The REF goes on

Posted in Research on March 28th, 2021 by steve

“A few communications with former colleagues from the United Kingdom last week reminded me that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the deadline for submissions to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework is next week. It seems very strange to me to push ahead with this despite the Coronavirus disruption, but it’s yet another sign that academics have to serve the bureaucrats rather than the other way round …” (more)

[In the Dark, 27 March]

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Out of the REF

Posted in Research on November 25th, 2020 by steve

Ireland“I was talking over Zoom with some former colleagues from the United Kingdom last week, and was surprised to learn that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 Research Excellence Framework is ploughing ahead next year, only slightly delayed. There’s no stopping bureaucratic juggernauts once they get going …” (more)

[In the Dark, 25 November]

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Why pausing the REF makes sense but axing it doesn’t

Posted in Research on March 25th, 2020 by steve

“Yesterday’s announcement that the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) is to be placed on hold ‘until further notice’ is a welcome move by Research England and UKRI, in response to the deepening Covid-19 crisis …” (more)

[James Wilsdon, Wonkhe, 25 March]

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UK universities hiring ‘superstar’ professors to boost research rankings

Posted in Research on October 5th, 2018 by steve

“British universities are imitating Premier League football clubs by poaching ‘superstar’ talent, rewarding an elite group of professors with higher pay in order to boost their research rankings, according to a study …” (more)

[Richard Adams, Guardian, 5 October]

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Open access – are we almost there for REF?

Posted in Research on June 14th, 2018 by steve

“A report published today by Research England (on behalf of the research councils, Jisc and Wellcome) shows that UK universities are working hard to ensure that they are compliant with funders’ open access policies. The support from authors, professional services staff and academic libraries has been crucial in implementing open access …” (more)

[David Sweeney, Wonkhe, 14 June]

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Universities’ league table obsession triggers mental health crisis fears

Posted in Research on June 12th, 2018 by steve

“Academic researcher John Banks (not his real name) still has big personal regrets about bowing to pressure from his former university in the run-up to the government’s last high-stakes audit of research. Universities obsess about the government’s Research Excellence Framework, known as the Ref, with good reason …” (more)

[Anna Fazackerley, Guardian, 12 June]

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‘New elite’ emerges as UK ranking combines TEF and REF

Posted in Governance and administration on March 16th, 2018 by steve

“A new league table that attempts to combine the results of the teaching and research excellence frameworks demonstrates that a ‘new elite’ of universities is emerging in UK higher education. That is the claim of two senior university leaders who created the ranking by putting together grade point averages from the 2014 REF, weighted for the number of staff submitted, and the average score across the six metrics underpinning the 2017 TEF …” (more)

[Simon Baker, Times Higher Education, 15 March]

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The RAE/REF have engendered evaluation selectivity and strategic behaviour, reinforced scientific norms, and further stratified UK higher education

Posted in Research on February 13th, 2018 by steve

“The UK’s periodic research assessment exercise has grown larger and more formalised since its first iteration in 1986. Marcelo Marques, Justin JW Powell, Mike Zapp and Gert Biesta have examined what effects it has had on the submitting behaviour of institutions, considering the intended and unintended consequences in the field of education research …” (more)

[LSE Impact Blog, 13 February]

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We need blind marking in the REF, too

Posted in Research on January 11th, 2018 by steve

“With the final decision on the rules for the 2021 research excellence framework having been announced towards the end of last year, anxiety levels are beginning to ramp up again. And women could be forgiven for feeling particularly nervous. A recent study led by Friederike Mengel of the University of Essex found that, on average, and all with other things being equal, university student evaluations gave female instructors a mark 37 points below those of men on a 100-point scale …” (more)

[Graham Farrell, Times Higher Education, 11 January]

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REF cycles ‘force academics to rush out poorer quality research’

Posted in Research on January 4th, 2018 by steve

“An extensive study provides new backing for a claim long advanced by those working in UK universities: that the research excellence framework forces academics to produce scholarship in greater quantity but of poorer quality …” (more)

[Rachael Pells, Times Higher Education, 4 January]

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REF changes could have a bad impact on mental health

Posted in Research on October 1st, 2017 by steve

“In late 2013, I led a project evaluating how universities went about preparing the impact element of their submission to the 2014 research excellence framework. As was widely reported, we estimated that the monetised costs of preparing submissions across the sector was about £55 million …” (more)

[Jonathan Grant, Times Higher Education, 28 September]

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TEF results – How do REF and TEF results compare?

Posted in Governance and administration on June 22nd, 2017 by steve

“My first ever blog for Wonkhe was back in 2014, just after the REF results were released. I compared those results with NSS, to see if they could give us an idea of different institutions’ strategic focuses on research and teaching …” (more)

[David Morris, Wonkhe, 22 June]

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Why is so much research dodgy? Blame the Research Excellence Framework

Posted in Research on October 17th, 2016 by steve

UK“The study of psychology is facing a crisis. A lot of research doesn’t show the same results when the experiment is repeated, and it is critical we address this problem. But the Research Excellence Framework has led to a research culture which is suffocating attempts to stabilise psychology in particular, and science in general …” (more)

[Alex Jones and Andrew Kemp, Guardian, 17 October]

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The Stern Review on REF 2014 – a review of recommendations

Posted in Research on August 23rd, 2016 by steve

UK“Following the recent publishing of the Stern Review of REF 2014, Dr Sergey Popov looks at some of the recommendations contained in the report …” (more)

[QPOL, 22 August]

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Cheap at any price?

Posted in Governance and administration on May 31st, 2016 by steve

UK“In the United Kingdom at least there now appears to be a belief that assuring quality means measuring things. This, as we have noted previously in this blog, lies at the heart of the Research Excellence Framework …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 31 May]

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REF: static ranking raises questions about management policies

Posted in Research on December 24th, 2015 by steve

UK“Universities hoping to enter the top half of the Russell Group based on research prowess are likely to be disappointed because their position in academia’s unofficial pecking order seldom changes substantially, a study suggests …” (more)

[Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 24 December]

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Why I had to quit the research excellence framework panel

Posted in Research on November 19th, 2015 by steve

UK“Despite some whispers that the research excellence framework (REF) might be scrapped, the government’s higher education Green Paper, published earlier this month, indicates that it will remain – possibly subject to a metrics-based interim ‘refreshment’. There is even a proposal to introduce a version for teaching. That is a pity …” (more)

[Times Higher Education, 19 November]

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Metrics-based mini REF ‘won’t be credible’

Posted in Research on November 10th, 2015 by steve

UK“A proposed additional assessment of research quality between research excellence frameworks based on metrics such as citations rather than peer review would not be seen as credible, according to one of the authors of a major government-commissioned report on the subject …” (more)

[David Matthews, Times Higher Education, 10 November]

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Was the REF a waste of time? Strong relationship between grant income and quality-related funding allocation

Posted in Research on August 25th, 2015 by steve

UK“If the funding allocated to universities on the basis of the REF is correlated to the grant funding universities already receive, what is the point of the output assessment process? …” (more)

[Jon Clayden, Impact of Social Sciences, 25 August]

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Why did REF2014 cost three times as much as the RAE? Hint: It’s not just because of the added impact element

Posted in Research on August 4th, 2015 by steve

UK“The benefits of any research assessment framework should ideally outweigh the costs and burden incurred by universities and staff. Derek Sayer argues there should be cause for concern now that recent analysis shows the 2014 REF bill was three times as much as the last UK assessment exercise …” (more)

[Impact of Social Sciences, 3 August]

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