"The motivations that lead researchers to publish in different formats – particularly in scholarly journals – differ significantly across disciplines. Researchers in the sciences are more likely to see publication in a learned journal as a ‘natural’ means of communication with their desired audience, while their colleagues in engineering, the humanities and the social sciences are more likely to see it as meeting essentially external requirements for research assessment and career advancement.
In these latter disciplines, therefore, the rise of journals is more closely associated with an environment where there is increasing emphasis on measuring, assessing, and evaluating research, its outputs and impact."
(HEFCE on behalf of JISC, UK, 2009)
"The proposals for a new approach to the assessment and funding of research - set out last year in the Higher Education Funding Council for England's consultation paper on the research excellence framework - have sparked more than a few rows.
Much of the conflict has revolved around whether or not the economic and social impact of research should feature in the regime that will replace the research assessment exercise. ...
Our starting point should be to remember that the RAE was deeply flawed. It was dominated by vested interests, was embarrassingly subjective and seriously undervalued those scholars who bridge the worlds of academe and practice.
The REF is, then, a major step forward from the RAE not least because it broadens the definition of research. To suggest, as the REF does, that research is 'a process of investigation leading to new insights effectively shared' invites all scholars to think afresh about how they communicate their research findings and to whom. ...
Yes, there are challenges in research impact assessment. New thinking, around, say, research 'possibilities' is needed. But once academics recognise that research findings should be 'shared', we have made a significant step forward. By definition we are now discussing research impact or, at least, potential research impact.
However, the intellectual argument relating to research impact, rather like the debate about the expansion of university public engagement activities, goes much deeper than a discussion of how scholars can improve the manner in which they communicate with different audiences - important as this is.
Rather it concerns a reshaping, for some disciplines at least, of the way scholarship is conceived. It heralds a move towards the notion of 'engaged scholarship'. Many UK academics - medics are a classic example - are already actively engaged with stakeholders outside the campus in the process of defining research questions and co-producing new knowledge.
This is not to suggest that all scholars should be 'engaged scholars' - indeed, that would be a bad thing. But the research impact debate can open up the possibility of broadening the definition of scholarship."
(Robin Hambleton, 4 February 2010, Times Higher Education)
"The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). In previous years, research quality has been assessed periodically through the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).
We are currently consulting on proposals for the new framework. We will issue guidance on the REF in 2010 after completing the consultation. The first REF exercise is due to be completed in 2013.
We are working in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), and with a wide range of stakeholders to develop the new framework. Representatives of the four funding councils sit on a steering group which oversees its development.
The REF will focus on three elements, which together reflect the key characteristics of research excellence. These are:
* Outputs: The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds. This will be assessed through a process of expert review, informed by citation information in subjects where robust data are available (for example, in medicine and science).
* Impact: Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers build on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits to the economy, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Impacts will be assessed through a case-study approach that will be tested in a pilot exercise.
* Environment: The REF will take account of the quality of the research environment in supporting a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application."
(Higher Education Funding Council for England)
"RAE 2008 must also be seen in the context of sustained and extraordinary growth in the 'creative industries' in the UK: not only in design, media, and the games industry, but also in the wider visual arts field through increased museum and gallery attendances, a wave of new public and private galleries, exponential growth of the UK art and design market through high profile art fairs and design events, and in the high auction house sales and international status of the work of British artists and designers . The assessment has been both a critical enquiry and a systematic scrutiny of the extraordinary fertility of the visual arts ecology. Higher education in art and design plays an often pivotal role in this elastic and dynamic expanded field."
Repositories start-up project
Nottingham Trent University will develop a repository for the storage of a wide variety of materials, teaching and learning, research and institutional in an eclectic variety of formats integrated into a single search mechanism which addresses all the locations we store information. Essentially we want to build a location for anything and everything which will extend the body of knowledge held by the University for the benefit and extension of our members.
Aims and Objectives
The primary aim of this project is to research, specify, procure and implement an institutional repository which enables the management of a wide range of digital assets. The core of the repository will be the digital archive of the University's research output. This is primarily defined by the RAE process and focuses on peer-reviewed post-publication outputs or post-prints. However, the repository will not merely duplicate existing channels of scholarly publication, but will also include a range of grey literature."
(HEFCE, on behalf of JISC, 2007)