The research project is organised around four interrelated work packages outlined below.

Working Package I (WP1): Review of the literature and development of the conceptual model

The first phase consists of an extensive review of the literature covering the main dimensions of this project. This includes reviewing the literature around three main questions:

  • the contemporary debate around the excellence-relevance gap (sometimes referred to as the rigour-relevance gap);
  • the potential individual, organisational and institutional factors that might help bridge the gap; and
  • the dynamics and determinants of academic knowledge production and knowledge transfer.

Working Package II (WP2): Qualitative data-gathering

There are two stages within the qualitative study, and both involve semi-structured interviews to explore propositions developed on the literature review (WP1). A first wave of interviews is aimed at understanding the perception of management researchers about the excellence-relevance gap in their field (WP2a). Those prospective interviews are analysed to generate additional propositions on the key factors shaping the tension between scientific excellence and societal relevance. A second wave of interviews analyse “successful” research projects in the field of management, where results from fundamental research projects have been used by non-academic actors. These latter interviews focus on identifying whether these academics’ research practices have been open whilst conducting “successful” projects and how they have managed the tensions between the objectives of scientific excellence and societal relevance (WP2b).

Working Package III (WP3): Quantitative data-gathering

The empirical quantitative study builds on the previous phases to examine quantitatively the issues of scientific excellence and societal relevance. The first stage of this quantitative study involves developing and validating an instrument to measure the theoretical concept of “open research practices” using a wider population of social science and humanities researchers affiliated to Spanish universities (WP3a). The second stage focuses on management researchers and involves a survey with questions that measure openness (in terms of the instrument developed in WP3a) of this quantitative study, along with (individual, organisational and institutional) factors identified as being relevant for shaping researcher behaviour for producing new knowledge and transferring it to societal actors (WP3b).

Working Package IV (WP4): Results dissemination

The dissemination of the results targets two communities. Firstly, results will be disseminated to academics through communications in international conferences and papers in international peer-reviewed journals. Secondly, there will be dissemination to practitioners and policy-makers such as university managers through the writing of reports and contributions to other forums, such as blogs.