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Is this what success looks like? Mismatches between the aims, claims, and evidence used to demonstrate impact from knowledge exchange processes at the interface of environmental science and policy

Citation

Karcher, DB and Cvitanovic, C and Colvin, RM and Van Putten, IE and Reed, MS, Is this what success looks like? Mismatches between the aims, claims, and evidence used to demonstrate impact from knowledge exchange processes at the interface of environmental science and policy, Environmental Science and Policy, 125 pp. 202-218. ISSN 1462-9011 (2021) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2021 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2021.08.012

Abstract

As anthropogenic pressures on the environment grow, science-policy interaction is increasingly needed to support e 1000 vidence-informed decision-making. However, there are many barriers to knowledge exchange (KE) at the science-policy interface, including difficulties evaluating its outcomes. The aims of this study are to synthesize the literature to elucidate the a) intended and b) claimed outcomes of KE processes at the interface of environmental science and policy, as well as the c) evidence used to evaluate them and d) methods used for collecting evaluation data. Results from systematically identifying and analyzing 397 articles show that co-production, knowledge brokerage, boundary organizations, and social connections were the most common strategies for KE. KE processes commonly aimed, claimed and referred to evidence regarding the usability of knowledge (e.g. credibility, salience, legitimacy) and social outcomes (e.g. networking, awareness, learning, trust-building). They also aimed for deeper policy/economic/societal impacts and actual use of scientific knowledge within decision-making. These additional goals, however, were seldom claimed to have been achieved, although products (e.g. maps/tools) and process attributes (e.g. equity, power-relations, transparency) were commonly used for evidencing impact. Hence, this study found that success from KE at the interface of environmental science and policy comes in diverse forms and showed a divergence between what studies aim for (ambitious) and what they evidence or claim as an achievement (more modest). This may represent failures of KE processes to reach intended goals, shortcomings in evaluation literature/approaches, or mismatches between timescales of evaluation and impact. Overall, this suggests a need to better align goals with evaluation measures to plan, facilitate, and appreciate the diverse impacts of KE processes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:knowledge exchange, science-policy, research impact, environmental management, systematic, scoping review, impact evaluation, evidence-based, decision-making, co-production
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental assessment and monitoring
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
UTAS Author:Van Putten, IE (Dr Ingrid Van Putten)
ID Code:152678
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Research Division
Deposited On:2022-08-23
Last Modified:2022-09-02
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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