Over 80% of research outputs meet requirements of REF 2021 open access policy

From Research England 14 June 2018

Sixty one per cent of research outputs known to be in scope for the REF 2021 are meeting open access deposit, discovery and access requirements, with a further twenty per cent reporting a known exception, a report published today shows.

The report details the findings of a survey by the former Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Wellcome Trust, the former Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Jisc. The survey sought to assess how the sector is delivering funders’ open access (OA) policies and to understand some of the challenges the sector faces. The four project partners were also interested in understanding the methods and tools being used across the sector to ensure policy compliance.

Research England’s Executive Chair, David Sweeney, said:

‘Research England is committed to open research and making publically funded research as freely and as widely available as possible is an important part of the research system. We are pleased to see the progress the sector is making with implementing the REF open access policy. We expect institutions to find this benchmark data useful when considering their own practices.’

Results from the survey show that over two thirds of Gold OA charges from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018 were funded by RCUK and/or the Charity Open Access Fund (COAF), highlighting the sector’s reliance on these central funds to support this route to open access.

Respondents also highlighted some of the challenges of open access and the wide variety of systems and software solutions being used to monitor OA compliance, deposit author-accepted manuscripts (AAMs), and track article processing charges (APCs).

Survey responses highlighted the need for greater interoperability between systems, and over fifty percent of universities indicated that they intend to adopt the Jisc Publications Router in the future as one way to address this challenge.

The report comes as Wellcome reviews its open access policy for the first time since 2012. UK Research and Innovation will also carry out an internal review of its OA policies across the research councils over the next year. The REF 2021 OA policy will not be affected by this review.

One hundred and thirteen universities took part in the survey, which was piloted by Research Consulting in spring 2017 and circulated to HEIs during summer 2017.

Survey responses were used to inform the REF decisions on staff and outputs, published in November 2017.

-ENDS-

Notes

  1. Research England shapes healthy, dynamic research and knowledge exchange in English universities. We are responsible for funding, engaging with and understanding these institutions, and working with devolved funding bodies and the Office for Students to understand their strategies, capabilities and capacity. We support and challenge universities to create new knowledge, strengthen the economy, and enrich society. We distribute over £2.2bn to universities in England every year in the form of quality-related research (QR) funding, and via the Higher Education Innovation Fund. We are responsible for administering the Research Excellence Framework, used to inform QR funding, and for delivering the forthcoming Knowledge Exchange Framework. We also support specific activities with dedicated project funding, including the £900m UK Research Partnership Investment Fund, and the £100m Connecting Capability Fund. The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 established Research England as a Council of UK Research and Innovation alongside the seven Research Councils and Innovate UK. www.ukri.org/re@ResEngland
  2. HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018, with its research and knowledge exchange functions assumed by Research England, a new council within UK Research and Innovation. Research England is responsible for providing grant funding to English universities for research and knowledge exchange activities; developing and implementing the Research Excellence Framework in partnership with the UK Higher Education funding bodies; overseeing the sustainability of the Higher Education research base in England; overseeing the £900 million UK Research Partnership Investment Fund; and the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).
  3. As of 1 April 2018 UK Research and Innovation brings together the seven Research Councils (previously represented by RCUK), Innovate UK and Research England.
  4. COAF is a partnership between six health research charities, including the Wellcome Trust, to enable free and unrestricted access to the published outputs of the research they support.
  5. The Wellcome Trust announced an internal review of its open access policy on 5 March 2018.
  6. REF 2021 decisions on staff and outputs can be viewed here.
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Initial decisions on REF 2021: summary points

 

On 1 September HEFCE published their initial decisions on some high-level aspects of REF 2021. Here’s the summary of the decisions:

Assessment and Scoring 

  • As in REF 2014, REF 2021 will assess the following:
    • outputs – 60% (down from 65%)
    • impact– 25% (up from 20%)
    • environment – 15%
  • The five point scale from unclassified to 4* (world leading) remains the same

