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The Under-Reporting Of Research Impact

For researchers to compete strongly for federal funds, the benefits from their work need to receive full accounting and be articulated clearly. The impending implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) [Public Law 103-62] has begun to place even more emphasis on this research accounting requirement. Unfortunately, the present informal "system" for tracking and disseminating research products and downstream impacts has many deficiencies, resulting in a gross under

Ronald Kostoff

For researchers to compete strongly for federal funds, the benefits from their work need to receive full accounting and be articulated clearly. The impending implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) [Public Law 103-62] has begun to place even more emphasis on this research accounting requirement. Unfortunately, the present informal "system" for tracking and disseminating research products and downstream impacts has many deficiencies, resulting in a gross under-reporting of the broad range of research products, benefits, and outcomes.

Historically, there has been no central mechanism for documenting impacts, and no collective will among the federal agencies and their industrial counterparts to expend the resources necessary for a full accounting of benefits. This problem is compounded by the lack of universal agreement on the definitions and scopes of research impacts, outcomes, and benefits; the types of studies necessary to ascertain and document these benefits; the total data...

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