Venue: University of Helsinki, Helsinki

Date: 8 May 2017

A process of ‘democratisation’ can be observed in many scientific and academic fields today. Collaboration with diverse extra-academic agents – such as private enterprises, journalists, indigenous communities, or artists – has become common, and researchers in many fields are interested in promoting socially inclusive research practices.

Democratic research practices are developed in diverse fields, so the pursued aims are inevitably manifold. However, at least one common goal can be identified: extra-academic collaborations are seen as a means of increasing the societal impact of academic research. The type of impact varies from economic to emancipatory, but collaboration is taken to boost it.


  1. Democratisation of academic knowledge production can bring about both epistemic and societal benefits. But the pursuit of societal impact can also be at odds with the epistemic aims of academic research. For instance, commercial interests or political aspirations can bias research. How are such risks to be avoided?
  1. Interaction with extra-academic agents is nothing new in research – be they informants, interviewees, or industry partners. The recent process of democratisation has just brought about new, more collaborative forms of interaction. How will they develop further? What does the future of extra-acdemic collaboration in academic research look like?