Outputs

  • There will be strong support for interdisciplinary research: each sub panel will have at least one appointed member to oversee assessment of  interdisciplinary research (also see environment section below)
  • A Reserve output may be submitted when a publication does not appear in time for the REF submission deadline

Environment

The environment template will be expanded and restructured to include:

  • More quantitative data (details tbc in further guidance)
  • Data on research income, income in kind and research degrees awarded (as in REF 2014)
  • Information on enabling impact
  • Information on supporting collaboration beyond HE
  • Information on structures to support interdisciplinarity
  • Unit’s approach to Open Access/open research
  • Impact template (in REF 2014 this was a standalone template)
  • Support for equality and diversity
  • Institutional level information

A standalone institutional level environment statement will not be included in REF 2021 as recommended by the Stern Review.

Impact

  • Definitions of ‘academic impact’ and ‘wider impact’ will be aligned with the Research Councils’ definitions (both are part of the dual support system)
  • Further guidance will be provided around: ‘reach and significance’ of impact; impact arising from public engagement; impact on teaching, to include impact within, as well as beyond, the submitting institution.
  • Impact must be underpinned by  ‘excellent’ research of at least 2* quality and be produced between 01/01/2000 and 31/12/2020. The impact claimed in the case studies must take place between 01/08/2013 and 31/07/2020
  • The impact case study template will be expanded to include more questions and a section on additional contextual data
  • Cases studies will require “routine provision of audit evidence”, but this will remain confidential and not be given to the panel
  • The number of case studies required is still to be decided. It will possibly be linked to the number of outputs
  • Continuation of case studies from 2014 is allowed, but impact must take place during the REF 2021 assessment period (please see 2nd bullet above)

Please click here to view Initial Decisions on REF 2021 full document.

Hefce Webinar 19th July Submitting Staff and Outputs

Hefce REF events

Staff and outputs webinar: 19 July 2017, 0930-1030

Following additional development work on the submission of staff and outputs in REF2021, this webinar aims to share the direction of policy in advance of publications on the initial decisions for the next REF.

At this webinar David Sweeney (Executive Chair Designate, Research England, and Director, Research and Knowledge Exchange, HEFCE) and Kim Hackett (REF Manager, HEFCE) will discuss the developing direction of policy relating to the submission of staff and outputs to REF 2021.

Register for the webinar

Register for the webinar

We encourage delegates to register before the event. If you experience any problems when registering please email researchpolicy@hefce.ac.uk or call 0117 931 7062.

After registering you can test your connection for technical issues on the Workcast website.

A recording of the webinar will be available following the event.

Why we are holding this webinar

Responses to the recent consultation on the second REF showed that some additional development work is needed in order to finalise the framework. This includes work on proposals around the submission of staff and outputs in the assessment.

To inform initial decisions on these areas the REF team have been engaging in dialogue with the sector. This webinar will outline the direction of policy in advance of publications on the initial decisions for REF 2021.

REF and UCA Research Online: a reminder!

It does not matter how good your research article is, if it is not Open Access, it is not eligible for REF!

Open Access is the free, unrestricted online access to research, and is now a national requirement for the next Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The key points:

Journal articles must be uploaded to UCA Research Online within 3 months of their acceptance date (not the publication date) in order to be eligible for REF. This version must be your accepted manuscript (not the publisher’s PDF).

All other research outputs should be uploaded to UCA Research Online (such as book chapters you have authored, exhibitions of your work) as UCA may get extra credit at REF for providing Open Access to all types of research outputs.

Making your work Open Access will also benefit you as a researcher – it helps to raise your research profile, with studies showing increased citation rates.

 Actions

As soon as you are notified that an article has been accepted for publication, upload it to UCA Research Online.

How can I add my research outputs?

Login with your UCA username/password at research.uca.ac.uk

There is a how-to video at research.uca.ac.uk/help/deposit.html

Contact us

Contact us at ucaro@uca.ac.uk

Staff in Library & Student Services can help you on uploading your research, adhering to the policy and any rules from publishers.

