Understanding the Societal Impact of Humanities Scholarship: Past, Current and Future Research

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The critical problem for understanding the societal impact of humanities scholarship is that we currently have no satisfactory tools for understanding how wider social impacts occur and, by implication, very few guidelines for stimulating a reflexive dialogue about the influence of the humanities in society. An important assumption in this paper is that impact should be studied both from conceptual, qualitative and quantitative perspectives. Any approach that focuses merely on scientific outputs (such as publications or citations) or that relies on purely bibliometric indicators will result in an incomplete and hence misleading picture of research outcomes and their causality. In this paper, I explore how the emerging research impact agenda is embarking on the humanities and which tools and frameworks are available for tracing and mapping the impact of humanities breakthroughs in society. Examining both quantitative and qualitative tools, the paper argues that we need a better and more comprehensive understanding of the role the humanities as part of a wider web of societal institutions, networks, and agents. Granted that the impact of humanities breakthroughs cannot be located at clearly demarcated or specified units, but takes place along a continuum of dynamic exchanges among multiple agents and institutions, I introduce the term “dynamic artifacts” as the main vehicle for understanding research impact in the humanities. Such artifacts consist of datasets, ideas, analyses, performances or engagement but they rarely take the form of “fixed artifacts” such as patents, intellectual property, contracts or documents trails, which hitherto has been the standard for assessing scientific breakthroughs. Having established this distinction between fixed and dynamic artifacts the paper concludes by showing how the impact of humanities can be traced by utilizing different methods such as impact narratives, altmetrics, network analysis, co-creation and ethnographic fieldwork.
TitelThe Making of the Humanities Confence V : 5-7 October 2016, Johns Hopkins University
Antal sider1
UdgivelsesstedBaltimore, Maryland
Publikationsdato6 okt. 2016
StatusUdgivet - 6 okt. 2016
BegivenhedThe Making of Humanities V - Baltimore, USA
Varighed: 5 okt. 20167 okt. 2016
Konferencens nummer: V


KonferenceThe Making of Humanities V
Nummer V
By Baltimore

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