At the same time as the productivity of academics have become more formalized and institutionalized with increasing emphasis on counting publications in high-ranking journals, citations, h-index, and so on, there is an increased demand on academics to contribute to what is referred to as societal value, societal relevance, public value, societal impact, and/or similar phenomena. This editorial is an attempt to provide an overview and hopefully a clarification. We propose to use the concept ‘societal value’ as the overarching concept. This can be achieved only if the research has ‘societal relevance’ and if it has ‘societal impact’. These two sub-components of societal value measure different qualities, but they are dependent on each other and the total absence of one of them results in no societal value. In fact, we shall argue that societal value is the multiplum of societal relevance and societal impact. After defining societal relevance and societal impact, we describe how to identify relevant societal value, as well as how to measure the extent to which an individual or an organization might contribute to societal value. Following that, we suggest a number of ways to increase the societal value of academic research. Finally, we reflect on the role of academic journals and their editors in the societal value agenda.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 11. June 2020
- Societal impact
- Societal relevance
- Societal value