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

Levelling the playing field: maternity leave, paternity leave and the REF

For many academics, balancing research life and family life is a great challenge, and one which has not always been adequately taken account of by research assessments. Professor Athene Donald considers the initial recommendations regarding maternity leave in the REF, and welcomes the most recent HEFCE statement on this important issue. The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), which has been used […]

Print Friendly
November 7th, 2011|REF2014|2 Comments|

Unclear REF provisions stand to punish academics who take brief maternity leaves. Researchers should be allowed to submit a reduced number of outputs in line for each period of leave taken.

As the consultation deadline for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) draws closer, Dr Anne Haour considers whether current provisions may penalize academics who have had children within the last funding cycle but have been unable to take more than 14 months in maternity leave to care for them. A response from HEFCE is also included at the end of this […]

Print Friendly

Cite or Site? The current view of what constitutes ‘academic publishing’ is too limited. Our published work must become truly public.

Producing papers for a growing number of journals with an ever shrinking audience risks diminishing the potential of the impact of academic work. Pat Lockley and Mark Carrigan consider the incentives of the current system of academic publishing and call for a new definition. Cite or site? Citation, or the seeking of capital via academic publishing, is obviously unavoidable for […]

Print Friendly

Opposition to impact criteria stems from disciplines wanting to retain their own systems of quality control and their distinctive identities.

The inclusion of impact measurement in the 2014 REF has generated anxiety and unease for academics, especially those in the humanities. This anxiety is connected to the university’s need to preserve disciplinary autonomy writes Jon Adams, who considers how impact passes a crucial element of control out of the hands of the departments, and into the hands of the public. […]

Print Friendly

Impact is a strong weapon for making an evidence-based case for enhanced research support but a state-of-the-art approach to measurement is needed

Research impact may be a new feature of the Research Excellence Framework, but the research evaluation community has been assessing impact since the 1990s. Claire Donovan believes it is time to stop reinventing the wheel and to ask what, after nearly two decades of development, is state-of-the-art in assessing research impact? In the UK there has been scant engagement between […]

Print Friendly

Across Europe there is a fundamental failure to agree on the value of research. Classifying academic and government perspectives on impact is a step towards settling the debate

The questions of defining ‘impact’ and confirming the value of academic research are hot topics for the higher education community not only in the UK, but around the world. Paul Benneworth, project leader at HERAVALUE, here discusses three communities with interests in impact – governments looking for impact, researchers investigating impact, and academics who deliver the impact – and argues […]

Print Friendly

HEFCE are still missing a trick in not adopting citations analysis. But plans for the REF have at least become more realistic about what the external impacts of academic work are

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) remains deeply conservative in not using citations analysis for academic assessment. But it has now changed its previous policies of ‘asking for the moon’ when judging the external impacts of academic research. Patrick Dunleavy finds that HEFCE’s definition of what counts as an external impact has been greatly broadened. The criteria for […]

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