REF 2021 & ECRs: policy & planning in an uncertain landscape Dr Charlotte Mathieson School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey @cemathieson [email protected] http://charlottemathieson.wordpress.com S Overview What we know so far
What remains uncertain & implications Some pointers and advice for ECR planning REF 2021: key points Research Excellence Framework = the system for allocating research funding in UK HEIs Research (60%); impact (25%); environment (15%) Last run as REF 2014 Stern Review in 2016; Consultation exercise held in March 2017 (summary of responses)
Initial decisions September 2017 Draft guidance expected summer 2018; final guidance & criteria expected winter 2018 REF 2021: what we know so far Research assessment Peer review assessing rigour originality significance Quality profile from REF2014 (source: REF.ac.uk) REF 2021: what we know
so far Publication timeframe: 1st Jan 2014 31st December 2020 Open access and data sharing policy: From April 2016 journal articles must be Open Access in institutional o subject repository see Open Access policy and institutional guidance
Does not apply to monographs for REF 2021 Interdisciplinary research: improved accommodation for assessment (Initial decisions, para. 15) Equality and diversity: improved guidelines and requirements
for panel appointments, plus training on E&D (Initial decisions, para. 44) REF2021: what remains uncertain 3 key areas: Staff submissions and eligibility No. of outputs required Portability of research Uncertainty: staff eligibility Proposed 100% return:
all staff who have a significant responsibility to undertake research core eligibility criteria: academic employment function of research only or teaching & research are independent researchers [i.e. not research assistants unless demonstrably independent] minimum employment of 0.2 full time equivalent have a substantive connection to the submitting institution Uncertainty: staff eligibility How eligible staff will be identified:
Initial suggestions of using contract status (HESA data) dismissed; HEIs will have to determine who has significant responsibility RAs on projects wont be eligible; further guidelines being produced around independent researcher (see Circular Letter Annex A) Uncertainty: no. of outputs
Decoupling Premise: staff and outputs less directly associated so that the exercise is about institutions not individual performance; Instead of a portfolio of outputs (4 / discounts) per researcher, requirement will be an average across the department with a min./max. no. of outputs per staff No. of submissions: Minimum of 1 output per staff submitted Average and max. tbc: suggested multiplier of 2 per staff;
max. of 6 Uncertainty: no. of outputs E&D measures tbc, including : codes of practice for applying criteria for identifying staff; approach to output selection; reductions for individual staff circumstances (ECRs?) Uncertainty: portability
Portability outputs should be eligible for submission only by the institution where the outputs were demonstrably generated we also recognise the significant concerns raised about this proposal in consultation responses, including the unintended consequences for staff mobility (particularly for earlycareer researchers) and publication behaviour, and about burden, practical implementation and retrospective application. (Circular letter, para. 16-17) Uncertainty: portability
2 transitionary arrangements proposed: simplified model: outputs eligible for return by both originating and newly employing institution Hybrid model: a deadline (to be determined), after which a limited number of outputs would transfer with staff, with eligibility otherwise linked to the originating institution Both tbc following current consultation Source:
What can ECRs do? Some assumptions at this stage Assume: for an academic T&R job, you will be in a REFable position a minimum of 1 and ideally 2+ submissions will be required portability will likely apply to current outputs; stay informed about further changes and especially cut-off
date if hybrid model adopted What can ECRs do? Some preliminary advice Stay informed: HE news, blogs; events; institution information. Publication strategy: Quality not quantity; Timing:
stay aware of changes around portability; consider strategizing later in cycle (hold back) and/or; have a safety piece REF and mental health Report on the impact of REF 2014 on ECRs: REF had a huge impact on
ECR mental health and wellbeing; many respondents experienced high levels of anxiety, insecurity and uncertainty, and mental health problems stemming from REF pressure; also noted feeling isolated and unable to articulate concerns within highly pressurised and competitive workplace culture created by the REF; Lack of/conflicting/mis- information from institutions cited as a
contributing factor. (See the impact of the REF 2014 on ECRs) Further reading REF 2014 criteria REF 2021 Open Access policy Developing policy on staff and outputs webinar, 19 July 2017 Initial decisions on the REF, including the Circular Letter,
Sept. 2017 Summary of responses to consultation on the Stern review, Sept. 2017 Dr Charlotte Mathieson School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey @cemathieson [email protected] http://charlottemathieson.wordpress.com
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