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Understanding Research Impact in Law: The REF and Engagement with UK Governments

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JournalKing's Law Journal
DateSubmitted - Oct 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Dec 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 21 Jan 2019
Issue number3
Volume29
Number of pages33
Pages (from-to)437-469
Early online date21/01/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Understanding how impact occurs is critical if research is to effectively inform law, policy and practice. Existing scholarship on impact has theorised the way impact occurs, but there is a dearth of information about practice, especially in law. This article examines the pathways to impact that legal scholars experience, and specifically focuses on the concept of engagement. Studying the REF 2014 data and, through surveys of researchers named in case studies and research directors in UK law schools, the article explores how researchers engage with UK governments, providing insights into access, processes, challenges and resources. It shows that successful engagement and impact in government is far more dependent on chance than is appropriate or necessary and contests the dominance of the ‘research impact’ model, arguing that ‘researcher impact’ provides a better framework. The results suggest that the enhancement of impact requires a better understanding of the interaction underpinning it.

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© 2019 School of Law, King’s College London. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

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