Enhancing the Societal Impact of Academic Publications


The central goal of academic publishers is the dissemination of research results. Their audiences can generally be divided into two categories. Academic publications are firstly made accessible to the scholarly community, so that these texts can form the input for new academic inquiries. Secondly, research outcomes are also distributed among professionals outside of academia within the (semi-)public and private sector. It may be observed, nevertheless, that the primary focus of publishers shifts more and more to the first category of readers, at the expense of readers outside of academia. This development is partly related to the continuous increases in the prices of subscription-based journals. It can also be connected to the unprecedented proliferation of scholarly publications, and to the fact that academic publications often make use of a highly specialised academic language. For non-academic readers, it becomes progressively difficult to identify the publications that are of actual relevance to their field of work. This research project aims to examine the factors underlying the limited use of academic publications among non-academic readers in a more detailed manner. In addition, this project seeks to develop a prototype of a practical application which can recognise societal relevance automatically. This application can ultimately form the basis for a recommendation service, which can support publishers in their efforts to reach non-academic audiences. The application will be based on technologies in the field of text and data mining, and will make use of aspects such as keywords, abstracts, stylistic properties and usage data.


Project number


Main applicant

P.A.F. Verhaar

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL)


01/12/2017 to 01/12/2018