Researchers’ perceptions of COVID-19 impact on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)-based practices and society’s view of science in the first months of the pandemic
Over the last decade, national and international agencies have repeatedly called for research practices aligned with the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), with varied effects on different disciplines and countries. The COVID-19 pandemic made this need even more critical. This study aimed to explore whether and how, from researchers’ point of view, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in RRI-based research practices in the different disciplines and, more generally, society’s perception of science. 1499 researchers in the three Catalan-speaking regions of Spain responded to an online questionnaire in the first months of the pandemic. Results showed that while only half perceived an impact on RRI-based practices, this proportion was higher for Health Sciences and Social Sciences researchers in all the dimensions. Most researchers perceived a positive impact on societal actors’ views of science, although researchers in the Humanities were more sceptical than those in other disciplines. The analysis of open-ended questions revealed researchers from all disciplines were also concerned about fake news and claimed that researchers’ working conditions and research funding across all disciplines needed to be improved for future research to be capable of coping with current and future challenges.
Received: 31 December 2021
Accepted: 29 September 2022
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