To view the REF Open Access policy in full, see: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/year/2016/201635/

Q&A: Outputs

  1. What does “effectively shared” mean in relation to the research outputs?

A research output is a product of the research activity, first brought into the public domain during the REF publication period. We anticipate that the REF 2021 publication period will be 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2020. Click here for REF 2014 definition of research.

2. Will certain output types score more than others?

No, in their guidance UoA 34: Art & Design: History, Practice and Theory state that they would ‘neither advantage nor disadvantage any type of research or form of output, whether it’s physical or virtual, textual or non-textual, visual or sonic, static or dynamic, digital or analogue.’

3. What kind of outputs were submitted to REF 2014 within UoA 34?

For full details on the types of outputs submitted to UoA 34, please refer to the Overview report by Main Panel D, p.86.  It identifies three evident features:

1) the number of artefacts, in the form of physical objects, was only 11% of the total submission.

2) Published material remained core to the sector and formed  57% of the submission. It included authored books, edited books, chapters in books, and journal articles.  Considerable amount of submitted text came from art and design practice.

3) Exhibition activity increased since RAE 2008. This activity was spread relatively evenly across all discipline areas.

4. Will certain publishers or exhibition venues  advantage or disadvantage the outputs?

No, all outputs will be assessed regardless of where they’ve been published or exhibited, as long as they meet REF definition of research.

5. I am working on the revised version of the output that I submitted to the REF 2014. Can I submit it to REF 2021?

According to REF 2014: Panel Criteria and Working Methods (p. 85, para. 55) you can submit an output which includes significant material in common with an output published prior to the REF publication output. The submission should explain how the earlier work was revised to incorporate new material. We expect this to remain same in REF 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

Impact: Tool Kit for Public Engagement with Research

Visiting the Solent Research Conference recently, we had a session from Southampton University on ‘Public Engagement with Research’.

They have developed a tool kit, which is open to all researchers, based on a three step process. You can check this out here-http://www.southampton.ac.uk/per/2017/evaluation-planning.page

As many art research outputs include engaging with the public, this maybe a useful source of information for planning evaluation and impact of projects.

  • What are you trying to achieve with the project?
  • How should this be measured?
  • What do you need to measure for your funder?
  • How will your work contribute to any required reporting to your funder?
  • Can you measure impact?

The AHRC recommend using a logic model for engagement and evaluation planning, and they use the Kirkpatrick Model for levels of potential impact. You can access an example of the Logic model on the above website in step 1.

You can checkout our recent blog on Impact Case Studies for an example of UCA Public Engagement in Research  – Lost In Lace.

Interdisciplinary Research

As discussed in our previous blog the report on UoA 34 mentions that Art & Design (UoA 34) proved itself as a leader in interdisciplinary research. In REF 2014 interdisciplinarity emerged as a distinct and a growing phenomenon, particularly within areas of product and digital design, film, curatorship, media studies, conceptual and performance based art practice.

An interesting point for reflection is that although Art & Design (UoA 34) did feature a significant volume of interdisciplinary research it was not identified as such by the submitting HEIs.

Professor Judith Petts, Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive, University of Plymouth distinguishes several important factors that can impede or encourage interdisciplinary research. Please refer to HEFCE blog for the full article.

The policy landscape
  • Interdisciplinary outputs in REF 2014 were rated equally well to mono- disciplinary ones
  • Despite the fact that the academic community values interdisciplinary research, many would not advise an early-career researcher to participate before they had established their own disciplinary credentials.
Working ‘away from home’
  • Working away from your discipline can be somewhat uncomfortable
General complexities

related to:

  • a large team working across different sites, organisations or sectors; or
  • funders and publishers guiding and sourcing reviewers with the skills and diversity of understanding to ensure robust and effective peer review of interdisciplinary proposals and work
  • Culture and structure of the academic organisations
Opportunities

There is a real opportunity to promote the research landscape that delivers and facilitates interdisciplinary research that addresses complex socio-economic and more global challenges.

Read more below about interdisciplinarity in Stern review and in HEFCE consultation  Continue reading “Interdisciplinary Research”

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