Call for papers of Special Issue on Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research – Linking research processes and outputs to societal effects
• 大类 : 环境科学与生态学 - 2区
• 小类 : 环境科学 - 2区
During the last decades the demand for research, which contributes to solving urgent and complex sustainability problems has increased and is captured with terms as “mode 2” or problem-oriented research (Gibbons 1994, Functowicz & Ravetz 1993). This type of research is mostly carried out in collaboration with societal actors as transdisciplinary or participatory research (Hansson & Polk 2018, Wolf et al. 2015, Lang et al. 2012, Jahn et al. 2012; Pohl et al. 2010, Walter et al. 2007). With the rise of transdisciplinary research programs (e.g. in the fields of climate change, sustainability, land use, urban development) funding organizations, universities and collaborating partners from business and government get more interested in evidence for the effectiveness of such research (Wiek et al. 2014). Many authors agree that evaluation of the quality of this research type has to be based on criteria beyond standard academic metrics (such as bibliometrics) and include relevance and societal effects (Walter et al. 2007, Bornmann 2013, Wiek et al. 2014). There is an emerging body of literature on evaluation in TDR with different strands, which - so far - are only partially connected to each other (Defila & Di Giulio 1999, Bergmann et al. 2005, Klein 2006, Jahn & Keil 2015).
In the early 2000’s a lot of attention has been given to methods for TD research, stressing methodological elements as joint problem formulation, participation of stakeholders throughout the whole research process, integration of heterogeneous knowledge and transfer of results in different ways (e.g.Defilaet al.2006,Pohl & Hirsch-Hadorn 2007, Bergmann et al. 2012, Ayre & Kettle 2015, Schäfer & Kröger 2016). Effects regarding changes of the scientific system and the institutional preconditions for TDR are also part of this debate (e.g. Hegger & Dieperink 2015, Lange & Fuest 2015). Other authors address the barriers for effective TD research (e.g. Porter & Dessai 2017, Gaziulusoy et al. 2016, Chubb & Reed 2017).
However, until now there have been only few attempts to generate evidence forlinks between the quality of the research process and generated outcomes and societal effects. For example, there is a widely spread assumption that participation of stakeholders supports the generation of ‘socially robust knowledge’ (Nowotny 1999) and fosters uptake and implementation of transformation knowledge by stakeholders or policy actors. However, so far there have been only a few empirical studies, which tried to capture these effects more precisely (Pohl 2008, de Jong et al. 2011, Wiek et al. 2014, Hansson & Polk 2018, Burkhardt-Holm & Zehnder 2018). While the efforts of TD projects in terms of achieving the pursued goals or the usability of information and results are often described, effects beyond the project are rarely captured, e.g. as the uptake of results in practice and their contribution to solving life world problems (Wall et al. 2017).
Research evaluation in other fields tries to trace thelinks between results of the research process(output)and direct as well as indirect societal effects(named with terms as outcomes and impact, partly being used with differing meanings) (ESRC 2009, 2011; Nutley et al. 2007; Molas-Gallart et al. 2000). However, most authors agree that there is no clear causal relationship between research results and effects, but that effects are the result of complex and non-linear communication processes, which are influenced by further actors (as e.g. knowledge brokers or intermediaries) and situational factors (Weiss 1980, Litfin 1995, Meyer 2010, Walter et al. 2007, Kaufmann-Hayoz et al. 2016, Krainer & Winiwarter 2016, Maag et al. 2018). There is an ongoing debate aboutappropriate methods,which allow capturing these complex interactions (Meagher et al. 2008; Boaz et al. 2009; Wiek et al. 2014; Hansson & Polk 2018). At the same time TD settings, where science and policy are entangled in processes of co-production are reflected critically, when it comes to evaluate the usefulness of the gained knowledge (Lövbrand 2011).
There have been attempts ofcategorizing different types of research results(Kaufmann-Hayoz et al. 2016)and effects,which arealso called “outcome spaces”(Nutley et al. 2007, Walter et al. 2007, Meagher et al. 2008, ESRC 2009, Wiek et al. 2014; Mitchell et al. 2015 especially in transdisciplinary sustainability research. While there are some similarities regarding effects as mutual learning processes, capacity building or network effects, there are also differences, e.g. regarding the “instrumental impact” or “improving the situation” which is partly differentiated in “usable products” and “structural changes and actions” (ESRC 2009; Wiek et al. 2014). The differentiation in results, diffusion and effects is not always coherent and rather fluent (Kaufmann-Hayoz et al. 2016). Additionally, there have also been attempts to classify temporal and geographical dimensions of effects, differentiating in “1storder” or “direct effects” and “2ndorder” or “indirect effects” (Wiek et al. 2014) or in effects which occur during the research process and beyond (Bergmann et al. 2017). Nevertheless, a comprehensive overview that systematically argues for the added value of transdisciplinary research efforts for environmental policy and related fields of action is missing.
The special issue aims at enhancing the debate on capturing links between transdisciplinary research processes, their results and intended (or unintended) effects as well as the challenge of categorizing and tracing different types of effects. It focuses on policy relevant sustainability research.
We are particularly interested in work that addresses one or more of the following questions through either new conceptual formulations or empirical studies (meta-analyses of several transdisciplinary projects or transdisciplinary case studies).
- Which effects can transdisciplinary sustainability research unfold in society and science and what are the central categories for describing different types and scalar dimensions of effects?
- How can the challenges of assessing different types of effects be met, considering also the risks and unintended effects of TDR?