Financial Times responsible research assessment: “slow hackathon” invitation

FT hackathon

Under the leadership of Andrew Jack, the Financial Times’s Global Education Editor, the FT is seeking to better integrate the societal impact of business schools, including research, into its evaluations. Updating the FT’s standards creates an opportunity to align what is best for society, for science, and for the careers of individual scholars. If done well, updated FT standards could re-orient the ecosystem of business research toward public benefit. Moreover, if it works for business schools, it could generalize to other parts of the university.

Aim: to explore better ways to quantify the societal impact of business school academic output to encourage better practice.

The challenge: create metrics for the public impact of research to incentivise high-quality and useful work, that are hard to game, and that the FT could use at scale in credible global rankings allowing “education consumers” to choose between business schools. Entrants would submit a worked example using existing and/or new datasets to best analyse the current and recent societal value of academic output at the aggregated level of business schools.

Benefit: find better ways to identify, showcase, credit and incentivise societally useful research; develop better reporting norms; encourage collaboration; influence FT assessments; foster approaches to better support accreditation reviews, faculty and departmental contributions, and financial support from donors and governments.

Outcome: ideas, data, frameworks and ideally worked examples of analysis/business school rankings, which will be assessed by a jury of FT and external experts for relevance, impact and feasibility.

Timescale: initial contact by late July, finalising of projects by early September, submission of proposals/prototypes by early October.

Participants: all welcome – academics, data scientists, librarians, publishers, consultants, practitioners etc – ideally forming teams/partnerships with others

Data to track rigorous (high quality), relevant (socially responsible) and resonant (widely disseminated for practitioners’ uptake) research outputs and outcomes: articles, chapters, textbooks, academic books, patents, conference participation, advisory/consultancy roles, community partnerships, funding, STARS, PRME and accreditation reports; “popular” articles and books, policy consultations, mainstream media, social media, etc.

Additional information: review the background reading to see what prior work shows and why this is a hard problem that new big data tools might help address.

Next steps: please get in touch to explore joint efforts by contacting