Assessing 'ownership' of useful evidence for measuring impact and giving credit
By John Hilton
An evidence synthesis, such as a systematic review, guideline or other evidence summary, will include collated and filtered data, typically from published reports of primary studies. Those studies were instigated, carried out, supported and to varying degrees 'owned' by, or associated with, individuals, teams, institutions, funders, publishers, and others. The 'ownership' includes intellectual and legal components. Stakeholders, driven by various incentives, wish to demonstrate impact of their output. Impact may reasonably include influence on evidence syntheses and other secondary outputs designed to summarise the status quo or make the case for change. But it would be interesting to look backwards from the starting point of, for example, a systematic review. The review itself has impact, by influencing guidelines, policy and practice, and that impact comes partly from the people and organisations responsible for that synthesis work, and partly from the data and analysis that formed the basis of the review. Impact is therefore linked with an array of individuals and academic and commercial organisations (including publishers), with varying degrees and types of rights or responsibilities for the work. What kinds of formulae or rules could be applied to the array to present a reasonable statement about the 'ownership' of impact?