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Further studies are necessary in order to conclude a causal association between the consumption of monosodium L-glutamate (MSG) and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the rural Thai population

Michael d rogers.

1 International Glutamate Technical Committee, Avenue Jules Bordet 142, B-1140, Brussels, Belgium

Please see related articles and author responses:




The article entitled “Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a rural Thai population”, concluded that higher amounts of individual’s MSG consumption are associated with the risk of having the metabolic syndrome and being overweight independent of other major determinants. However, this epidemiological study is the only study indicating such a relationship between MSG intake and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and there is no direct supporting evidence for a causal relationship between MSG intake and prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This study does not indicate that MSG causes metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, there are several questionable points concerning study methods. Further carefully designed studies taking into account all glutamate sources are necessary to demonstrate the relationship between overweight, metabolic syndrome, MSG intake and umami sensitivity.

Recently, Insawang et al ., reported that Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a rural Thai population [ 1 ]. However, there is no supporting evidence for a causal relationship between MSG intake and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome. We consider that it is premature to draw any conclusion that MSG consumption increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and overweight. In this commentary, we would like to point out some problems regarding their study and interpretation.

The authors claim that “recent cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in healthy Chinese subjects correlated MSG intake with an increased risk of being overweight irrespective of the total calorie intake and physical activity” and cited two articles from the same research group that suggest an association of MSG intake and overweight in the Chinese population. A problem of these studies is the large difference of MSG intake, one is only 0.33 g/day and the other is 2.2 g/day, which raises questions regarding the accuracy of the MSG intake. Furthermore, they do not mention another study that showed no association between MSG intake and obesity in the Chinese population [ 2 ]. In addition, a recent study showing no association between MSG intake and overweight in the Vietnamese population was published [ 3 ]. Thus, the results of epidemiological studies on MSG intake and overweight are inconsistent, may be in part because of the difficulties of assessing accurate MSG intake and difference in countries, population and setting. The authors also claim that “animal models support a causative association between obesity and neonatal or maternal administration of high doses of MSG” and cited four animal studies. It has been shown that when neonatal rodents are injected with huge amounts of MSG, blood glutamate levels becomes extremely high, which can develop lesions in certain parts of the brain because the blood–brain barrier in neonatal rodents is immature, and these brain lesions resulted in obesity [ 4 ]. It has also been shown that when fasted human subjects ingested MSG in water, consommé or a liquid meal, blood glutamate level were transiently raised [ 5 - 7 ], however, the level is not high enough to develop brain lesions and even this change did not affect the brain because, in humans, blood glutamate does not pass the blood–brain barrier. In addition, the peak blood glutamate levels could be attenuated by other food components [ 8 ]. Thus, the circadian variation of blood glutamate level is small during the day in humans ingesting MSG as a food constituent [ 9 ]. The fact that the neurotoxicity seen in neonatal rodent studies is not relevant to the safety of MSG used as a food additive for humans has been confirmed by authoratative risk assessment expert bodies of the FAO/WHO, EC and USA [ 10 ].

In this study, the authors measured only the additional MSG consumption they provided and did not take into account other sources of glutamate. MSG is only one among many other foods that contains glutamate. There are two forms of glutamate in food, free and protein bound glutamate, protein bound glutamate is digested in the intestine to free amino acids and small peptides, both of which are absorbed into mucosal cells where peptides are hydrolyzed to free amino acids. Therefore, glutamate from added MSG and free glutamate derived from food are chemically identical and are metabolized in the same way in humans ingesting them orally. The human body cannot distinguish glutamate from different sources. Glutamate rich seasonings such as fish and soy sauce, shrimp paste, and MSG containing premix seasonings, are very popular in Thailand and the total amount of glutamate from those seasonings and especially the glutamate from proteins is usually higher than that from MSG. It is very unlikely that exclusively the added glutamate from MSG causes overweight and metabolic syndrome because it is logical to assume that glutamate from other sources also should have the same effect. By and large, it is very unlikely that only one ingredient becomes the cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome, which are complex multifactorial diseases and this epidemiological study does not indicate MSG causes obesity and/or metabolic syndrome. Overall, there is a consensus that obesity is the cumulative result of the net balance of energy intake and expenditure. In this study, there is no association between MSG intake and energy intake or physical activity. Thus, the possible hypothesis that MSG makes food palatable and increases total energy intake is not applied. Several human studies of the elderly have demonstrated that MSG had no effect on total energy intake and body weight, although the effects of MSG on food intake were varied [ 11 - 13 ]. Thus, there isn’t any convincing evidence for a causal relationship between MSG intake and overweight or metabolic syndrome. The BMI median and the median and percentage values of any of the five criteria of ATP III are not significantly different cross-sectionally in association with MSG intake. As a result, these data suggest a different interpretation of the study. Recently, it was reported that obese women have a lower MSG taste sensitivity and prefer higher concentrations than do normal-weight women [ 14 ]. Therefore, increased MSG intake may be, in part, a result rather than a cause, and overweight may be a cause rather than a result. There is the possibility that overweight people tend to use more MSG because of their taste preference for higher concentration and this tendency might affect reported inconsistent associations between MSG intake and overweight. In this hypothesis, the association of only MSG among other glutamate sources seems rather convincing. Recently, it has been suggested that glutamate or the taste of glutamate, the umami taste, may play an important role in appropriate food intake [ 15 ].

