A focus on academic performativity and a rationalizing of what academics do according to measurable outputs has, in the era of higher education’s (HE) neoliberalization and marketization, engendered debate regarding the ‘authenticity’ of academic identity and practice. In such context, a ‘performative’ prioritization of leveraging ‘positional goods’, such as external research funds, presents a specific challenge to the construction of academics’ identity where in being entrepreneurial they are perceived to compromise traditional Mertonian edicts of scholarship and professional ideals of integrity and ‘virtuousness’. In this article, we consider how academics sacrifice scholarly integrity when selling their research ideas, or more specifically, the non-academic impact of these, to research funders. We review reflections of pathway to impact statements (PIS) – formal components of research funding applications, that specify the prospective socio-economic benefits of proposed research – from (n=50) academics based in the UK and Australia and how the hyper-competitiveness of the HE market is resulting in impact sensationalism and the corruption of academics as custodians of truth.
- SoE Centre for Higher Education Transformations