In 2011, several core members of the Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID) at the University of North Texas held a meeting during which we imagined different ways to indicate the impact of our activities. We scribbled them on the blackboard as they occurred, and the table above is a faithful rendering of what we wrote down – complete with abbreviations. The activity was meant to be fun, as well as serious. We certainly did not imagine at the time that anyone else would be seriously interested in this list. However, when we present at conferences and include this table as one of our slides, many audience members ask where it is published. The answer, it appears, is here – and there is a modified version of the same table published as a correspondence in Nature.
Included in the list are not only quantitative indicators of scholarly impact (such as the H-index), but also qualitative indicators that we might be having some impact on the world (such as meetings with, or even angry letters from, important people). We think, especially in an age of increasing demands for accountability, that we academics ought to own impact, rather than having it determined by someone else.
The list was never meant to be authoritative. Generating it was meant, originally, to spur our own imaginations about the various ways we might document the impacts of our research. We publish it now in an effort to spur your imaginations to tackle the same task for yourselves. We would love to see comments that suggest other indicators of impact, as well as comments on our own suggestions.
ID/TD, Interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary, or sometimes interdisciplinarity/transdisciplinarity
CSID staff who contributed to authoring the list:
CSID staff whose activities contributed to thinking about the list: