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    Test your research impact muscles! Are researchers getting the support required to realise the potential impact of their work?

Test your research impact muscles! Are researchers getting the support required to realise the potential impact of their work?

Knowledge and awareness of research impact-related concepts and terminology varies greatly among researchers around the world. To help researchers test their “research impact muscles” and see how they compare to their peers, Kudos have developed a circus-themed quiz! Lauren McNeill explains how this quick, light-hearted quiz will help researchers increase their understanding of how to maximise the likelihood of […]

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    Where are the rising stars of research working? Towards a momentum-based look at research excellence

Where are the rising stars of research working? Towards a momentum-based look at research excellence

Traditional university rankings and leaderboards are largely an indicator of past performance of academic staff, some of whom conducted the research for which they are most famous elsewhere. Paul X. McCarthy has analysed bibliometric data to see which research institutions are accelerating fastest in terms of output and impact. The same data also offers a glimpse into the future, […]

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    The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

The Social Mobility Commission is dead. So what does this mean for the impacts arising from the social sciences research that informed its reports?

Alan Milburn’s resignation from the Social Mobility Commission likely spells the end for the body that has come to be seen as an exemplar for the use of research evidence in public policy debate. But what happens to the REF potential of the social sciences research that has been cited in the commission’s reports? Can REF panels ignore the […]

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    Rather than promoting economic value, evaluation can be reclaimed by universities to combat its misuse and negative impacts

Rather than promoting economic value, evaluation can be reclaimed by universities to combat its misuse and negative impacts

To critics across higher education, evaluation frameworks such as the REF and TEF represent mechanisms of control, the generation of a “target and terror” culture. Deirdre Duffy explains how the REF and TEF resonate most closely with impact evaluation, a form of evaluation that can prove useful for a simple cost-benefit analysis but can also be problematic as it […]

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    Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

Credit for research outputs should go to the originating institution but with a transitional arrangement for this REF cycle

One of the most contentious aspects of the Stern review of the 2014 REF was the recommendation that research outputs should not be portable in future exercises. The subsequent consultation revealed a significant minority to be in support of this, echoing Stern’s concerns that current rules distort investment incentives and encourage rent-seeking. However, a majority opposed this recommendation as […]

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    The 2014 REF results show only a very weak relationship between excellence in research and achieving societal impact

The 2014 REF results show only a very weak relationship between excellence in research and achieving societal impact

Results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework have, in some quarters, been interpreted as evidence of a direct relationship between the quality of scientific outputs and the degree of societal impact generated by researchers. However, such an interpretation, allied to definitions of impact such as that used by Research Councils UK, arguably promotes a stronger reading of the REF […]

July 19th, 2017|Impact, REF2014|2 Comments|
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    If academics are serious about research impact they need to learn from monitoring, evaluation and learning teams

If academics are serious about research impact they need to learn from monitoring, evaluation and learning teams

The impact of academic research, particularly on policy and the private sector, is an increasingly important component of research assessment exercises and funding distribution. However, Duncan Green argues that the way many researchers think about their impact continues to be pretty rudimentary. A lack of understanding of who key decision-makers are, a less-than-agile response to real-world events, and difficulties […]

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    “This device is licensed”: the material and immaterial bureaucracy of academic research

“This device is licensed”: the material and immaterial bureaucracy of academic research

Derek Dunne draws attention to the hidden bureaucratic labour that is increasingly a part of academic life. Rather than see this as the “white noise” to be tuned out of everyday working practices, he calls for us to question the forms that are put in front of us demanding our acquiescence, whilst also locating potential sites of resistance.

 

“This device is licensed.”

I […]

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    The starting pistol has been fired – now is the time to heed the drive towards open access books

The starting pistol has been fired – now is the time to heed the drive towards open access books

The Consultation on the Second Research Excellence Framework (REF) revealed funding bodies’ intention to extend open access policy to also include monographs by the time of the third REF in the mid-2020s. Despite this being some time away, Martin Eve argues that preparations must begin now. The economic challenges of publishing open access monographs are clear, so time should […]

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    Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Increasing REF’s impact weighting could offer incentive for institutions to address societal, economic and global challenges

Challenges posed by events such as Brexit highlight the importance of excellent research programmes. Moreover, they represent a broader context in which the next Research Excellence Framework must consider ‘impact’. But do current REF proposals go far enough towards doing this? Matthew Guest argues that there is not enough of an incentive for institutions to address heightened societal, economic […]

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    The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting

Writing is crucial to an academic’s role of producing, shaping and distributing knowledge. However, academic writing itself is increasingly being shaped by the contemporary university’s managerial practices and evaluation frameworks. Sharon McCulloch describes how her research on academics’ writing practices has revealed tensions around the ways in which managerial practices interact with academics’ individual career goals, disciplinary values and […]

A call to build an impact literate research culture

Last week, Julie Bayley spoke at the 2016 Research Impact Summit, hosted by Knowledge Translation Australia. During her presentation she discussed many of the challenges faced when introducing an impact agenda to the academic community, and how the concept of impact literacy can help. An extended version of the presentation has been made available online, but Julie outlines the key points below.

Consider impact. A […]

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    To argue against open access on the grounds that it damages the reach of research is to undersell research.

To argue against open access on the grounds that it damages the reach of research is to undersell research.

In this article, Ben Johnson posits that the frequently asked questions concerning open access implementation for particular disciplines arise from an incomplete conception of the nature of openness more generally. This conception neglects one vital component of openness: connection. Connection requires moving beyond a view of open access as a disruptive process towards a more nuanced picture of the interrelationship between openness, […]

Open Access, the Impact Agenda and resistance to the neoliberal paradigm

Yesterday’s post introduced the context of neoliberalism as the backdrop of change in higher education. Here Martin Eve provides further clarification of the neoliberal context, linking the impact agenda under the Research Excellence Framework as a key trait of a privatised market. But Martin is not convinced that open access also fall under this commodification paradigm but rather sees OA as […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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 […]

November 7th, 2011|REF2014|2 Comments|
This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.