In addition, there are several questionable points regarding the study methods as follows;

1. According to their previous study, subjects who met exclusion criteria were excluded from the 349 subjects resulted in 315 participants [ 16 ]. Although the exclusion criteria are the same for both studies, participants were 349 in this study. Participants may be the same because the median MSG intake and interquartile range are the same for both studies, thus, there is a discrepancy about the number of participants.

2. They provided 250 g MSG in a box and measured weight of returned box to assess MSG consumption under the assumption that MSG intake measured during 10 days reflect past MSG intake behavior. This method seems to be similar to the weighted food component measurement which is often used for food consumption studies and thought to be more accurate than other methods such as 24 h food recall or food frequency questionnaire. However, in the usual weighted food component measurement, participants use their own ingredient whereas these participants used free MSG which was given by the investigator in this study. This circumstance is quite different from the usual evaluation for participants, and possibly affected the results. If free MSG is provided, it is very likely that individuals use more MSG than usual because it is free. Thus, this method could not be considered to be in the same category as the usual weighted food component measurement and validation information should be provided.

3. In rural areas of Thailand, multi generations are often living together in the family home. There may be a number of children in each such family home, but the study excluded children under 10 years regardless of the number of children in the calculation, and this possibly affected the MSG consumption data, although the statistical analysis was adjusted for age.

4. None of the median and percentage values of the five criteria of ATP III were individually associated with MSG intake cross-sectionally. Only the percentage of the metabolic syndrome (defined as three or more of the five criteria are met) is associated with MSG intake. This seems to be an oversight. More detailed data should be provided. In addition, the observed associations are very weak with the very small odds ratios for overweight and metabolic syndrome (1.16 and 1.14 respectively) although statistically significant.

5. They chose MSG users only so there is no comparison of the non-MSG users and MSG users.


This epidemiological study only showed a relationship between MSG intake and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome and there is no direct supporting evidence for a causal relationship. This study does not indicate that MSG causes metabolic syndrome. Further carefully designed studies taking into account all glutamate sources are necessary to demonstrate the relationship between overweight, metabolic syndrome, MSG intake and umami sensitivity.

Competing interests

M.D.R is the Chairman of the International Glutamate Technical Committee (IGTC), a worldwide research organization having NGO status and carrying out or sponsoring extensive research on the efficacy, application and safety of glutamic acid and its salts especially as used in food. IGTC receives financial support from glutamate producers and users.

  • Insawang T, Selmi C, Cha’on U, Pethlert S, Yongvanit P, Areejitranusorn P, Boonsiri P, Khampitak T, Tangrassameeprasert R, Pinitsoontorn C, Prasongwattana V, Gershwin ME, Hammock BD. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) intake is associated with the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in a rural Thai population. Nutr Metab. 2012; 9 :50. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-50. [ PMC free article ] [ PubMed ] [ CrossRef ] [ Google Scholar ]
  • Shi Z, Luscombe-Marsh ND, Wittert GA, Yuan B, Dai Y, Pan X, Taylor AW. Monosodium glutamate is not associated with obesity or a greater prevalence of weight gain over 5 years: findings from the Jiangsu Nutrition Study of Chinese adults. Br J Nutr. 2010; 104 :457–463. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510000760. [ PubMed ] [ CrossRef ] [ Google Scholar ]
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  • Olney JW. Brain lesions, obesity, and other disturbances in mice treated with monosodium glutamate. Science. 1969; 164 :719–721. doi: 10.1126/science.164.3880.719. [ PubMed ] [ CrossRef ] [ Google Scholar ]
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Scientist Sees Squirrel

