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    Research assessment, altmetrics and tools for determining impact: Reading list for #HEFCEmetrics review launch.

Research assessment, altmetrics and tools for determining impact: Reading list for #HEFCEmetrics review launch.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, has announced that HEFCE are arranging an independent review of the role of metrics in research assessment and management. The Impact blog welcomes this review and will look to encourage wider discussion and debate on how research is currently assessed and how it could be in years to come. Over the last […]

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    HEFCE announces Open Access policy for the next REF in the UK: Why this Open Access policy will be a game-changer.

HEFCE announces Open Access policy for the next REF in the UK: Why this Open Access policy will be a game-changer.

With the final consultation period now over, the Open Access policy for the next REF has been released. Alma Swan looks at the rollout which requires the deposit of articles into repositories and finds this is pragmatic but good policymaking. With that simple requirement, the culture in British universities can be shifted towards open access. Swan also notes areas where […]

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Book Review: Achieving Impact in Research edited by Pam Denicolo

Achieving Impact in Research aims to address the importance of understanding and achieving impact for the purposes of gaining research funding and reporting achieved impact for the Research Excellence Framework (REF).The book includes contributions from researchers and researcher developers who feel that impact is ill-defined and poorly understood despite its prevalence in policy documents, websites and institutional activities. Catherine Easton finds that this a […]

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A Bayesian approach to the REF: finding the right data on journal articles and citations to inform decision-making.

Now that the REF submission window has closed, a small panel of academics are tasked with rating thousands of academic submissions, which will result in university departments being ranked and public money being distributed. Given the enormity of the task and the scarcity of the resources devoted to it, Daniel Sgroi discusses a straightforward procedure that might help, based on the […]

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As the REF submission period ends, mismatched publishing incentives signal challenging times ahead in academia.

Academics are frequently subject to new types of evaluations. November marks the end of the submission process for the UK funding council’s evaluation, the Research Excellence Framework (REF). John Hudson discusses some of the shortcomings of the REF and the methods individual papers are ranked. New evaluations and requirements change the incentives of economists and can affect their research – sometimes […]

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The Matthew effect and REF 2014: Funding disparities between UK universities may cause greater strains over time.

As the submission deadline for REF2014 draws nearer, there is a need to reflect on how the subsequent allocation of funding will affect the UK research environment. Dorothy Bishop argues that the rumoured funding formula would dramatically increase the gulf between the elite and other institutions and that if funding continues to be concentrated only in elite institutions with a high […]

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November 13th, 2013|Impact, REF 2014|0 Comments|

What happens when you make a book open access? New business models are emerging, but challenges still remain.

Initial studies into the effect of open access monographs suggest little to no impact on sales, but an increase in discoverability and online usage. But there are still many hurdles to overcome before OA books become a routine option for scholars. Ellen Collins and Caren Milloy present an overview of how the OAPEN-UK research project is exploring disciplinary norms and emerging […]

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The academic career path has been thoroughly destabilised by the precarious practices of the neoliberal university.

It is an increasingly difficult time to begin an academic career. The pressures of the REF, casualization and adjunctification of teaching and the disappearance of research funding are enormous obstacles academics face. Sydney Calkin looks at how academics have in many ways become model neoliberal subjects. How might we effectively challenge the growing acceptance of the unpaid, underpaid, zero hours work within […]

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Book Review: Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research

Traditional textbooks on research methods tend to ignore, or gloss over, how research questions are constructed. In this text, Mats Alvesson & Jorgen Sandberg seek to challenge researchers to look past the easy or obvious choices and create more interesting and rewarding questions. Joanna Lenihan feels that this is potentially a valuable and practical tool for researchers and could be integrated into […]

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Getting Somewhere: HEFCE Proposals on Open Access for a Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework

Proposals for how the UK government intends to mandate open access for research assessment have been issued, along with the invitation for the academic community to respond. Meera Sabaratnam and Paul Kirby welcome the clarification on these policies and look ahead to what remains to be done to ensure an appropriate restructuring of the current publishing system. Last week, the UK’s Higher Education Funding Council for England […]

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Impact factors declared unfit for duty

Last week the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment was published. This document aims to address the research community’s problems with evaluating individual outputs, a welcome announcement for those concerned with the mis-use of journal impact factors. Stephen Curry commends the Declaration’s recommendations, but also highlights some remaining difficulties in refusing to participate in an institutional culture still beholden to the impact […]

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The apparatus of research assessment is driven by the academic publishing industry and has become entirely self-serving

Peer review may be favoured as the best measure of scientific assessment ahead of the REF, but can it be properly implemented? Peter Coles does the maths on what the Physics panel face and finds there simply won’t be enough time to do what the REF administrators claim. Rather, closed-access bibliometrics will have to be substituted at the expense of legitimate […]

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May 14th, 2013|REF 2014|15 Comments|

Absence of impact used to be the fashionable thing to claim

Amidst the time-consuming intensity of compiling submissions for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), Athene Donald reflects on how the necessity of demonstrating research impact has been understood over the years. While there are even identifiable shifts from 2008′s RAE assessment, more substantially divergent is the 18th century view where practical applications of research could actually do great damage to the status […]

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Heroic impact narratives create a dangerous divide between the researcher and the local context

At a time when researchers are expected to demonstrate ‘impact’, it can be tempting to rely on heroic research narratives that paint the researcher as a kind of evidence-based savior. Pat Thomson warns against the use of this type of narrative, arguing these bombastic stories fail to convey the complexity of the situation and the agency of the actors involved. Change, […]

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April 26th, 2013|Impact, REF 2014|0 Comments|

An embedded culture of research impact will not emerge unless universities think beyond the REF

The common impact narrative, illustrated best by the Research Excellence Framework, is one of ‘accountability’ – impact as the most effective way of demonstrating research’s value for money. But research impact is much broader than this limited bureaucratic understanding. Andrew Clappison warns that universities must not lose sight of the need for a more balanced approach that empowers researchers to be active […]

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April 17th, 2013|Impact, REF 2014|3 Comments|

The ‘avalanche of change’ in higher education must be contextualised in terms of the government’s broader neoliberal policies

A recent report from the Institute for Public Policy Research has made headlines calling for urgent transformation of British universities if they are to survive sweeping technological change. From massive open online courses (MOOCs) to open access, John Holmwood argues these changes are less about transformative technology and more about privatised commercialisation and must be understood as part of the wider neo-liberal context in which […]

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The new metrics cannot be ignored – we need to implement centralised impact management systems to understand what these numbers mean

By using the social web to convey both scholarly and public attention of research outputs, altmetrics offer a much richer picture than traditional metrics based on exclusive citation database information. Pat Loria compares the new metrics services and argues that as more systems incorporate altmetrics into their platforms, institutions will benefit from creating an impact management system to interpret these metrics, pulling in […]

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Case studies are a bridge to influence and a versatile method for communicating research findings

Beyond its publicised use in the Research Excellence Framework, James Harvey considers the wider role of the case study as a research method and underlines its often overlooked function as a tool for communicating with different audiences and stakeholders. The case study’s versatility and scope for reflection means the form is an accessible device for communicating research evidence to policy makers and […]

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Making an impact: communicating your research to a ‘stand up radio’ audience

Steven Fielding finds it bizarre that academics spend so much time producing knowledge, which they then share only with a tiny number of people. Radio documentaries are a great way for academics to break down the ivory tower image. It offers a new environment and the opportunity to work with other disciplines and expertise while reaching a much broader audience. In 2010 […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.