Humanities scholars engage with a broad spectrum of societally-relevant questions and debates. It is common, for humanists, engage with society in diverse ways which include, but are not limited to publications. Examples are curating exhibitions and other cultural initiatives and writing pieces for a broader readership via newspapers, books and social media. While scholarly publications are not the only means to have an impact, it is reasonable to assume that they cover this broad range of interests and contributions that humanities scholars do. 

The Impact of the Humanities theme focuses on assessing the societal relevance and impact of humanities research. We do so by developing text analytics to assess to what degree humanities scholarship focuses on the same topics discussed in societal debates in e.g., newspapers and other outlets (relevance). We also study if societal debates are directly influenced and changed by humanities scholarship (impact). In a pilot study we found that, for the past twenty years, humanities research in the Netherlands has contributed highly relevant work engaging with several prominent societal debates, particularly with themes such as the economy, energy, immigration, politics and geopolitics, society and culture and technology. 

Ultimately, at CREATE we are working towards a “monitor for the impact of the humanities”: an ongoing initiative to assess if and how humanists engage with societal debates and deliver useful insights to scholars, policy makers and the public.

Example initiative in this direction: