Category: REF2020

The REF’s focus on linear and direct impact is problematic and silences certain types of research

In the last Research Excellence Framework (REF), the new element of research impact was understood in very linear and direct terms. Aoileann Ní Mhurchú, Laura McLeod, Stephanie Collins and Gabriel Siles-Brügge consider how accepted definitions of impact may have had the effect of silencing certain types of research. Research and impact should be seen as a two-way street, where academics […]

What makes research excellent? Digging into the measures aimed at quantifying and promoting research excellence.

“Research excellence” is a tricky concept in theory and arguably trickier to capture in practice. Toni Pustovrh shares findings from a recent study which looks at how research is currently quantified and evaluated in Slovenia. In-depth interviews with scientists reveal a variety of views on the concept and the current mechanisms in place. The analysis suggests that neither a predominantly peer-review based evaluation […]

Making space for the academic book of the future

Yesterday Steven Hill spoke at the University Press Redux conference in Liverpool on the role of policy in shaping the academic book of the future. This post is a summary of the argument of his talk. While there is much potential for innovation, the uptake seems slow. Even when we see the benefits of innovation, the change in process and […]

Ancient Cultures of Conceit Reloaded? A comparative look at the rise of metrics in higher education.

When considering the power of metrics and audit culture in higher education, are we at risk of romanticising the past? Have academics ever really worked in an environment free from ‘measurement’? Roger Burrows draws on his own recollection of the 1986 Research Selectivity Exercise (RSE), scholarly work on academic labour and fictional portrayals of academic life, which all demonstrate the substantial expansion of the role of […]

Top ten tips for universities seeking to implement Open Access

With funders requiring open access and researchers increasingly aware of it, now is the time for universities to make significant headway in providing a coherent plan for encouraging wider open access adoption. Neil Jacobs from Jisc provides an overview of what actions have been taken around the sector and outlines ten specific areas that institutions should consider further in order to […]

The Academic Book of the Future: exploring academic practices and expectations for the monograph.

What does the future hold for academic books? Rebecca Lyons introduces The Academic Book of the Future, a two-year project funded by the AHRC in collaboration with the British Library in which a cross-disciplinary team from University College London and King’s College London explores how scholarly work in the Arts and Humanities will be produced, read, shared, and preserved in […]

Time to abandon the gold standard? Peer review for the REF falls far short of internationally accepted standards.

The REF2014 results are set to be published next month. Alongside ongoing reviews of research assessment, Derek Sayer points to the many contradictions of the REF. Metrics may have problems, but a process that gives such extraordinary gatekeeping power to individual panel members is far worse. Ultimately, measuring research quality is fraught with difficulty. Perhaps we should instead be asking which features […]

Evaluation systems need not be perfect: University research assessment and the ongoing quest for simplicity.

In order to get a perfect assessment method, are we at risk of developing systems that are ever more complex and time-consuming? Dorothy Bishop looks at the differences between readily available measures to award research funding and the highly complicated RAE formula. An evaluation system need not be perfect – it just needs to be ‘good enough’ to provide a basis […]

Five recommendations for using alternative metrics in the future UK Research Excellence Framework

Although many are excited by the possibilities for using alternative metrics to supplement research assessment, others are concerned about the ease with which the figures can be gamed. It is clear that there is already gaming within traditional citation impact metrics in peer reviewed journals and without quality control mechanisms, social media metrics would be susceptible to the same. Mike Thelwall […]