Academic Research Impact Ecosystem Theory

What happens when you combine?

(1) Installation Theory – A synthetic theory to explain how humans construct systems that support and format individual behavior, by Saadi Lahlou,

(2) Theory of Change (TOC),

(3) Logic models, and

(4) Our working inclusive definition of Academic Research Impact – A marked positive, negative, and (in theory neutral) immediate, future, or far future effect or influence that happens inside the Academy and across disciplines on conceptual/theoretical understanding, expenditures, methods, applications, instruments, bibliometrics, attitudes, beliefs, values, perceptions, or capacity building and outside of the Academy on quality of life, health, economy, society/social, environments, policies, attitudes, beliefs, values, perceptions, services, cultures, laws, or technologies that is affiliated, associated, or in combination with, done through or generated as a result of direct and indirect academic research inputs, outputs, and mid-intermediate-long-term outcomes that are either aggregated or disaggregated in conjunction with different types and intensities of engagement at the individual, community, local, state, regional, national, and global level involving a variety of people, stakeholders, and end users.

You get a working Academic Research Impact Ecosystem Theory (picture below and still a work-in-progress) that helps: one to consider what is needed when thinking about Academic Research Impact Management; predict system to individual research impact behavior; plan Academic Research Impact; research impact accountability; and characterizing how Academic Research Impact progresses at an individual, micro, meso, and macro-level.

More to come soon!

Definition of Public Facing

In an Economy of Knowledge Scarcity

Public facing was defined as being available to the general public. The term refers to any free or paid application or system that the public can access. Also called “customer facing,” information systems often comprise a public-facing component as well as a private side that is available only to the internal staff.

However in an Economy of Knowledge Abundance

“Public Facing” is when an individual/s, group, organization, entity, corporation, or University decides through their procedures, actions, professional responsibilities, and policies to have and encourage better: relationships; interactions; sharing; attention; mobilization; and communication (could be with the help of others) so that they can be reciprocally involved and open to and with the public.

Knowledge, Dissemination, the University, and the Economy of Knowledge Abundance

At some point in time (I hope it will be sooner than later) Universities (those in them) will have to reconsider how they are approaching the public in terms of their values, practices, and ideologies when it comes to knowledge dissemination.

Knowledge dissemination is a phrase that is used ubiquitously across the academic landscape. Originally, knowledge dissemination practices were based on the pre-Knowledge Abundance Economy Era or the Era of Knowledge Scarcity. In the Era of Knowledge Scarcity, Universities were considered by many to be a beacon of knowledge and thus it was imperative that Universities and the individuals in them set up mechanisms to provide knowledge to the public.

As more knowledge was provided and technological acuity increased it prompted the use and development of technological “Knowledge Systems”, (a.k.a. knowledge-based systems) – especially in the context of knowledge management (KM). In this context, a knowledge-base is defined as a collection of complex structured and unstructured information used by a computer system. This term, knowledge base (KB), was originally employed in connection with expert systems (a.k.a. experts).

So, it is not surprising to hear in Academic circles KB being used frequently in this way – “That we, individuals in the University, are contributing to the knowledge base”. Which is an approach that works very well within the context of traditional academic knowledge dissemination practices and ideology.

From an Academic perspective, there is a knowledge base/s and someone in the Academy will add to it. Again, this assumes that knowledge is stable, knowledge is wanted or needed, and that it is valued by the public.

If you are interested and want to read more click here.


Copyright and Citation of Work: Author holds copyright. This is an open access print distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This paper is a work in progress and the author has made modifications to original work.

Citation for Original Work: Thompson, M. (2018). Knowledge and the Problem With the Practice of University Knowledge Dissemination to the Public in the Era of Knowledge Abundance. Authorea Repository. DOI: 10.22541/au.152993669.97084818.


A Research-Based Understanding and Approach to Broader Impacts

At some point in time, if we ever want to move past, “hear-say”, when it comes to broader impacts, we have to start treating broader impacts just like any other field and profession.

This means to hold ourselves accountable to a professional standard and stop with the anecdotal evidence and look at all of the data/facts and conduct rigorous research.

Once we begin to do those things we can then start to develop appropriate answers to questions that have been asked concerning broader impacts. I guess those are my two cents.

If you are interested in reading more about research and evidence-based approach to broader impacts click the link below.

Moving Towards A Research-Based Understanding and Approach to Broader Impacts

What is a Societal Benefit Organization (SBO)?

A Societal Benefit Organization (SBO) is an entity that is a for-benefit, for-society, for-profit, or nonprofit that either generates an earned income but gives top priority to an explicit social and/or societal mission or seeks a social and/or societal benefit without generating income. This approach can be found across a wide range of educational and academic institutions and industries. SBO’s pursue a myriad of important social/societal goals such as facilitating or achieving  broader impacts, facilitating or achieving valorization and knowledge mobilization, and community engagement. SBOs can also focus on several specific activities such as fighting drug addiction, reducing deaths from malaria, producing renewable energy, and reducing poverty.

What is a Societal Benefit Professional (SBP)?

A SBP is an individual who is societally competent and proficient in their full or part-time practice of empowering or helping others to facilitate processes with people or stakeholders to achieve a societal benefit that is measured and in a finite time. The SBP can help to facilitate these processes in a variety of domains. For example, this could be accomplished in or through any domain of teaching, research, service, and occupation. This means that there are many different types of SBPs with different foci functioning at different levels in diverse organizations nationally and internationally. The SBP is ultimately looking to help and empower others, organizations, companies, institutions, colleges, etc., to generate sustainable positive societal impacts.