Seldom original. often wrong. occasionally interesting..

further studies were needed

My writing pet peeves: “Further studies are needed”

As usual, xkcd is on to something. It’s hard to find a paper that doesn’t tell us, near the end of the Discussion, that “future studies are needed”. In fact, the phrase is such a cliché that it (and its variants) even have a Wikipedia article . You’ve written it; I’ve written it. Does it mean anything? Beyond, that is, the implication that the present study is limited, incomplete, or (worse) weak?

When I started work on this post, I wrote “As usual, xkcd hits the nail on the head” – but then I thought better of it. That’s because really, the point is more nuanced and more interesting than “Don’t write ‘further studies are needed’”. Yes, further studies are (almost always) needed – but the phrase needn’t be meaningless, and it needn’t suggest that your work didn’t achieve much. With some careful thought, you can move “further studies are needed” from a suggestion that your study was weak to a suggestion that your study was particularly strong .

The key is specificity and connection to your own work. Don’t just suggest that we need another study with a bigger sample size. Use your data to conduct a power analysis that shows how much bigger a sample size we’d need, in order to detect the kind of effect we’d want to know about. Don’t just say that we need to know more about Issue X. Explain how your results tell us what the next important question is around Issue X, or how they establish a new approach that will let us make progress towards understanding Issue X. Show how it is that a future study can make progress by building on your present one.

This notion of suggesting future studies that build specifically on yours shouldn’t be revolutionary. We know, or we ought to, that this is how science progresses. Often, what’s important about a particular paper isn’t so much the answers it provides as the new questions it points to (or the new approaches it suggests to answer them). If we already knew all the science that needed to be done and were just ticking studies off the master list, answering one question at a time, then yes, “future studies are needed” would be meaningless. If we’re doing it right, though (and writing effectively about it), “future studies are need – these key ones, for these reasons” can be a key part of a paper’s contribution.

© Stephen Heard  October 3, 2023

Image: No further research , © Randall Munroe CC BY-NC 2.0

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6 thoughts on “ My writing pet peeves: “Further studies are needed” ”

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Agreed. This is a good place for reviewers to ask more more specificity if needed.

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So, further studies are needed to show which further studies are needed exactly? 🙂

I always recommend my students to not just state that further studies are needed, but to show what exactly their results show and, based on them, which further studies are needed. Now I will also show them this blog post!

(…And just wondering whether further blog posts are needed on this subject 🙂

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Drat, now I deeply regret not concluding with “further blog posts are needed on the subject”. Nice one!

Like Liked by 3 people

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Any time you see that in one of my papers, it’s a nod to something a reviewer said, so it doesn’t just look like I”m ignoring their concerns. Maybe this time I’ll try to find more creative ways to say it.

I’m giggling uncontrollably right now because just YESTERDAY I used the line that way – although in the Response to Reviews rather than the manuscript. Yes, buddy, that’s a really clever idea. No, buddy, I’m not going to shoehorn it into this manuscript where it doesn’t fit 🙂

You’re braver than I am – I put detailed explanations in the response AND ALSO throw it in the paper. Saving my fights for things that need fighting.

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2268: Further Research is Needed

Explanation [ edit ].

In most scientific fields, it's very common to end research papers with the caveat that " further research is needed ", or words to that effect. This is particularly true when reporting results on a topic that's not well studied, and in which there's not enough literature to form a broad consensus. This is a very reasonable suggestion, an individual research project may produce results that suggest a certain conclusion, but it would be foolhardy to take something as established fact based on a single study. Individual studies may produce misleading information, they may have flaws that don't become evident until later, they may be based on assumptions that don't hold up, or the results may end up having an alternate explanation (as when a correlation is found, but does not establish specific causation). It's all too common for science reporters, particularly in low-quality outlets, to draw broad and bold conclusions from a single study, but actual scientists quickly learn to be more cautious. Peer-reviewed papers will generally make clear that conclusions are tentative, and may be modified or even overturned by future research.

