Monographs and Open Access

We said in our previous blog that monographs and other long-form research outputs need not be available in an open-access form to be eligible for REF 2021 submission. However, it seems like we will be moving towards open-access requirement for monographs in the following REF (REF 2028?). HEFCE has flagged this intention in the consultation document (Annex C).






REF 2021 Consultation: key proposals

Consultation on the Research Excellence Framework, following Lord Stern’s recommendations on REF has been published.  The sector has until 17th March 2017 to respond to 44 questions in the consultation, and the new rules are to be finalised in the summer 2017

HEFCE’s consultation seeks responses about the implementation of Stern’s proposals in the next exercise with the intention of reducing the burden associated with the REF process while maintaining high standards in research excellence.

Key proposals

  • All ‘research active’ staff (defined by HESA codes of “research only” and “research and teaching”) should be submitted to the REF
  • Outputs should be decoupled from staff
  • Research outputs should no longer be portable across institutions
  • Institutional level impact case study should be introduced
All ‘research active’ staff should be submitted to REF 2021

Whilst 100% of staff return would provide a fuller picture of the research activity, remove the burden of staff selectivity and take away the stigma attached to the staff not submitted to REF, it may be technically problematic to use HESA codes to capture all staff with responsibility to undertake research. HESA definition for ‘research active’ includes research assistants and therefore HEFCE proposes that a measure of independence is also included in the definition of research-active staff. This approach would potentially deliver a more accurate picture, but would also mean going back towards staff selection and identifying individual staff circumstances, which was highly time consuming and burdensome in REF2014. Also, some comments suggest that contracts of employment may start changing (e.g. ‘teaching only’ contracts) to determine staff eligibility for REF submission. Continue reading “REF 2021 Consultation: key proposals”

REF 2021 Timetable

Proposed timetable for REF 2021 is as follows:

tbc in July 2017

1 August 2013 Start of period for income and impacts
1 January 2014 Start of period for outputs
17 March 2017 Consultation Deadline
Mid 2017 Publish initial decisions on next REF
Mid 2017 Appoint panel chairs Continue reading “REF 2021 Timetable”

Open Access and REF 2021

One of the key aspects of assessing research outputs submitted to REF 2021 will be availability of ALL journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication from 1 April 2016 in the open access form (UCA Research Online). Although this rule does not apply to monographs and other types of outputs ( exhibitions, performances, design work, etc.), HEFCE is intending to give ‘extra points’ to institutions which publish such outputs  on the open access basis, and where the work is presented in a format which can be re-used.

In order to award the ‘extra points’ HEFCE proposes that institutions provide a statement about their Open Access Strategy, supported by the data on the open access outputs and the type of licencing. As part of the REF consultation (paragraph 116) HEFCE seeks the sector’s views on awarding additional credit for open access.


Summary of the Stern Report

Building on Success and Learning from Experience is an independent review of REF 2014 chaired by Lord Stern, president of the British Academy. The review offers recommendations seeking to address the challenges identified in REF 2014, including high cost; staff ‘gaming’, and high selectivity of staff.

Summary of the recommendations:

  1. All research active staff should be returned to the REF. The total number of submissions will depend on the number of full time equivalent (FTE) staff members. Stern recommends an average of 2 outputs per FTE but it will be a departmental exercise with more research active staff being able to submit up to 6 outputs.
  2. Outputs should not be portable. The outputs should stay with the university so staff changing jobs cannot take their outputs with them.
  3. Panels will continue to be assessed on peer review, but there should be an increased use of metrics and panels should be transparent about their use.
  4. Impact: 
    • Universities should be required to submit institutional level impact case studies.
    • Impact case studies could be linked to a research activity and a body of work as well as to a broad range of research outputs.
    • Impact should be widely interpreted to include socio-economic impact, impact on government policy, public engagement and understanding, cultural live, academic impact outside the field and on teaching.
  5. Environment. There should be a new institutional level environment assessment that includes the future research environment strategy and how it will support high quality research including interdisciplinary and cross university initiatives.

Click here for an overview of the problems and issues with REF 2014 identified in Stern review. Continue reading “Summary of the Stern Report”

Research Excellence Framework (REF) consultation webinars

A series of webinars on the consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework.

The four UK higher education funding bodies are consulting on detailed arrangements for research assessment in a second Research Excellence Framework.

We are hosting events on the consultation where institutions can raise any issues for clarification and discussion.

We will also be hosting a series of webinars, replicating key content from the consultation events. These are open to all interested parties.

Continue reading “Research Excellence Framework (REF) consultation webinars”

Implementing REF2021 needs the input of the whole research community

In December HEFCE published a consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework – REF2021. We have produced proposals for operationalising all of the Stern recommendations, but we realise that in developing the detailed proposals, there are some options about particular paths to pursue and we are inviting comments about the various options. We also welcome…

via Implementing REF2021 needs the input of the whole research community — HEFCE blog