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 Tuesday, 09 November 2010 – Written by Giovanni Bert   

SISOB project (extended abstract)

Traditionally, the quality of research has been evaluated using peer review (prior to publication) and bibliometric indicators (after publication). These practices implicitly suggest that the aim of research is to satisfy the values and needs of the research community, rather than the values and needs of society as a whole. Yet without effective tools for predicting and measuring the true social impact of research this criticism remains empty.

The strategic goal of SISOB is to develop novel tools making it possible to measure and predict the social
impact of research. More specifically, SISOB will measure and predict one specific aspect of this impact: the social appropriation of scientific knowledge (how economic and social actors take research results and use them to produce new products, new services and new ideas). This process is the product of complex interactions within and between communities (of scientists, journalists, industrial and political decision makers and consumers) organized into multiple, intersecting “social networks”, each with their own specific topologies.


To achieve its strategic goal, SISOB will pursue several specific objectives:

  • Create a general framework modelling the actors, relationships, communities and emergent networks involved in the production of scientific research, in the dissemination of research results and in the translation of these results into products, services and socially important ideas.
  • Design and implement tools and indicators which make it possible to automatically collect, analyze and visually represent data describing the actors and their interactions.
  • Create data-driven models of specific actors, communities and networks relevant to three case studies.
  • Use the tools and indicators developed to collect and analyze data relevant to the three case studies.
  • Use the results from these studies to validate the methods and tools developed by the project.
  • Implement, and release in open source, a platform for the capture and analysis of social network data relevant to measuring the social impact of science.

BRICK researchers will support the development of the SISOB project’s methodology by providing empirical
investigations into the relationship between researchers mobility,  research activities and social impact.
The case studies will focus on the effects of mobility (of a sample of researchers based in different countries and involved in different disciplines, thus increasing the generality of the results) on the performance of research activities measured according to several dimensions of social impact. They will implement the methodologies developed in the project to assess how researchers’ mobility fosters the creation of social networks (with different topologies) and how this in turn affects research performance and impact. They will produce statistical indicators about the relation between mobility and research productivity and career development. The objective is to find objective patterns based on mobility and to indentify "best practices" for the evolution of scientific communities.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 13:02