This comic's fictional paper, however, ends with a statement that the paper has resolved all the problems about its topic, and that no more research is necessary. Humorously, the authors are so confident in their research skills that they believe that they have solved all the problems in that particular topic that can be solved. Munroe jokes that he'd like to see researchers with "the guts" to make such a proclamation. In real life, doing so would likely damage the reputation of the study's authors, because it would belie both a breathtaking arrogance and a lack of understanding of the research process. If nothing else, studies need to be replicated, to establish that the initial data gathering was accurate. In addition, no single study could realistically address every aspect, variation and complication in a given topic. It's simply not feasible that a single paper could "[resolve] all remaining questions" on any given topic, and making such a ridiculous claim would badly damage a researcher's credibility. At the same time, if no further research were necessary, every researcher in the field, including the author who wrote the study, would need to either change fields or change careers. The title text ironically states that "further research" is indeed needed to understand how the researchers who wrote the paper were able to resolve all the problems in that topic or field, thus allowing the researchers to justify future funding for their research.

Perhaps the statement most like this made by a real scientist was by Albert A. Michelson , at the 1894 dedication of the University of Chicago's Reyerson Physical Laboratory: "[I]t seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice." (Variants of this statement are sometimes misattributed to William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin .) Even this statement is couched in much less certainty than the concluding statement presented in this comic strip, and sure enough, just eleven years later, Albert Einstein wrote his Annus Mirabilis papers . These four papers explained the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and mass-energy equivalence, turning established physics on its head. Ironically, Michelson made this statement despite the fact that he himself had upset a major of notion of established physics just seven years before, when the Michelson-Morley experiment demonstrated that the speed of light was constant, disproving the Aether theories then prevalent in physics. This result in turn was part of the inspiration for Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Transcript [ edit ]

Trivia [ edit ].

  • The mentioned closure of scientific papers seems to be iconic enough to have an Wikipedia article of its own . That article, in turn, points to this page as an "in culture" reference.
  • There was a scientific paper by James C. Coyne and Eric van Sonderen from University of Groningen, titled No further research needed , on the necessity of abandoning the Hospital and Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS).
  • In 2020, a study titled "Effect of hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin on the mortality of COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis" included the text "Our results suggest that there is no need for further studies evaluating these molecules".
  • We believe this resolves all remaining questions on this comic. No further explanation is needed.


First! — 14:56, February 14, 2020

I got two things to say:

  • What the heck is the "Woodward Hoffman textbook on organic chemistry"? I can't find it anywhere online.
  • I think it's a reference to [1] Conservation of Orbital Symmetry (1971)], whose chapter "Violations" starts with "There are none!" Unfortunately, the "Conclusions" chapter doesn't fully fit the criteria. 17:23, 15 February 2020 (UTC)
  • In the event of an unsuccessful Action 10-Israfil-B, no further action research will be necessary.

That's right, Jacky720 just signed this ( talk | contribs ) 23:59, 14 February 2020 (UTC)

Paper title: "Constructive proof of P=NP". Conclusion: "No further research is needed" ... because anyone who read this paper can get so rich they won't need to do any research for rest of life, spent on nice tropical island. -- Hkmaly ( talk ) 00:58, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Can someone make a category called "Research" or "Research Papers"? Other comics with this topic include: 2012: Thorough Analysis , 2025: Peer Review , 2215: Faculty:Student Ratio , 1594: Human Subjects and 1574: Trouble for Science . 00:59, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Here is a list of a bunch of papers that could have done this (but for some it might not have been known at the time): https://mathoverflow.net/questions/347540/what-are-examples-of-collections-of-papers-which-close-a-field Fabian42 ( talk ) 02:16, 15 February 2020 (UTC)

Regarding topics that might reach a conclusion: The first subset that comes to mind is religious matters (e.g. "God works in mysterious ways -- let's not think about this too much.") The second subset that comes to mind is game theory regarding games that have been solved. (e.g. there's not much left to be said about tic-tac-toe.)

