Research Impact Hub: the role of research in policy and public engagement

Free resources, commentary, and analysis

The US Capitol building with a backdrop of American hundred dollar bills

Welcome to our Research Impact Hub, where you'll find curated content on policy engagement, public engagement, and the role and contribution of publishers. 

Whether the pressing issue is climate change or COVID-19, studies show that community participation in world-changing endeavors is absolutely imperative to individual participation. Research that has world-changing impact needs to reach politicians and policymakers who have the power to educate and influence communities. As publishers, we help translate and disseminate this research, which provides solutions to the biggest challenges of our time.

While we're excited about the content on this Hub, it is here for you, not us, and intended to stimulate debate and discussion. If you have ideas or information to contribute, we'd love to share it here. Please contact us at

Related: Research Impact at Taylor & Francis

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Policy engagement


How to talk to policymakers about research

brown wooden chairs on blue and brown wooden floor

This report published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) looks at how to engage with policymakers effectively and prove the value of research. Based on interviews with former ministers, special advisers, and officials it considers common errors and makes recommendations on how to change perceptions or influence government.


Why open access is not enough – how research assessment reform can support research impact

by Liz Allen, Director of Strategic Initiatives, F1000, and Victoria Gardner, Director of Policy, Taylor & Francis

books on brown wooden shelves

Liz Allen and Victoria Gardner suggest adding an additional element to a theoretical framework proposed by Sarah Chaytor at University College London (UCL) to help realize the wider potential benefits of research.

Policy Note

Policy Note on addressing the challenges of making research accessible outside academia

by Dr. Laura Brassington, Policy Manager, HEPI, and Victoria Gardner, Director of Policy, Taylor & Francis

Image of heads depicted as cogs

In Why open access is not enough: Spreading the benefits of research (HEPI Policy Note 42) Dr. Laura Brassington, Policy Manager at HEPI, and our own Victoria Gardner, Director of Policy at Taylor & Francis provide solutions to the challenge of making research accessible outside of academia.


'In an open access world, would evidence-based policymaking be the norm?'

by Victoria Gardner, Director of Policy at Taylor & Francis

Graphic of an 'evidence' scale

At a HEPI/Taylor & Francis roundtable in June 2022, several experts, including representatives from higher education institutions, advocacy organizations, trade bodies, U.K. Government, funders, learned societies, and publishing, explored these questions: How do we make research more usable? How do we ensure research benefits all stakeholders? Is it enough simply to make the outputs of research openly available?


Answering the challenges to open access: The '5 Cs'

by Sarah Chaytor, Director of Research Strategy and Policy at UCL

The letter 'C' in various type faces

Open access does not automatically make research accessible. If policymakers are unable to find relevant research or to understand highly technical outputs, they cannot make use of the evidence being published. Sarah Chaytor provides a framework to help policy communities benefit from the increasing volume of research in order to deliver evidence-informed policy.


Open access: the end or the means?

by Victoria Gardner, Director of Policy, Taylor & Francis

Door of a modern house wide open to the outside

As open access becomes the norm, business, governments, and society face fewer barriers to accessing research, but are they always able to make use of what is available to them? What else could be done to realize the goals of making research accessible, efficient, and effective?


The open access opportunity: building the "Third Space"

by Matt Flinders, Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre at the University of Sheffield

Three dimensional render of brightly lit corridor of industrial facility

The "third space" is the sphere that exists between knowledge creation and knowledge mobilization. In this article, Matt Flinders argues that, without thinking about the architecture needed to facilitate effective mobility across this "third space," we risk any additional public investment in research, development, and innovation going to waste.

Public engagement


Are research-policy engagement activities informed by policy theory and evidence? 7 Challenges to the UK impact agenda

by Anna Hopkins, et al. in Policy Design and Practice

Man of color wearing a suit and holding a pen, contemplating if he will sign something

In this article, the authors ask "In what should we invest if we seek to maximize the impact of research?" and map the activities of 346 organizations investing in research-policy engagement to examine how their aims compare with their outcomes.


A future for public engagement with science in New Zealand

by R.A. Salmon and R.K. Priestly in Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand

New Zealand on the World Map

The New Zealand government has recently announced initiatives and aspirations for greater public engagement in science. In this paper, the authors explore how these initiatives and aspirations might be implemented and achieved in practice.


