I started taking a bigger picture view of FP7 projects mainly with the objective of trying to understand what the outputs look like. To date, I’ve been focused on the inputs in terms of money and, to a lesser extent, effort. Here, I start the process of trying to understand what the outputs look like. (Note I’m still limiting scope to projects in the Future Networks area – even with this limited scope, analysis is not easy).
There is no single final presentation or report which is readily available for each project, highlighting the project’s achievements. This is a clear omission and should be rectified. While each project has a factsheet and presentation (see here), in many cases, these do not reflect the outputs of the project; indeed, in quite a few cases, it seems that these are more based on the project proposal and could have been done at the start of the project, rather than the end.
There are, of course, the project deliverables. While these are an important and necessary part of the process, they are very inaccessible to parties who are neither involved in the project nor working in a very closely related area. Also, the project deliverables are defined in the project proposal and they are typically not structured such that there is one final deliverable which captures all the key outputs of the project. Hence, it was not possible to use these as the basis for understanding project achievements.
There is a bit of diversity in the nature of the projects and this does impact the types of outputs different project have. For example, some projects clearly have a more development and prototyping focus and have little emphasis on classical research publications; others are very focused on publications or technology roadmaps and others still have quite a bit of Open Source software as outputs. This does make it difficult to perform a more holistic evaluation and indeed, it probably does not make sense to evaluate all projects in the same way.
The use of quite standard social media communications tools is very limited within this arena. This is probably improving with the set of projects which are now kicking off, but it surely must affect the project’s ability to have impact. It’s also interesting to note that these social media tools are very transparent – number of twitter followers is very visible, number of facebook likes is visible, numbers of viewers of Youtube channels are visible. This is an important and interesting point in terms of understanding how much impact these projects are having and will certainly help in future evaluations of project impact.
My data processing this time was quite limited (and much less effort than the last few posts). This time around, I wanted to make a list which somehow reflects outputs of the projects. As there was no final report, I opted to form a consolidated set of links to publications for each of the projects. I have ideas about putting these into Mendeley lists, but that could be more work than I’m willing to put into this activity.
I will do a little further processing on this to understand how many publications there are, how many are having impact etc, perhaps for the larger projects.