Leaving this explanation "incomplete" would be perfectly meta. Please don't ever remove that incomplete tag 16:46, 16 February 2020 (UTC)

How about a subject where rather than further research not being needed to answer questions, further research is undesirable, as further investigating some matter could potentially trigger catastrophic results, such as allowing the invention of technology that would do great harm if available, ranging from being usable in crimes that can't be traced or stopped, or somehow destroying the world, or that further looking into some matter is likely to somehow drive the researcher insane?-- 06:42, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

If further research really isn't needed on the topic (although obviously papers get things wrong and results need to be reproduced as a check, so let's say this is that), then the next funding can go to someone else's research, and that is Good For Science. Robert Carnegie [email protected] 12:15, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

I'm imagining a book titled "There are a finite number of primes", chapter 3 "Proof" reads "This page intentionally left blank" :-) -- OliReading ( talk ) 18:04, 17 February 2020 (UTC)

there is a joke about cold fusion in there somewhere.-- Artemis1101 ( talk ) 15:55, 18 February 2020 (UTC)

There's a very good paper published around a month before this comic which says something very close: "...we do not see any justification for such efforts, and we believe that researchers should focus their energy on other research directions." 23:31, 2 December 2020 (UTC)

The comic's description alleges that the paper here claims to thoroughly explore all there is to its topic, but the last line only speaks of remaining questions that were supposed to be solved therein (which even leaves open whether this paper is the first one to assail those remaining questions). Thus, if only one question, or a few related ones, had been left, one paper could indeed conclusively answer the last questions to a topic, especially if it only finishes what others have started. 00:36, 21 March 2022 (UTC)

smbc may 18, 2021: Further research is pointless because this paper is the last fucking word. My command of the facts is comprehensive and new information is irrelevant because the theory is austere crystalline perfection. -- 03:15, 26 May 2022 (UTC)

The Classification of Quasithin Groups , being the work that puts the final nail on decades of work in classifying all finite simple groups, may be a work that has the privilege to state such a claim. Flymousechiu ( talk ) 16:45, 28 May 2022 (UTC)

Reading this comic again in 2023 and thinking about how comprehensively we've had to prove chloroquine's inefficacy for treating covid. It turns out that the key to exhausting a field of research is convincing a large number of people to do something completely nonsensical and blaming it on science. 13:17, 24 March 2023 (UTC)

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further studies were needed

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Reply: Further studies are required

  • Alan D.L. Sihoe, FRCSEd(CTh), FCCP, FACS Alan D.L. Sihoe Affiliations International Medical Centre, Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China Search for articles by this author

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.02.084


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  • Preview We read with interest the article by Molina and colleagues 1 addressing the important issue of the feasibility and safety of transvascular endosonographic-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) of intrathoracic lesions. We congratulate the authors for the magnitude of their cohort, which allowed a better appreciation of the risks associated with this procedure. Analyzing 100 cases of endosonographic-guided transvascular biopsy, they report a 1% complication rate and 71.5% sensitivity. This approach appears to be a relatively safe technique; among the 225 cases reported in the literature, only 7 patients had complications, including 6 mural hematoma and 1 pseudoaneurysm.
  • Preview We read with great interest Dr Siloe's reply to our letter regarding transvascular ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration (TVUS-FNA). 1 , 2 As mentioned by Dr Siloe, the intended lesson behind our case report is not that TVUS-FNA is associated with prohibitive risks, but that in patients with severe vascular atherosclerosis, it is associated with potential risks. These risks should be put into the balance before performing TVUS-FNA.

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further studies were needed

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"Further Research is Needed!"

The phrase ‘further research is needed’ is often found in both research articles and in policymaking, where the quest for more ‘evidence’ has become a mantra. But is research really lacking, or can there be other forces behind policymakers’ request for more research?

Why ask for more research?

The motivations behind requesting more research in policymaking processes are many. Less noble or cynical motives include asking for more research to postpone decisions or hoping that later research will come to conclusions that are more in line with own interests. Sometimes more research is requested to delegitimize existing knowledge, as was the case with much tobacco research. Requesting research can also have symbolic effects, by signalizing vigour and that one takes knowledge seriously.

The need for ‘further research’ is perhaps more often driven by the potential problem-solving or instrumental contributions of research to policymaking. Research is expected to contribute to more informed and rational decisions. It can propose means and measures to fulfill the goals set by policymakers and provide a range of possible options to choose from in decision-making processes. Research can help to explain the causes and drivers of societal issues, and thus help to develop more accurate interventions and point out unintended consequences of policies. One example is found in the recently published report of the Stoltenberg-commission on gender differences in school performance and education (NOU 2019:3). The commission concludes that the causes of such differences are not yet resolved, and further research is therefore needed.

Research is expected to contribute to more informed and rational decisions.