Centering culture in public engagement on climate change

by Debashish Munshi, Priya Kurian, Raven Cretney, Sandra L. Morrison, and Lyn Kathlene in Environmental Communication

Silhouette of people implying different cultures, ethnicities, or styles

Arguing for a greater emphasis on culture in climate communication, the authors of this article construct a culture-centered framework for a deliberative approach to public engagement on climate change. The framework has the potential to reframe environmental communication on climate change by highlighting the specific contexts of people’s lived experiences.


Evidence Week 2021 – the basis of public support for climate policies

Video of Joanna Depledge from Evidence Week 2021

In this video, shot for Evidence Week, Research Fellow Joanna Depledge from the Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy, and Natural Resource Governance (C-EENRG), and former editor of Climate Policy, discusses research showing how public acceptance led to the success of climate policies.

The role and contribution of publishers


Artificial intelligence, publishers, and the translation of research – a reflection on making research accessible outside of academia

by Philip Carpenter, Pro-Chancellor at the University of York

blue circuit board

Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

Photo by Umberto on Unsplash

In this post, Philip Carpenter shares some insights on how technology may help make research more accessible to non-specialist audiences.


Engaged research and publication in the humanities: what connects us?

by Katherine Burton, Routledge Journals (Humanities, Media and the Arts)

People with different skin colors holding gears of different colors like a puzzle

Finding ways to navigate an increasingly digitally complex research and publishing ecosystem can be a challenge, but it also presents a wonderful opportunity for those involved in scholarly communication to support new research practices. How might publishers work alongside scholars to support this evolution and respond to needs emerging now and in the future?


A typology of the publicly engaged humanities

by Daniel Fisher, National Humanities Alliance

Conversation, community, commenting, collaboration, contribution, all spelled out in wooden block letters

In this blog post, Daniel Fisher provides a summary of publicly engaged humanities work that Humanities for All has compiled from colleges and universities across the U.S. over the last 10 years. Examining 1,500 initiatives, Humanities for All has discovered five distinct types of engagement, which Fisher explains “serve as a structure for articulating the public value of the humanities to students, parents, administrators, and elected officials, (that) can articulate the range of ways in which the humanities are addressing society’s pressing concerns, broadening perceptions of what humanities work can involve and impact."

Working paper

Public humanities and publication: publishing and the Public Humanities Working Group

by Kath Burton, Daniel Fisher

Crowd of people of diverse appearances, skin tones, and ages

In this working paper, Kath Burton and Daniel Fisher explore the challenges associated with the publication of publicly engaged work in the humanities, and provide model practices to illustrate how publicly engaged work can ultimately lead to successful publication and feed into institutional credit and reward mechanisms.

Our partners

The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) is the UK’s only think tank focusing exclusively on higher education.

Established in 2002, HEPI is a UK-wide, independent, and non-partisan organization funded by organizations and universities that wish to see a vibrant higher education debate. HEPI is playing a key role in shaping the debate through evidence around the future development of higher education in the UK.

HEPI’s objectives are to promote research into and understanding of all aspects of higher education and to disseminate the useful results of such research for the education and benefit of policy makers and the general public in the UK.

We're thrilled to be partners with HEPI in order to work with their extensive network of thought leaders and policy advisors on solutions to global challenges.

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The European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH) is the largest advocacy and science policy organization for the social sciences and humanities in Europe.

EASSH aims to promote and strengthen the social sciences and humanities in Europe, providing channels and platforms for effectively communicating expertise on policy, programs, and results to decision makers and public officials.

The alliance has over 65 member organizations including a wide range of disciplinary areas, stakeholders, and universities from across Europe - and encompassing over 100,000 researchers.

Taylor & Francis works with EASSH to bring focused expertise from across the social sciences and humanities to bear on public debate, so as to strengthen European research and improve interactions among public and private partners.

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Founded in 2002, Sense about Science is an independent charity that challenges misrepresentation of science and evidence in public life. They advocate openness and honesty about research, and ensure the public interest in sound science and evidence is recognized in public debates and policymaking.

We're pleased to partner with Sense about Science to promote sound science and evidence in public debates and policymaking.


Every researcher wants their work to have an impact, whether that’s in the world of academia, in society, or both. Read our guide to creating, capturing, and evaluating the impact of research.

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Social justice and sustainability

Find out about the content we publish, commitments we've made, and initiatives we support related to social justice and sustainability: