Knowledge transfer in the Social Sciences and the Humanities: informal links in a Public Research Organization

Elena Castro-Martínez; Jordi Molas-Gallart; Julia Olmos-Peñuela
This study analyzes the characteristics of knowledge transfer in the Social Sciences and the Humanities in the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). CSIC is the largest public sector research organization in the country and has a substantial set of activities in the Social Sciences and Humanities. We analyze the variety of users and beneficiaries that access some of the results of CSIC ́s research in this field, and the different forms of use. We identify a wide range of transfer processes and discuss the organizational and analytical challenges that such variety poses. The study shows that a substantial number of research groups had links with non-academic beneficiaries and were looking for ways to increase such relationships. Many of these links were informal and occasional in nature, of limited reach, and invisible to the parent organization (CSIC). We derive some policy and management implications from these conclusions. The variety of transfer processes suggests that, to support efficient knowledge transfer, policies and knowledge transfer management processes must be differentiated and tailored to the specific characteristics of knowledge production and use in the Social Sciences and Humanities.