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Research Impact : Outputs and Activities

This guide provides guidance on scholarly and research impact for authors and investigators.

What are Scholarly Outputs and Activities?

Scholarly/research outputs and activities represent the various outputs and activities created or executed by scholars and investigators in the course of their academic and/or research efforts.

One common output is in the form of scholarly publications which are defined by Washington University as:

". . . articles, abstracts, presentations at professional meetings and grant applications, [that] provide the main vehicle to disseminate findings, thoughts, and analysis to the scientific, academic, and lay communities. For academic activities to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, they must be published in sufficient detail and accuracy to enable others to understand and elaborate the results. For the authors of such work, successful publication improves opportunities for academic funding and promotion while enhancing scientific and scholarly achievement and repute."

Examples of activities include: editorial board memberships, leadership in professional societies, meeting organizer, consultative efforts, contributions to successful grant applications, invited talks and presentations, admininstrative roles, contribution of service to a clinical laboratory program, to name a few. For more examples of activities, see Washington University School of Medicine Appointments & Promotions Guidelines and Requirements or the "Examples of Outputs and Activities" box below. Also of interest is Table 1 in the "Research impact: We need negative metrics too" work.

Tracking your research outputs and activities is key to being able to document the impact of your research. One starting point for telling a story about your research impact is your publications. Advances in digital technology afford numerous avenues for scholars to not only disseminate research findings but also to document the diffusion of their research. The capacity to measure and report tangible outcomes can be used for a variety of purposes and tailored for various audiences ranging from the layperson, physicians, investigators, organizations, and funding agencies. Publication data can be used to craft a compelling narrative about your impact. See Quantifying the Impact of My Publications for examples of how to tell a story using publication data.

Another tip is to utilize various means of disseminating your research. See Strategies for Enhancing Research Impact for more information.

Examples of Outputs and Activities