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 […]

Print Friendly

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 […]

Print Friendly

5 Minutes with Professor Rachel Pain: “Research capacity is our greatest resource, and collaboration at any level has the potential to make for excellent research”

Rachel Pain talks with Mark Carrigan to discuss the impact agenda, collaborative research, and the distinct opportunities and challenges posed to the academic community by the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). She finds that now is the time for universities to re-evaluate existing relations within and between the academy and wider society. Especially in this time of austerity, universities should look […]

Print Friendly

Departmental H-Index is a more transparent, fair and cost-effective method for distributing funding to universities.

There is growing concern that the contentious journal impact factor is being used by universities as a proxy measure for research assessment. In light of this and the wider REF2014 exercise, Dorothy Bishop believes we need a better system for distributing funding to universities than the REF approach allows. A bibliometric measure such as a departmental H-index to rank departments would […]

Print Friendly
February 8th, 2013|Impact, REF2014|12 Comments|

REF nightmares before Christmas

In a moment of frivolity Athene Donald sketched out how a REF committee in a dysfunctional department might pan out. As chair of her own local REF committee she is delighted to say my own  experiences bear no relationship to this sad state of affairs, however complex our discussions may get. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited  the […]

Print Friendly
December 20th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|0 Comments|

REF Advice Notes 3: What will Hefce count as ‘under-pinning’ research?

Many possible Impact Cases are likely to raise issues about whether they are sufficiently grounded on what the REF audit Panels can recognize as ‘2* research’. The Funding Council’s overly restrictive ‘physical science’ view of how research influences policy has created an artificial minefield of pointless obstacles. However, Jane Tinkler and Patrick Dunleavy show how with skill and persistence, departments can navigate successfully […]

Print Friendly
October 29th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|0 Comments|

REF Advice Note 2: Identifying ‘possibles’ for your Impact Case Study

In the second of our free Advice Note series on how to write Impact Case Studies for the REF, Patrick Dunleavy explains how to sift out achievements that are ‘possible’ Cases and to begin developing them successfully. The key thing here is to stay auditable and to ‘process trace’ in as much detail as you can how your research achieved […]

Print Friendly
October 24th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|2 Comments|

REF Advice Note 1: Understanding Hefce’s definition of Impact

English universities have begun spending millions of pounds and thousands of staff hours on preparing for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Some of these resources will be devoted to the 5,000 Impact Case Studies that will be used by the funding council  (Hefce) to allocate a fifth of government research funding. In a new series the LSE Impacts project team […]

Print Friendly
October 22nd, 2012|Impact, REF2014|4 Comments|

Will the REF disadvantage interdisciplinary research? The inadvertent effects of journal rankings

A failure to engage in interdisciplinary work risks creating intellectual inbreeding and could push research away from socially complex issues. Ismael Rafols asks why there is a bias against interdisciplinary research, and why the REF will work to suppress an otherwise useful body of research.

Since the introduction of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in the late 1980s (now the […]

Print Friendly
October 1st, 2012|Impact, REF2014|3 Comments|

The onset of the REF means that developing an academic publishing strategy is vital

In a rush to publish papers before the forthcoming cut-off point for the Research Excellence Framework, academics and publishers might find themselves facing a long publishing back-log. Alex Hope finds that the only way to cope is to develop an academic publishing strategy. Recently I tweeted the fact that I had received a rejection email from a high ranking journal […]

Print Friendly

Women academics publish less than men. Or do they…?

Publishing can sometimes be seen as acting as the fuel behind the academic world. Yet, across social sciences, woman are not publishing their share of research papers. Karen Schucan-Bird fears that if they are not publishing at a level comparable to their male counterparts, woman are left standing at a career disadvantage. We all know how important it is to publish […]

Print Friendly

Between knotweed and the deep blue sky: Exploring the debate about the value of science

Is investment in blue-sky research only a good idea because it may lead to marketable discoveries? Brigitte Nerlich thinks not and warns that a stronger semantic link needs to be established between blue-sky research and non-instrumental research; one that cannot be gnawed through by those engaged in an academic rat-race Knotweeds and rats Last week (1 June, 2012) and I was reading the […]

Print Friendly
June 7th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|2 Comments|

When was the last time you asked how your published research was doing?

As citation counts, h-indexes, and impact become increasingly important to matters of funding and promotion, Melissa Terras asks why more scholars are not chasing up publishers to find out how their work is faring among the online audience, and makes some pleasing discoveries on how her own research has been received. A month or so ago, I posted about whether […]

Print Friendly

Are institutions over-reacting to impact?

It’s understandable that academics whose research area does not lend itself to impact and those whose roles are mainly teaching will feel alienated by the impact agenda. Adam Golberg writes that increased recognition for one type of academic activity need not be interpreted as an attack on the status and importance of others. There was an interesting article and leader in last […]

Print Friendly
May 15th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|2 Comments|

How predictable is the REF?

As universities prepare their submissions to the Research Excellence Framework, it’s important to know whether the results of the REF could be approximated using other proxy measures. Patrick Dunleavy has argued vocally for using bibliometrics however, Chris Hanretty investigates how predictable the REF is — and whether we can generate predictions now based on leading indicators of “research excellence”. One […]

Print Friendly
April 24th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|2 Comments|

The REF doesn’t capture what government wants from academics or how academic impact on policymaking takes place

Following on from the recent debate at the ‘From Research to Policy: Academic Impacts on Government’ conference, Jane Tinkler finds that the academic expertise and luck required for a piece of research to be considered valuable by government in policymaking is not valued by the Research Excellence Framework. This month saw the second major event from the Impact of Social […]

Print Friendly

It’s possible to take advantage of the REF – to work between its lines – and approach it as an exercise in reconstructing the knowledge translations that researchers enacted in the past.

Alongside petitions against the REF, we have also seen the growth of campaign groups that promote the impact of academic research. Simon Smith charts the concerns and counterarguments made by HEFCE and its critics and ends up finding cause for optimism.   My interest in the REF really began when I became aware of the UCU petition against the inclusion […]

Print Friendly
March 5th, 2012|Impact, REF2014|1 Comment|

The REF will strangle our vibrant academic community: it will alter morale, academic valuation of our work, and the way in which we do it

As researchers debate ideas of how to create an academic impact in preparation for the REF, Dr Peter Wells looks at the impact that the REF stands to have on academics, their morale and the ways in which they work.   The main avowed purpose of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is as a mechanism to inform the distribution of […]

Print Friendly
January 23rd, 2012|Impact, REF2014|3 Comments|

The REF follows a model which ignores academic engagement with the public and is already being rejected by US researchers for being ‘outdated’.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is too busy playing catch-up with American styles of impact assessment to notice that its model is tired, old and outdated, argues Danny Quah. Any assessment of academic impact must include engagement with the public, and therefore must acknowledge the growth of academic blogging. . Mark Thoma’s thoughtful article, “New Forms of Communication and the […]

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