Category: REF2021

What does COVID-19 mean for the evaluation of the Impact criterion in REF2021?

The concept of research impact represents, to a degree, a formal way of understanding the productive relationships forged between academic research and the wider world. Unsurprisingly, these relationships took on entirely new dimensions as the COVID-19…

Impact Monoculture – Are all impact case studies the same old story?

The impact of quantitative research measures on academic behaviours have been widely discussed, but the impact of qualitative assessment regimes is more often thought of as benign. Drawing on an analysis of impact case studies submitted to REF 2014, Ju…

To reduce inequalities in research evaluation, give researchers a universal basic income for research impact

As the review of REF2021 begins, Mark Reed proposes that rather than allocating impact funding to a small number of high performing institutions, funding should be allocated more broadly to individual researchers. He argues that not only would this lim…

Industry not harvest: Principles to minimise collateral damage in impact assessment at scale

The recent institutional submissions and conclusion of the first phase of the REF, coupled with the announcement of a wide-ranging review of research assessment in the UK, has provided space for renewed thinking on the state of research assessment. In …

REFlection: An ‘a la carte’ set of reporting standards would be preferable to having to second guess REF guidance.

Following submissions to the REF in March, Pauline Addis and Anthony Atkin reflect on the experience of the professional service staff in producing impact case studies. Highlighting two key challenges faced across the sector, they suggest future assess…

The REF’s singular focus on excellence limits academic diversity

Research assessment exercises, such as the REF ostensibly serve to evaluate research, but they also shape and manage it. Based on a study of REF submissions in the fields of economics, history, business and politics, Engelbert Stockhammer, argues that …

Causality and complexity in impact statements: Is it time to rethink a one-size-fits-all approach to writing about impact?

As part of the REF assessment researchers across STEM and SSH disciplines are required to write about the impact of their research in essentially the same format. Drawing on a linguistic analysis of REF Impact statements from 2014, Andrea Bonaccorsi, h…

For the sake of all involved, we should stop the REF clock

Emily Yarrow and Julie Davies argue any benefits of the current March 31st submission date for REF2021 should not outweigh the human costs to the academics and staff currently working to achieve this deadline. The UK is in the midst of the worst health and financial crises for several generations and the REF deadline of … Continued

The relevance of political science and the public responsibility of political scientists

Political scientists face increasing demands to demonstrate the relevance of their research beyond the academy (the so-called ‘impact agenda’). Matthew Flinders argues that this should be seen less a threat to the discipline’s autonomy than an opportunity to rise to public responsibilities that have always accompanied a political science career. The ‘noble science of politics’ has … Continued