step.
Some examples of impact you might explore are:
If you’re applying for an academic position, Vitae have some useful guidance on creating an academic CV, with ideas on how you might document impact activities on there as well as examples of CV’s from other researchers.
As a researcher, your research has the potential to positively influence the world we live in. If you want to be inspired by how your research can make a difference, listen to our podcast series ‘How Researchers Changed the World’ to hear stories and case-studies from researchers whose research has made a difference.
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A good title is specific and includes key words that readers might be searching for. Try to make it understandable to a reader from outside your field and, where possible, avoid abbreviations, formulae, and numbers.
Selecting relevant keywords for your research paper will help others find your research quickly and accurately. Think of them as labels for your article. When you submit your article, you’ll be asked to provide keywords. These will be used to index your article on Taylor & Francis Online and on search engines such as Google Scholar™.
Selecting relevant keywords is one technique for optimizing your paper for search engines (i.e. making it more searchable online), but there are other things you can do, like including reputable external links to build connections online.
Promoting your research article can help you increase your impact as a researcher. It can encourage your peers to use your work, generate greater awareness of it, and develop your professional profile and reputation. There are many different tools and approaches for doing this, so here are some ideas to get you started:
Increasingly researchers are turning to social channels to help share their research. As a first step, check to see which platform your peers and intended readership are using and engaging with the most – you don’t need to be active on all the channels. Here are some quick tips for promoting your article on some of the key social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn):
There’s a range of research sharing and networking sites out there that many researchers take advantage of to share their research and raise their profile. Some of the common ones that you might be familiar with are ResearchGate, Mendeley, Academia.edu and Loop.
If you have a profile on any of these platforms, then add a link to your article on your profile. Not sure which version you can post? Find out how you can share your work.
Google Scholar is a popular search engine for finding scholarly literature, so adding your articles and publications to your Google Scholar profile can help drive the readership of your work. Be sure to make your profile ‘public’ when you create it.
Hone your writing skills by distilling a paper or thought process into a brief, readable blog post (while at the same time driving the impact of your work).
Read our how-to guide for writing an academic blog post, including how to structure it and examples.
A video abstract lets you introduce readers to your article in your own words, telling others why they should read your research.
These short videos (three minutes or less) are published alongside the text abstract on Taylor & Francis Online and are an increasingly popular way of getting others to engage with published research, increasing the visibility of your work.
An eprint is a free, online link to an author’s article sent to all authors who publish in a subscription-based Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal as soon as their article is published. Authors are sent the link via email and can access it at any time from Authored Works, as well as check how many they’ve used.
Attending and presenting at conferences can help make other researchers more aware of your work. We’ve put together a guide for how to get the most out of academic conferences, including how to present at conferences for maximum impact.
Check your institution has a subscription to the journal you published in. If not, recommend it for the next subscription year. Get your students reading and talking about your article. How? Add it, or the journal it’s included in, to your course’s essential reading list.
Why not include a link to your research in your email signature, alerting everyone you email to your latest article? Many of the people you contact professionally are likely to be working in the same or similar fields as you. This is a quick and easy way to tell them you’re published.
If you’d like a banner to add to the bottom of your emails, then just fill out a banner request form and we’ll create one for you.
Lots of people browsing your institutional and departmental websites? Use this to your advantage by adding a link on your departmental profile page, directing people to your latest article.
Read insights from across the research community on some of the ways researchers are increasing the impact of their work:
If you’re publishing in a Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal, there are many ways you can share your work with colleagues and peers. Before sharing your article, it is important to understand the options available for different versions of your article:
All authors who publish in a subscription-based Taylor & Francis or Routledge journal will get 50 free eprints (a free online link to your article) to share with interested readers. From sharing on social media to adding to your institutional webpage, there are lots of ways you can share your eprints to boost your article visibility.
Authored works is our dedicated center for all authors who have published in a Taylor & Francis journal. Authored works is where you can download the PDF or view the HTML of your article, get your free eprint link to share with friends and colleagues, check the latest download figures, and more.
To access your Authored works, simply log in to Taylor & Francis Online, and you’ll see Authored works as an option in the left-hand menu. All the articles you have published on Taylor & Francis Online will be listed here, with their associated readership and citation data. You can also keep track of how many free eprints you have left, and easily post an eprint directly to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn using the social share buttons.
We offer a range of open access options. You can either choose to publish “gold” OA or make your article available via “green” OA options.
There are a lot of metrics that can allow you to measure impact, but knowing what each one can tell you and how to interpret the data can be challenging. We’ve put together some resources to help you to use and understand these metrics, and most importantly, how to use them in combination to build a full picture of the impact your research has had.
Each individual article you publish will accrue data about how many times it has been downloaded, cited, and talked about or referenced outside of the traditional channels.
Your work contributes to, and can benefit from, the impact potential of the journal you publish in. The impact profile of a journal might be an important consideration for you when choosing where to publish.
Our extensive guide to journal-level metrics will help you to learn more about these metrics, including weighing up the pros and cons.
Research communication, sometimes called ‘science communication’, involves communicating your research in an engaging and understandable way to those outside of academia. But it goes beyond just communicating your final article or results, it’s about managing communication with stakeholders throughout the entire research process. As a Sense about Science guide recommends, ‘Involve the public. And involve them early’.
Research communication is important for several reasons, not least because it’s about giving back to society and demonstrating the value of research that public funds often support.
“I think that decision makers and society in general needs to have access to what we do at a level that they can understand, and that they can connect the dots of why it is important to support the scientific and the research enterprise.”
Gabby Silberman, Director General of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology
The winners of the Vitae 3 Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) are researchers who have mastered the art of research communication. Read advice from previous 3MT® winners, and watch their award-winning presentations.
“Research and policy should be the best of friends. With university researchers under increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of their work, and politicians requiring evidence to inform their policies and convince the public they’re making the best decisions, warm feelings should be mutual – research matters to policymaking, and policy making influences research.”
Despite its importance, engaging with policymakers is not straightforward and there isn’t one clear route for doing it. So, we’ve put together some tips for how you might approach it.
If you want to work with UK parliamentarians then read our guide, ‘Getting your research into the UK Parliament‘, featuring expert tips from POST (Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology) on how to get your research policy-ready for UK government.
There’s also a wealth of useful advice on the Research impact at UK Parliament hub.
If you think your research is relevant to EU policy, then read our guide ‘Getting your research into the European Parliament’. Different routes into the European Parliament include:
Not all research articles may the grab the attention of a busy and increasingly-pressured journalist however, and some do have a better chance of piquing their interest than others.
Read our step-by-step guide which explains why and how you can work with the media to increase your research impact.
One of the biggest barriers we hear from authors who feel cautious about working with the media is they are concerned that press activity will attract criticism around their article. If you (or someone you know) do become a victim of online harassment, read the updated advice from the Science Media Centre for support and tips, including how to deal with social media harassment.