Policy Press

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Impact and our social mission

Right from the very beginning, Bristol University Press and Policy Press have worked closely with authors to ensure their work gains the social impact it deserves alongside academic impact.

The longevity of our social mission makes us stand out from other publishers and is one of the key reasons authors and editors choose to work with us. We believe that achieving impact for the public good is the whole point of social science research.  The books and journals we publish make an impact, influence and shape policy, are applied to professional practice, raise awareness, promote debate and make a positive difference to society, in the UK and internationally. 

Impact beyond metrics 

We firmly believe that impact is about more than just traditional metrics. An author’s work should shift understanding of policy and practice or teaching, reframe debates and change communities and organisations for the better. We don’t just want people to read our content but to really engage with it – intellectually, emotionally and practically. We can advise you on maximising impact to the intended audience right from your initial inquiry or submission through the complete life of the publication. 

What do we mean by impact?   

Impact is about making a difference, that could be social, economic, environmental, legal, technological or cultural. 

It could be something concrete like policy change, or something more ephemeral such as influencing the conversation and awareness of an issue.  It can be specific - a change of test used by GPs - or widespread like a measurable change in the health or wellbeing of a population.

Impact can be situated in two areas:

  • Scholarly impact i.e. within the academic community – citations, h-Index, referencing etc. 
    • Spread of scholarly ideas 
    • Change in research focus  
    • Development of new areas of study 
    • Change in teaching focus 
    • Change to methodology 
  • Real world – e.g. changing policy, practice or the law, changing the conversation
    • Changes in policy and government interaction 
    • Changes in practice 
    • Changes in law 
    • Spread of ideas within and beyond scholarly circles
    • Changing ‘hearts and minds’ 
    • Giving voice to those usually unheard 


Why is it important to our business? 

From Policy Press’s inception as a social policy publisher - ‘publishing research to influence policy’ - the influence and impact of our work beyond the scholarly has been at our core.

Under Bristol University Press the social mission is one of our three pillars and we are in a position to build on our demonstrable history in this area. 

What impact do we want to demonstrate? 

We have a dual goal: 
Supporting and demonstrating the impact of our products’ ideas and content;
Demonstrating the impact of our publishing house as an organisation including as a progressive voice, charity work etc. 


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