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November 6, 2008
» DIUS abandons plans for different REF systems and confirms to delay the new framework by 12 months

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) announced today the next steps to assess Research Excellence.

DIUS, 24th April 2008: Denham Announces Next Steps to Assess Research Excellence

In a U-turn, the DIUS have abandoned plans for different systems to judge sciences and arts under the proposed Research Excellence Framework (REF). Greater use of statistical and indicators along with input from expert panels will form the basis of the assessment, but the balance will vary according to the subject group.

The DIUS have also confirmed its intention to delay the REF for a year to allow more time to design the new “more flexible” approach.


The Times Higher Education has today also reported on the announcement by the DIUS:

Times Higher Education, 24th April 2008: DIUS abandons plans for different REF systems to judge sciences and arts

» Citation database accuracy queried

The Web of Science has been forced to defend its procedures after academic Richard Hull discovered a ‘bizarre anomaly’. This has raised concerns into whether the Web of Science database will be sufficiently robust enough for use in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework.

For the full story please see Times Higher Education

» Citation database accuracy queried

The Web of Science has been forced to defend its procedures after academic Richard Hull discovered a ‘bizarre anomaly’. This has raised concerns into whether the Web of Science database will be sufficiently robust enough for use in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework.

For the full story please see Times Higher Education

October 8, 2008
» Editors demand an opt-out from journal rankings

The Times Higher has reported that editors of 45 international academic journals have asked for their titles to be removed from a controversial new journal ranking system.

In a joint editorial entitled “Journals under threat: A joint response from history of science, technology and medicine editors”, the 45 editors denounce the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH).

For full article please see The Times Higher Education

» REF could penalise those working across disciplines

The Times Higher Education highlights new research that suggests that the system being set up to replace the RAE could discourage academics from working with colleagues outside their own discipline even though the Government is trying to promote interdisciplinary work.

For the full article please see The Times Higher Education

» Editors demand an opt-out from journal rankings

The Times Higher has reported that editors of 45 international academic journals have asked for their titles to be removed from a controversial new journal ranking system.

In a joint editorial entitled “Journals under threat: A joint response from history of science, technology and medicine editors”, the 45 editors denounce the European Reference Index for the Humanities (ERIH).

For full article please see The Times Higher Education

» REF could penalise those working across disciplines

The Times Higher Education highlights new research that suggests that the system being set up to replace the RAE could discourage academics from working with colleagues outside their own discipline even though the Government is trying to promote interdisciplinary work.

For the full article please see The Times Higher Education

May 9, 2008
» This week's REF reports

There are a number of articles in the Times Higher Education this week, 8th May, relating to the RAE and REF which staff might be interested in.

REF could leave universities with ‘huge’ bill, expert warns
This article reports on a conference speech made last week by Linda Butler, head of the Reserach Evaluation and Policy Project at the Australian National University. Based on the Australian model where a similar metrics system was implemented, Ms Butler warns that Institutions could be faced with a “huge” bill in terms of purchasing data, implementation costs and staff time.

REF may cause metrics ‘creep’, analyst warns
This article mainly reports on the comments of Dr Jonathan Adams, the director of Evidence Ltd who warns of the potential under the REF for metrics to be incorporated into some non-science subjects. Also reported is the announcement of a forthcoming tool, “You are the REF” to simulate how institutions may fare under the REF.

Hefce backtracks to test post-RAE plans
Hefce plans to review the original proposals for the REF in a planned pilot exercise. Selected institutions will be selected to take part in the pilot in early June culminating in a pilot consultation in Spring 2009.

Measures without meaning
This opinion article comments on the announcement last month by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills that there will now be a new overarching framework for all subjects. Ron Johnston, Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol (former VC of University of Essex) explains the need for experts to reward research excellence especially within non-STEM subjects rather than rely on quantitative indicators which may not be able to produce reliable indicators of quality within these disciplines.

Please contact Dr Sarah Oldfield, Research Excellence Manager, should you require any further information.

April 25, 2008
» HEFCE publishes analysis to REF consultation

HEFCE yesterday published an analysis of responses to the REF consultation received from HEIs and other key bodies. An overview is provided and responses to the specific questions asked during the consultation are detailed. Please follow the link below to view the news article posted by HEFCE (which also comments on yesterdays announcement from the DIUS) from which the analysis can be accessed.

HEFCE, 24th April 2008: Analysis of responses to the REF consultation

In relation to the announcement by the DIUS to abandon plans for different REF systems to judge sciences and arts, the analysis details the clear concerns raised by respondants over the split between the two main subject disciplines.

I am able to report that from correspondance with HEFCW, although there are no plans to publish a Wales-wide analysis of the REF consultation, the points raised in the responses from Wales were generally consistent with those identified in the UK-wide analysis.

If you require any further information please contact Dr Sarah Oldfield, Research Excellence Manager, Ext. 4484, sfoldfie@glam.ac.uk

April 16, 2008
» Launch of REF to be delayed a year

On the 10th April 2008, the Times Higher Education published the following article on the expected announcement that the implementation of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) will be delayed by a year:

Times Higher Education, 10th April 2008: Launch of REF to be delayed by a year

The decision to delay the REF for science-based subjects is believed to be based on responses received to the recent consulation which called for more emphasis to be placed on the robustness of the REF and consequently more time to develop the framework.

The secretary of state for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) will make an announcement next week and is expected to confirm the postponement of the REF planned for science-based subjects.

Hefce still remain committed to the full implementation of the REF by 2014.

If you require any further information please contact Dr Sarah Oldfield, Research Office, on x4484 or email sfoldfie@glam.ac.uk