Category: REF 2014

Five Minutes with Trish Greenhalgh: “We need to be clear that research impact isn’t a single dimension.”

Trish Greenhalgh is currently Dean for Research Impact at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. In discussion with Managing Editor Sierra Williams she delves into the nature of academic impact and the remit of her appointment. She finds that many academics still have a naïve and overly rationalistic view of how their work might link with policy. Drawing on the applied […]

Research impact on policy-making is often understood in instrumentalist terms, but more often plays symbolic role.

The idea that research should have an impact on policy is premised on an instrumentalist, or problem-solving theory of research utilisation: namely, that research is valued by policy-makers as a means of adjusting their outputs. Yet Christina Boswell‘s research has shown that expert knowledge is just as likely to be valued for its symbolic function: as a means of substantiating […]

The rejection of metrics for the REF does not take account of existing problems of determining research quality.

Amidst heavy scepticism over the role of metrics in research assessments, Martin Smith wonders whether the flaws of the current system have been fully recognised. There is no system of research assessment that is perfect and peer review may well be a better, although problematic, measure of quality than metrics. But the REF has become disproportionate. The question that arises is […]

Research assessment, altmetrics and tools for determining impact: Reading list for #HEFCEmetrics review launch.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, has announced that HEFCE are arranging an independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment and management. The Impact blog welcomes this review and will look to encourage wider discussion and debate on how research is currently assessed and how it could be in years to come. Over the last two […]

HEFCE announces Open Access policy for the next REF in the UK: Why this Open Access policy will be a game-changer.

With the final consultation period now over, the Open Access policy for the next REF has been released. Alma Swan looks at the rollout which requires the deposit of articles into repositories and finds this is pragmatic but good policymaking. With that simple requirement, the culture in British universities can be shifted towards open access. Swan also notes areas where the […]

Book Review: Achieving Impact in Research edited by Pam Denicolo

Achieving Impact in Research aims to address the importance of understanding and achieving impact for the purposes of gaining research funding and reporting achieved impact for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).The book includes contributions from researchers and researcher developers who feel … Continue reading

A Bayesian approach to the REF: finding the right data on journal articles and citations to inform decision-making.

Now that the REF submission window has closed, a small panel of academics are tasked with rating thousands of academic submissions, which will result in university departments being ranked and public money being distributed. Given the enormity of the task … Continue reading

As the REF submission period ends, mismatched publishing incentives signal challenging times ahead in academia.

Academics are frequently subject to new types of evaluations. November marks the end of the submission process for the UK funding council’s evaluation, the Research Excellence Framework (REF). John Hudson discusses some of the shortcomings of the REF and the methods … Continue reading

The Matthew effect and REF 2014: Funding disparities between UK universities may cause greater strains over time.

As the submission deadline for REF2014 draws nearer, there is a need to reflect on how the subsequent allocation of funding will affect the UK research environment. Dorothy Bishop argues that the rumoured funding formula would dramatically increase the gulf … Continue reading

What happens when you make a book open access? New business models are emerging, but challenges still remain.

Initial studies into the effect of open access monographs suggest little to no impact on sales, but an increase in discoverability and online usage. But there are still many hurdles to overcome before OA books become a routine option for … Continue reading