We know that many people are keen to understand more about the REF 2021 rules, and to begin planning and considering the ways they may best be implemented for their institution. There are several aspects of the high-level framework that continue from the previous exercise; but there are also key changes to the submission process…
Latest news on REF 2021
- outputs – 60 per cent
- impact – 25 per cent
- environment – 15 per cent
Read full details on the initial decisions here:
On 19 July HEFCE held a webinar providing updates on REF 2021 policy developments related to the submission of staff and output portability. You can read two blogs (links provided below) which contain full details of the developments. Here are the main points:
UK funding bodies
- Accept Stern’s view that all academic staff who have any significant responsibility to undertake research should be returned to the REF and intend to take an inclusive approach
- But also recognise that there is no clear alternative to easily identify staff with a significant responsibility to undertake research
Based on the above, HEIs are given two options in relation to staff submission:
- 100% of staff submission – straightforward, no burden associated with staff selectivity
- Institutional identification of staff who are not required to carry out research and hence not submitting those staff members – high burden in terms of high selectivity and documentation. an auditable evidence will need to be provided where there is no expectation to undertake research (e.g. career pathway or workload model)
Portability or non-portability of research
Funding bodies are putting forward the following models:
- Both, ‘old’ and ‘new’ institutions would have credit for an output, i.e. the institution where the research output was demonstrably generated and at which the member of staff was employed would be able to retain full credit. However, the credit would also go to the new institution.
- Hybrid model, limited non-portability from a set point in time. This is complicated(!): a date will be set from which new rules will apply. This means there will be 2 rules in operation depending on whether the academic moved before or after the set date.
– If they move before the set date, they can take their outputs with them and only the new institution can claim these outputs (full portability, as in REF 2014).
– If they move after the set date they will be able to take a limited number of outputs (probably max of 2, tbc).
– Any other outputs could be submitted by the institution where an academic was employed when the output was first publicly made available.
- The proposals concerning both staff selectivity and the portability of outputs remain loose and require clarity and precision
- HEFCE will initiate a period of discussion with institutions about the precise wording of the broad proposals provided above
- Initial decisions on these issues will come out in autumn
Please visit the following blogs for the full details:
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.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org
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/
According to REF 2014 definition, research is a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.
In the next series of our posts we will be focusing on research and research outputs, with particular emphasis on research in Art & Design.
Breaking down the REF definition in smaller components of ‘process of investigation’, ‘leading to new insights‘ and ‘effectively shared‘ may offer a useful means to study this definition more closely. This post will look at the ‘process of investigation’ and ‘leading to new insights’
‘Process of investigation’ or a process of inquiry is mainly concerned with research strategy and methodology. More traditional research methodologies are characterized by well-established and widely shared strategy and procedures, using very clear research methods (Haseman and Mafe, 2009). For example, let’s try to map the above REF definition with social research paradigm:
‘process of investigation’ needs to:
- Have clearly stated aims, that are
- Related to existing knowledge and needs, and that are
- Investigated within limitations imposed through time, money and opportunity
- Use precise and valid data collected and used in a justifiable way
‘new insights’ need to:
- Contribute something new to knowledge
- Produce finding from which generalizations can be made (Denscombe, 2002)
Artists and creative practitioners do not always operate within conventional research strategies and methodological assumptions, although some traditional methodologies may meet some of the artists’ needs (e.g. reflective practice, action research , grounded theory and participant observation). Practice based research is a distinctive and widely established research strategy with the methods stemming from long-standing and accepted working methods and practices of the creative disciplines (Haseman and Mafe, 2009)
What is Practice based research?
Carole Gray in Inquiry through practice: developing appropriate research strategies proposes the following definition and sets out two aspects:
‘… firstly, research which is initiated in practice, where questions, problems, challenges are identified and formed by the needs of practice and practitioners; and secondly, that the research strategy is carried out through practice, using predominantly methodologies and specific methods familiar to us as practitioners in the visual arts.’
Gray’s definition offers practice as a focal point of the research process: the questions are informed by the practice and the investigation is carried out through practice. The main quality of the methodology seems to be responsiveness, driven by the requirements of practice and the creative dynamic of the artwork.
According to Gray, practice and theory are reciprocal. Critical practice generates theory and theory informs practice. One of the characteristics of practice-based research is the use of visual and multi media methods of information gathering, selection, analysis, synthesis, presentation/communication.
Some of the specific research methods used within practice based research are:
making art/design work; observation and drawing (in all forms);sketchbook/notebook, idiosyncratic notation/symbol; visual diaries/self reflection/personal narrative/ critical writing; photography, video, sound; models/maquettes, experimentation with materials; concept mapping, diagrams; use of metaphor and analogy; organisational and analytical matrices, flow charts, story boards; multimedia/hypermedia applications; modelling/simulations, soft systems; electronic databases, visual and textual glossaries and archives. These have been augmented with useful social science methods, usually adapted in some way, e.g.: case study, participant-observation, personal constructs, interviews, questionnaires, multidimensional analysis, evaluative techniques like semantic differential, multiple sorting.
References: Denscombe,M.(2002) Ground Rules for Good Research: a 10 point guide for social researchers, Maidenhead: Open University Press pp.2-3 Gray, C.(1996) Inquiry through practice: developing appropriate research strategies, available at: http://carolegray.net/Papers%20PDFs/ngnm.pdf [accessed on 23 May, 2017] Haseman,B. Mafe, D.(2009) Acquiring Know-How: Research Training for Practice-led Researchers. In: H.Smith, R.T.Dean,ed., Practice-led Research, Research-led Practice in the Creative Arts, 1st ed. Edinburgh:Edinburgh University Press Ltd., pp.211-228
This post is based on the analysis of the impact case studies submitted to REF 2014, carried out by King’s College London team. Read the full analysis here
REF 2014 was the first exercise to assess the impact of research outside of academia. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) submitted case studies to REF 2014 which aimed to showcase how research undertaken over the past 20 years had benefited society beyond academia – whether in the UK or globally. The case studies outline the effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life that have arisen from research.
Key findings of the analysis
- Over 85% of REF 2014 impact case studies included multidisciplinary research
- Case studies were diverse and wide ranging
- The impact of UK HEIs is global
- ‘Informing government policy‘ was the largest type of impact across all panels, followed by ‘Parliamentary scrutiny‘ and ‘Technology commercialisation’
- Interestingly, despite the allowable period for underpinning research stretching back to 1993, the majority of research cited was published since 2008
- Top beneficiaries of impact from case studies submitted to REF 2014 are companies, students and children. The top three beneficiaries of impact from the case studies submitted to Panel D (Art & Design: History, Practice and Theory) are students, schools and communities. Click here to see the distribution of all potential beneficiaries of research impact found in REF 2014 case studies.
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
- 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
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”