Understanding researchers' openness to external parties influencing academic research

Julia Olmos-Penuela, Paul Stephen Benneworth, Elena Castro-Martínez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

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Ambiguity surrounding the effect of external engagement on academic research has raised questions about what motivates researchers to collaborate with third parties. This paper contributes to this debate by progressing beyond the idea that researchers engage with society simply because of direct benefits. We argue that what matters for society is research that can be absorbed by users. We define 'openness' as a willingness by researchers to make research more usable by external partners by responding to external influences in their own research activities. We ask what kinds of characteristics define those researchers who are most 'open' to creating usable knowledge. Our empirical study analyses a sample of 1583 researchers working at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). Results demonstrate that it is personal factors (primarily academic identity and past experience) that determine researchers' 'openness' (to societal involvement). The paper concludes that policies to envourage external engagement should focus on both the academic formation stage and ongoing opportunities to engage with third parties alongside providing direct incentives and benefits within individual projects and funding programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEU-SPRI Conference 2014: Science and innovation policy: dynamics, challenges, responsibility and practice, Manchester, 18th-20th June 2014
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherThe Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2014
EventEu-SPRI Annual Conference 2014: Science and Innovation Policy: Dynamics, Challenges, Responsibility and Practice - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Jun 201420 Jun 2014

Publication series

PublisherThe Manchester Institute of Innovation Research


ConferenceEu-SPRI Annual Conference 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • IR-97679
  • METIS-310536


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