Research Topic

Measuring the Societal Impact of Science

About this Research Topic

Given the importance of research outputs and the amount of public fund allocated to scientific and research developments in each society, science should not only serve scientists but it should also influence and contribute to changes in every aspect of the society including economy, health, education, environment, and culture. Societal impact is the umbrella term used to define all types of impact that research can have on different areas of society. While the scientific impact of research has been widely researched and evaluated, the research on the societal impact of research and how to measure it properly is scarce.

While citation metrics are well-known for measuring the impact of research, they are only limited to scientific interactions and measuring how research is used by other scientists in their future projects and scientific communications. Thus, citations are not appropriate for measuring the societal impact of research. Instead, new ways and metrics are required. Altmetrics or social media metrics have been proposed for taking on this role and measuring the societal impact of research. However, their reliability and applicability in measuring the impact that research may have on society is yet a matter of debate. Hence, more research is needed to investigate appropriate ways and tools to measure the societal changes made by research and to determine the best communication channels and strategies to engage a broader audience, especially the general public, in scientific outputs.

This Research Topic aims to bring together perspectives of practitioners, technologists, publishers, and researchers on the challenges and opportunities associated with the societal impact of research and the tools for measuring it. We invite manuscripts that address, but are not limited to the following themes:
• The impact of science on different aspects of society
• Challenges and issues in measuring societal impact of science
• New data sources for measuring societal impact of science
• Public engagement in science
• The importance of an appropriate science communication system for measuring impact and change
• Social media metrics/altmetrics and their issues (esp. gaming and manipulation)


Keywords: Societal impact, Social media metrics, Altmetrics, Public engagement in science, Social media and web technologies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Given the importance of research outputs and the amount of public fund allocated to scientific and research developments in each society, science should not only serve scientists but it should also influence and contribute to changes in every aspect of the society including economy, health, education, environment, and culture. Societal impact is the umbrella term used to define all types of impact that research can have on different areas of society. While the scientific impact of research has been widely researched and evaluated, the research on the societal impact of research and how to measure it properly is scarce.

While citation metrics are well-known for measuring the impact of research, they are only limited to scientific interactions and measuring how research is used by other scientists in their future projects and scientific communications. Thus, citations are not appropriate for measuring the societal impact of research. Instead, new ways and metrics are required. Altmetrics or social media metrics have been proposed for taking on this role and measuring the societal impact of research. However, their reliability and applicability in measuring the impact that research may have on society is yet a matter of debate. Hence, more research is needed to investigate appropriate ways and tools to measure the societal changes made by research and to determine the best communication channels and strategies to engage a broader audience, especially the general public, in scientific outputs.

This Research Topic aims to bring together perspectives of practitioners, technologists, publishers, and researchers on the challenges and opportunities associated with the societal impact of research and the tools for measuring it. We invite manuscripts that address, but are not limited to the following themes:
• The impact of science on different aspects of society
• Challenges and issues in measuring societal impact of science
• New data sources for measuring societal impact of science
• Public engagement in science
• The importance of an appropriate science communication system for measuring impact and change
• Social media metrics/altmetrics and their issues (esp. gaming and manipulation)


Keywords: Societal impact, Social media metrics, Altmetrics, Public engagement in science, Social media and web technologies


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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