Posts By / Anita Somner

Handing over the BU REF baton

Well, the day has finally come when I’m to hand over the BU REF baton to Peng Peng Ooi who is to take over as the BU Research Development Officer for the REF while I am on maternity leave. She’s had a crash course in all things REF since she began at the RDU in July and has very much landed in at the deep end because of the mock REF exercise on outputs that’s currently taking place!

This hasn’t put her off though, and she’s poised ready to take things forward in the coming months prior to the REF submission deadline in November 2013.

It just remains to wish you all the very best with your submissions and to thank you for your cooperation with the REF preparations so far. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the blog for all BU REF-related information. See you next year!

Anita Somner

Research Development Officer (REF)

Latest BU REF Highlight Report now available

The latest BU REF Highlight Report (#12) is now available for BU staff to download. It covers the period from January to July 2012.

Features in this report include information about:

You can access your copy of the report from the following location on the I-drive (just copy and paste the following into Windows Explorer): I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\REF\REF preparations\REF highlight reports

Latest journal impact factors

Following the release of the latest Journal Citation Reports® on the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge database, we have compiled a list of the top ranking journals in various fields related to BU research. BU staff can access these lists by going to the designated folder on the I-drive (copy and paste the following path into Windows Explorer and press return): I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\Journal Impact Factors 2012.

If there are any additional subject areas that you would like to see included, please leave a comment to this post, below.

Related blog posts that may be of interest:

Updates from the BU REF Academic Leadership Team (RALT) meetings

The BU REF Academic Leadership Team (RALT) meets every month to discuss matters relating to BU’s preparations for its submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2013. The group is chaired by Matthew Bennett (Pro Vice-Chancellor) and consists of the 12 Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leaders, who are academics from across the different Schools in the University, the REF Communications Manager (Sally Gates), the Head of the Research & Knowledge Exchange Office (Julie Northam) and representatives from the BU REF Academic Steering Group (RASG). The meetings are administered and minuted by the Research Development Officer for the REF (Anita Somner/Peng Peng Ooi).

A summary of the most recent meetings is below for your information. The next meeting is scheduled for September due to staff taking their summer holidays (hopefully there will be some sunshine soon!).

17 May 2012

  • Feedback from external reviewers was presented by two UOA Leaders following the previous mock exercise on impact and environment over the winter 2011/2012.
  • The process for the current outputs mock exercise was outlined and deadlines given for returning all information prior to it being sent to the external reviewers.
  • An update was given on the BU REF Code of Practice and on the first phase of equality and diversity training for those involved in coordinating the REF at BU, which had recently taken place.
  • The REF Communication Manager gave an update on progress with developing the BU impact case studies and on the provision of social media training for academics.

18 June 2012

  • Progress with the collation of data for the outputs mock was discussed. Most of the paperwork had been received on time, which was great news!
  • Preparations for the full mock in spring 2013 were discussed along with the kind of support UOA Leaders might need.
  • Forthcoming REF deadlines for the provision of certain information ahead of the 2013 submission deadline were highlighted.
  • The REF Communications Manager gave a report on the outcomes of a series of meetings held recently with UOA Leaders discussing the BU impact case studies.

 

BU REF Code of Practice gets the green light!

Since submitting the BU Research Excellence Framework (REF) Code of Practice to the REF Team at HEFCE in April (see previous blog post for details), we have been waiting for their feedback as to whether our Code meets the requirements and guidance on equality and diversity considerations for our REF preparations and submission. We finally had confimation from HEFCE on Monday that the REF Equality and Diversity Panel had reviewed all the Codes that had been submitted in April and that our Code did indeed meet the REF Team’s criteria and is now officially approved! This is great news and means that we can now make it available here on the BU Research Blog.

A PDF copy of the Code and the recently published BU REF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be circulated to academic staff in due course but you can access your copy here in the meantime. For the BU REF FAQs, which accompany the Code, a new tab has been added to the Blog (see REF tab above). Here you’ll find a series of questions and answers on a range of topics that should hopefully help with any initial burning issues you may have about the REF and our preparations here at BU. If you have a question that is not answered in the FAQs, please do leave a response to the relevant FAQ page on the Blog and we will follow this up for you. Alternatively you can contact me or Julie Northam in the Research Development Unit via email.

For more information about the REF at BU, see the previous REF posts on the Blog by clicking on the ‘ref’ tag. You can also access additional information from the REF website.

BU summer mock REF exercise gets underway

The fourth in a series of mock Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercises is currently underway at BU, with the paperwork now on its way to the external reviewers who have been specially recruited for their expertise in their subject area. The reviewers will spend the next month or so going through all the forms and submitted outputs and will provide feedback on each submission.

