Category: REF2021

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

The impacts agenda is an autonomous push for opening up and democratizing academia, not part of a neo-liberal hegemony

Improving academic impact has been given a bad name in some academic circles, who link it to a near-conspiracy theory view of the powers of ‘neo-liberalism’. But Patrick Dunleavy and Jane Tinkler argue that (despite one or two bureaucratic distortions, like the REF), the impacts agenda is centrally about enhancing the efficacy of scientific and … Continued

The rush to research COVID-19 risks compromising research integrity and impact

This is the first post in a six-week series: Rapid or Rushed? exploring rapid response publishing in covid times. Much academic research is currently characterised by a rush to capture the effects of COVID-19. However, impact in the social sciences depends on researchers taking the time to look after themselves, exchange knowledge with others – … Continued