Adding researchers’ behaviour to the research agenda: bridging the science-policy gap in sustainable tourism mobility

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This opinion piece addresses issues surrounding the role of researchers’ behaviour in bridging the science–policy gap in sustainable tourism mobility. Currently, the research agenda on bridging this gap encompasses the development of fuller understanding of the determinants of tourist behaviours, and only a partial understanding of the behaviour of policy-makers and industry. That latter area needs research to identify how those key actors can be encouraged towards developing sustainable tourism mobility. This paper argues that key determinants of researchers' behaviour need to be added to that research agenda. It discusses seven tensions and structures hindering researchers exploring how to mobilise and engage with other industry and policy-makers, including dangers related to the politicisation of science, balancing objectivity and engagement, and the consequences of the current publication culture that characterises the academic community. The discussion concludes with a call for action to researchers to address these tensions and structures. It suggests four ways forward, including informed and skilled engagement with the quality mass media, using proven methods of academic–industry cooperation, workshops to help editors and reviewers to better understand practice-linked, values-driven research issues and the creation of a policy-makers' industry and researchers' action group to encourage joint projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • research agenda
  • researchers' behaviour
  • science–policy gap
  • sustainable tourism mobility


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