After reviewing the forms, the reviewers will also be involved in a meeting involving the BU Unit of Assessment (UOA) Leader and three or four nominated BU academics from each UOA to discuss the submissions and the feedback given. These meetings are due to take place during the early autumn. Once all the review meetings have taken place, the reviewers’ comments and the outcomes from the meetings will be compiled – this information will then be fed back to academics by the relevant UOA Leaders to help in the further development of the REF submissions.

The next (and final) REF mock exercise is due to take place during February to April 2013; it will be a full dry run and will be the last chance for you to receive external feedback on your outputs before the final REF submission deadline on 29th November 2013.

In the meantime, I’d like to thank all the BU academics who have been involved in the current mock exercise for taking part and for responding promptly to any queries. Thanks also to the UOA Leaders for collating the information and submitting it on time, particularly as the deadlines were quite tight. Your joint cooperation is much appreciated!

For all previous REF postings on the BU Research Blog, click here.

RCUK impact case studies now online

RCUK logoResearch Councils UK (RCUK) have recently launched a number of best practice case studies online to help inspire you when filling out the Pathways to Impact section of your funding applications.

The Pathways to Impact are designed to encourage you to consider the sorts of activities that may help your research to have an impact. A wide variety of activities have been funded from the Pathways to Impact section, including public engagement, direct collaborations with beneficiaries, events and policy briefings.

The case studies provide personal accounts from RCUK-funded researchers about their approaches and experiences of Pathways to Impact. The case studies also provide guidance and top tips on how you can maximise impact from your research. Tips include avoiding potential pitfalls, such as focusing only on past activities rather than looking ahead to explore the potential impact of the project, and ensuring milestones are included where appropriate along with an explanation of the rationale behind activities.

Further case studies will be added over the coming weeks to build a knowledge bank of experience and best practice that you can draw on.

Global accounting rules – an unfeasible aim?

Stella Fearnley, Professor of Accounting at BU, and Shyam Sunder, James L. Frank Professor of Accounting, Economics, and Finance at Yale School of Management, recently published their views on global accounting rules in the Financial Times financial markets online edition. The article outlines the authors’ concerns that the application of uniform financial processes or rules in diverse societies, such as the introduction of the euro and the adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), does not yield uniform outcomes. They urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to abandon any plans to proceed with IFRS in the US, and encourage other countries that already employ IFRS to insist on a much less complex system.

Ultimately, the authors suggest the G20 drop its support for global accounting standards and recommend a system of accounting based on professional judgments and sound, prudent principles. At the end of the day, Anglo-American based accounting standards are not necessarily appropriate for the whole world.

To access a copy of the full article, you can sign up for free to the FT website and download a copy here.

BU REF Code of Practice available now!

As I mentioned in my previous post about the forthcoming outputs mock REF exercise, we have recently submitted our final draft REF Code of Practice document to the REF Team for their approval. We produced this document to help inform staff about the policies and processes around submitting to the REF in November 2013, as well as to meet the four UK higher education funding bodies’ request that each institution making a submission to the REF must develop and apply such a code when selecting staff to include in their submission.

The BU REF Code of Practice is the culmination of months of drafting and approval, and sets out the approach that will be, and has already been, taken by BU in preparing its REF2014 submission. It therefore includes important information about the schedule of mock REF exercises that you are able to take part in (Chapter 3), and about declaring any circumstances that may have affected your ability to produce the four outputs required (Chapter 5), along with other equality and diversity aspects. Staff eligibility and selection are also covered.

Throughout the document there are references to the relevant paragraphs within the key publications published by the REF Team, which are: Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submissions and Panel Criteria and Working Methods.

Because this document is still subject to the approval of the REF Team’s Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP), the Code is currently available to BU staff via the new Staff Intranet under ‘Policies, Forms and Procedures/Research’. We will make it fully available here on the Blog once we’ve received the EDAP feedback, so watch this space!

Limber up for the next BU mock REF exercise

Just as the Olympic athletes are getting set for the 2012 games, so are we gearing up to launch the summer 2012 mock REF exercise for BU academic staff, this time looking at research outputs. This follows on from our previous light-touch review exercise, which was open to all academic staff and took place over the winter of 2010/2011.

This latest exercise will be the fourth in a series of different preparation exercises that have been held or are due to take place at BU ahead of the REF2014 submission deadline on 29 November 2013. Just as the athletes will have taken part in warm-up events and qualifiers to test their fitness and shine before selectors, so the mock REF exercises are a useful ‘dry run’ to give you a feel for what’s going to be required for the real thing. Equally, you’ll get valuable feedback on your outputs from external reviewers and your UOA Leader, and it will enable us to test out our data collection processes.

As in the light touch review, the outputs mock will be open to all academic staff. The relevant form will be distributed via your UOA leader in due course so it would be a good time to start thinking about which outputs you’re likely to put forward. Although REF2014 requires a maximum of four outputs, we’re giving you the opportunity to get feedback from the reviewers on up to six outputs, so make the most of this chance to really shape your outputs submission.

