Explaining researchers’ readiness to incorporate external stimuli in their research agendas

Julia Olmos Peñuela, Paul Benneworth, Elena Castro-Martínez
This paper seeks to provide a better understanding of how researchers incorporate external (non-academic) influences in their research process. Firstly we advance the notion of ‘openness’ as a researcher characteristic that describes researchers’ readiness to let external stimuli modify the different stages of the research cycle and we identify the kind of behavioural changes expected from ‘open’ researchers. Secondly, we look at the factors explaining researchers’ openness. We empirically analyse researchers’ openness drawing upon a database containing 1583 researchers from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). We found that researchers open in any stage of the research process tend to be also open through the rest of the stages. We also found that personal factors related to researchers’ identity and past experiences are key aspects that determine researchers’ openness. Policy implications are derived regarding suggestions to foster researchers’ openness.