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Working Paper « Measuring the Political Impact of Science »

Auteurs : Ariane Gaunand, Laurence Colinet, Mireille Matt, Pierre-Benoit Joly

Résumé : The production of scientific knowledge is expected to contribute to public policy in a variety of ways; however, methods of assessment of the impact of research on policy are underdeveloped.
This paper proposes an original methodology to assess the political impact of research. It builds a rating scale based on the submission to expert judgment of a set of standardized innovation case studies. Our position regarding political impact assessment is novel: 1) we do not account for the impact of policy implementation; 2) we consider the political impact of all types of research results rather than only policy-oriented research; 3) we adopt a broad definition of political impact which goes beyond instrumental changes. The resulting metric uses a 1 to 5 scale to reveal the intensity of the political impact of research, using generic criteria associated to each rating level. This rating scale can be used to objectify the political impact of self-assessed case studies. We tested the robustness of our rating scale in routine impact assessments of new cases. We believe that the proposed scale can be used to reveal the types of mechanisms involved in the political impact at program portfolio or research organization level based on regular rating of additional case studies

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