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Research Excellence Framework

Research Excellence Framework

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Research Excellence Framework

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  1. Research Excellence Framework Position at October 2009 David Otley Distinguished Professor of Accounting & Management Lancaster University Management School Chair Main Panel I for RAE 2008 REF October 2009

  2. Issues with RAE 2008 • This is seen by HEFCE / government as: • Too burdensome • Mainly for them and university administrations • But also for the panels • Too incestuous • Captured by academics • Not enough attention given to impact • Problematic funding outcomes for old 5*s • ‘A few simple metrics’ should replace it REF October 2009

  3. Other issues with RAE 2008 • Past sell-by date • Burden on panels to produce profiles • Game-playing helped by early publication of rules and procedures • Late introduction of sub-profile reporting • Strong advice not to use citation data • B&M panel over-stretched ‘Never again’ as concluding motto REF October 2009

  4. The REF – likely ground rules • Much very similar to RAE • Work associated with individuals • Selective inclusion of staff by universities • 4 (or perhaps 3) research outputs • Profiles will be used • Much the same panel structure • Although B&M (and A&F) need re-organization • Panels will exercise judgment, informed by other data REF October 2009

  5. REF consultation • Consultation document now issued for response by mid-Dec 2009 • Informed by Expert Advisory Groups • Much already non-negotiable • Need to be acceptable to government • Context of likely reduced public expenditure • But some important changes, and issues for subject groups to respond to consultation REF October 2009

  6. Government Policy • A strong and innovative national research base is essential to support national prosperity in a globalised knowledge based economy • Need to strengthen links between investment in research and the economic and social benefits it delivers: • Creating new businesses and improving performance • Developing new products and services • Highly skilled and educated workforce • Improving public services and public policy (Science and innovation investment framework 2004-14) REF October 2009

  7. The REF framework Outputs Impact Environment Quality of the research environment: assessed through narrative and indicators Quality of outputs: assessed through a combination of bibliometrics and expert review Engagement with users: assessed through narrative and indicators Impact of research: assessed through a portfolio of evidence 25% 15% Weights: 60% REF October 2009

  8. Three components • Outputs • Much as before but supplemented with bibliometric information if recommended • Need for careful benchmarking • Need for adequate database • Maybe only 3 items • New 4* definition • Environment • Much as before, but now includes ‘esteem’ and ‘engagement’ REF October 2009

  9. Impact • New area of ‘impact’ • Includes ‘impact’ but ‘engagement with users’ now under ‘environment’ • Has to be based on research work, but current period impact can be based on prior period work • Not necessarily specific papers, more a body of work in a department • Assessed by ‘case examples’ REF October 2009

  10. Other issues • Profiles • Often dichotomised with single point alternative but continuous scale possible (e.g. 2.4) • Same for all three areas? • Need for point definitions • Funding • Gradient of funding line (less in 2008), but contentious especially with reductions likely REF October 2009

  11. Incentive effects [Van der Stede, 2007] Effort “Productive “ effort “Perverse” effort Incentive strength REF October 2009

  12. Conclusions • Need to respond to consultation • Role of bibliometric data • Information requirements • Assessment of impact • Determination of panel composition • Funding principles (economies of concentration ???) REF October 2009

  13. Citation issues • Different discipline features • Average citation rates • Citation lags and half-life • Databases variable quality & coverage • Issues for attention • Inclusion of comments with papers? • Provision of comparative information • Use in esteem measures REF October 2009

  14. Bibliographic issues • Use of journal ‘lists’ • Impact factors • Imputes quality of journal to paper • Maybe ok in aggregate? • Individual panels may well differ in approach • Allocation of people to subject panels? REF October 2009