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Authority waterfalls: an anti-realist model of research impact

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One of the suggestions in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) funding scheme is to fund proposed research based on its ‘impact’. The paper presents a model for conceptualising the impact of research as the creation of an authority imbalance, which can be used to socially vindicate preferential choice of action. The paper also explores the role of tacit knowledge in maintaining the authority imbalance, and the symbiotic relationship between research and its applications.

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