Special Issue "Third Mission and Societal Impact"

A special issue of Publications (ISSN 2304-6775).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Benedikt Fecher

Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Interests: Open science and open access; Data governance; Research integrity; Innovative research infrastructures; Knowledge transfer and scientific impact
Guest Editor
Dr. Isabel Roessler

CHE Centre for Higher Education, Guetersloh, Germany

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the light of global challenges, such as climate change, migration, and digitization, policy makers and funding agencies increasingly expect societal engagement and applicable results from academic research. Establishing deeper engagement with industry, politics, media, and civil society has become a key concern for universities who have established a third mission alongside their core teaching and research missions. The third mission is set on three pillars: continuing education, social engagement, and (knowledge) transfer.

This ‘third mission’ can thus be understood as an umbrella term that subsumes a whole range of activities with the overall aim of linking academia with society. Though societal engagement has always been a key task for universities, the increased public interest in recent years – in times in which academic knowledge creation itself is changing – has proven challenging for higher education institutions.

This issue welcomes contributions that address the governance, evaluation, and organizational management of third mission activities. Abstracts should in particular (but not exclusively) address the following questions:

  • How can research funders, policy makers, and institutions for higher education incentivize third mission activities?
  • To what degree can societal impact be planned? Where are potential conflicts with scientific freedom?
  • How can the success of third mission activities be measured?
  • Are the metrics we have beneficial or obstructive to increasing the societal impact of research?
  • What are the institutional barriers for continuing education, social engagement, and knowledge transfer?
  • What are suitable quality criteria for third mission activities?
  • What are the disciplinary differences when it comes to third mission activities and impact assessments?

Here we welcome abstracts (up to 1000 words) that investigate knowledge transfer and societal impact. After an initial review, authors of the best contributions will be invited to submit a full paper to our online submission system.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2019

We explicitly welcome contributions from every discipline and from different perspectives.

Dr. Benedikt Fecher
Dr. Isabel Roessler
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Publications is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Knowledge transfer
  • Third mission
  • Societal impact
  • Public engagement
  • Continuing education

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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