Impact assessment is embedded in many national and international research rating systems. Most applications use the Research Impact Pathway to track inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes of an invention or initiative to assess impact beyond scholarly contributions to an academic research field (i.e., benefits to environment, society, economy and culture). Existing approaches emphasise easy to attribute 'hard' impacts, and fail to include a range of 'soft' impacts that are less easy to attribute, yet are often a dominant part of the impact mix. Here, we develop an inclusive 3-part impact mapping approach. We demonstrate its application using an environmental initiative.
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An author correction exists for this article and can be found in Nature Communications, 10, 5149, doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13141-1