Researcher engagement in policy deemed societally beneficial yet unrewarded
- Subject Areas
- Science and Medical Education, Science Policy
- motivation, science policy engagement, institutional reward, social benefit of research
- © 2018 Singh et al.
- This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ Preprints) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
- Cite this article
- 2018. Researcher engagement in policy deemed societally beneficial yet unrewarded. PeerJ Preprints 6:e26672v2 https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.26672v2
Public support for research depends, in part, on the eventual societal benefits from research. Maintaining that support likely requires sustained engagement between the research community and the broader public. Yet, there is little organized effort to evaluate and reward such engagement in addition to research and teaching activities. Using data from an international survey of 1092 researchers (634 established researchers and 458 students) in 55 countries and 315 research institutions, we find that institutional recognition of engagement activities is perceived as being undervalued relative to its societal benefit. Many researchers report that their institutions would not reward engagement activities despite mission statements promoting engagement. Further, those institutions that actually measure engagement activities are perceived to do so in a limited capacity (respondents perceived that on average, 2 of the 7 dimensions of engagement we considered were reflected in evaluations). Most researchers are strongly motivated to engage for selfless reasons, which suggests that strong self-oriented incentives may have unintended effects. Perhaps by recognizing the important engagement activities of researchers, institutions can better achieve their institutional missions and bolster the crucial contributions of researchers to society.
This version has updated author information.