The unread articles

But may the demand for more research also stem from not knowing the research that already exists? As the volume of information from research increases, the challenge of keeping up to date on research findings becomes greater. This is a challenge for researchers, but even more for policy makers with little time left to familiarize themselves with developments in research. A recent survey by Taran Thune (2019) suggest that policymakers seldom seek out research via formal channels, such as research databases. Rather, they prefer informal channels, including googling and asking colleagues to get access to research.

Image of stacks of books.

Other surveys into the uses of research in policy making, suggest that it is only a minimal fraction of research that ends up being cited in policy documents. For example, one study found that less that 0,5% of the papers published in different subject categories in the Web of Science were mentioned at least once in policy-related documents (Haunschild and Bornmann, 2017) .

Tracing the impacts of research – or not

The seemingly weak link between research being done and research being used is one backdrop to the rise of the ‘impact agenda’, which has been launched to address the contribution of research to society. The focus is on highlighting the societal benefits of research in contrast to academic impact, which was previously the dominant concern of research funders. Although the concept of societal impact is fairly new, research on the uptake and uses of research in society still goes back decades.

One body of previous research blames the apparently weak uptake of research on the differences between the spheres of research and policymaking, outlining them as separate communities, unable to communicate with each other. A milder version of this hypothesis suggests that knowledge needs translation in order to become relevant to users. In other words - the quest for further research could be interpreted as a quest for more relevant or brokered knowledge.

The quest for further research could be interpreted as a quest for more relevant or brokered knowledge.

However, the seemingly weak link between research and policymaking can be a result of research having an impact in diffuse and incremental ways. One central insight of previous research on impact, is that research often contributes in non-linear ways. Research and policies are shaped and reshaped by each other through repeated interactions and institutional arrangements suspending the boundaries between research and policies.

Impact takes time

An example of the latter is the introduction of the fiscal rule in Norway which states that that a maximum of 3% of the Government Pension Fund ’s value should be allocated to the yearly government budget. The history of the fiscal rule and the pension fund can be written as a story about bureaucratic flair and political foresight, when a group of economists in the Ministry of Finance secretly prepared the guidelines for future economic policy adopted in White paper 29 (2000-2001) in 2001. The work was initiated and implemented by the bureaucratic elite in the Ministry of Finance in 2000 with support from the political leadership, including prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, who presented the fiscal rule to the public.

Image of article

But this is also a story about how economic research made an impact on Norwegian monetary policy and the management of the petroleum wealth. The fiscal rule builds on a large body of economic research on the benefits of long-term policy rules, of which the paper “Rules Rather than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans” by Finn E. Kydland and Edward C. Prescott is regarded as a key contribution.

This paper was central when Kydland and Prescott received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2004 . The paper argues that it can be better for politicians to be tied to the mast - by following regular policy rules - rather than manoeuvring freely from day to day.

The paper was published in 1977, but it took decades before this insight became part of Norwegian public policy in the form of the fiscal rule. The fiscal rule can be seen as an outcome of long-term interactions between academic economists and bureaucrats in the Ministry of finance. The reports of the public commissions preceding the establishment of the pension fund include tails of attachments to economic research. But a better interpretation could be that the impact of the research was even more a result of competent policymakers, who were able to make use of and apply insights of research that was produced in an entirely different context.

[...] the impact of the research was even more a result of competent policymakers, who were able to make use of and apply insights of research produced in an entirely different context.

Further research on impact is needed!

One conclusion to be drawn from the discussion above is (surprise!) that further research on impact is needed, but also that we should focus on the capacity of users to make use of and request further research. This activity is now in the pipeline. A reframing of the issue from the extent to which research is used to characteristics of the process of use is required.

In OSIRIS we examine the processes through which research makes an impact in society. Rather than to look exclusively on the research side of impact, as in the majority of earlier work, we focus on the user perspective. Our primary interest is to better understand under which conditions research is put into use in industry, health and care, policymaking and other contexts.

This blog post was first published in Teknovatøren #17: Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Uncertainty.

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The OSIRIS blog

On the OSIRIS blog the members of the project team write about impact of research as our research on this topic progresses. We aim for a collection of posts that represent preliminary and conceptual findings and ideas, discussions from meetings and seminars, shorter analyses of empirical data and brief summaries of the vast literature on impact. Some of the posts will be shared with the Impact Blog at the London School of Economics, the most comprehensive web page devoted to this topic and a great source of interesting ideas about many topics within science policy and science in practice. The blog is also open for contributions from people outside of the OSIRIS team. Send us an email if you have a text that would fit into the blog.


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