Also under starter’s orders – the BU REF Code of Practice will shortly be circulated to all staff, which outlines the timetable of REF preparation exercises and includes a host of other useful information related to how BU is preparing for REF2014. The final draft of this document has just been submitted to the REF Team for formal approval so watch this space for more information about this.

If you need any more information about the REF, have a look at all the previous blog posts that we’ve included here, or visit the new-look REF website. Alternatively, you can contact myself or Julie Northam in the Research Development Unit, or leave a comment below.

REF Team releases final panel criteria and working methods

The REF Team, working on behalf of the UK’s four main funding bodies, have now published the final version of the REF Panel criteria and working methods document. This document spells out the detail of how each of the four Main Panels and their relevant sub-panels have interpreted the assessment criteria for the first Research Execellence Framework exercise due to be held in 2014. There are some differences between the panels and we hope to be able to summarise these and disseminate them shortly via the blog, so watch this space.

In the meantime, for more information about the REF, see our previous blog posts by clicking on the ‘ref’ tag on the right-hand side of the blog. Alternatively, you can visit the HEFCE REF webpages.

ResearcherID – an online tool for building a publications profile

What is ResearcherID?

ResearcherID is a facility provided via the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Knowledge database. You can register for a unique researcher identification number which enables you to link directly to your published outputs and avoid the common problem of author misidentification. Users can update their profile information, build their publication list by using the Thomson Reuters Web of Science search facilities or by uploading files, and opt to make their profile public or private. Registered as well as non-registered users can search the ResearcherID registry to view profiles and find potential collaborators. You can also now search ResearcherID from within the Web of Science.

A ResearcherID number is a unique identifier that consists of alphanumeric characters. Each number contains the year you registered.

The benefits of registering for ResearcherID

The main benefit is the ability to build your own custom profile and correctly identify you as the author of your publications. Once registered, you will be provided with the tools to build your publication list by searching ISI Web of Knowledge and Web of Science, or by uploading your own list. You can choose whether or not to make your profile public.

ResearcherID is also integrated with EndNote Web, so you can build your online publication list either by searching Web of Science or uploading RIS files, or by using the EndNote Web online search. You can also manage your publication list via EndNote Web. For a tutorial on using EndNote Web, click here.

Once you’ve put together your publications list, you can then generate the following citation metrics for items available in the Web of Science:

  • H-index
  • Citation distribution per year
  • Total Times Cited count
  • Average Times Cited count

These metrics will be automatically updated in ResearcherID from the Web of Science as new data is added to the Web of Science.

ResearcherID can also help you find potential research collaborators by enabling you to search the ResearcherID registry. You can also explore an interactive map that can help you locate researchers by country and topic, or you can use the new country ‘tag cloud’.

Registering for ResearcherID

Go to the ResearcherID homepage then click on ‘Register’ and complete the short online form. You will be sent an email with a link to ResearcherID and a more detailed form appears for you to complete. Once you have completed this, and accepted the terms and conditions, you will receive your unique ResearcherID. Note that you will be sent these details in an email.

When you log in using your ResearcherID and password, you will be taken to your own publications web page with a unique URL. You can include this link on your email signatures so that others can easily access your publications.

Managing your publications

Under ‘MyPublications’ you will have an option to ‘Add’. Alternatively there is an ‘Add Publications’ button on the right hand side of the screen that will take you to the same location. This will give you the three options of searching for or adding a file:

  • ISI Web of Science
  • EndNote Web
  • RIS text file

Clicking on the publications database will bring up a search screen. Ensure that your surname and initials are correctly entered and click search. Any publications that are already included on your ResearcherID web page will appear in the list and be ticked already. If you wish to add others, tick the relevant box and click ‘Add selections to MyPublications’. The process works the same for all databases. Please note that you need to have an EndNote Web account.

To delete publications, simply click on the ‘Manage’ button under MyPublications.

For a ResearcherID factsheet, click here.

Bibliometrics need not be baffling!

What are bibliometrics?

Bibliometrics are a set of methods used to study or measure text and information. Citation analysis and content analysis are the most commonly used bibliometric methods. Bibliometric methods can help you explore the academic impact of a field, a set of researchers or a particular journal paper.

What is citation analysis?

Citation analysis looks at where a document has been referenced by others since it was originally published – this information can be used when searching for materials and in analysing their merit. Undertaking citation analysis on yourself is useful for assessing your own research performance. Specialist databases such as Web of Science and Scopus provide various tools for doing this analysis.

Searching for citation information on the Web of ScienceSM

Web of ScienceSM is hosted by Thomson Reuters and consists of various databases containing information gathered from thousands of scholarly journals, books, book series, reports, conference proceedings, and more:

  • Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-Expanded)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI)
  • Index Chemicus (IC)
  • Current Chemical Reactions (CCR-Expanded)
  • Book Citations Index – coming soon!

These databases enable you to perform a variety of tasks, such as search published literature, undertake citation analysis, track new research within a particular field, and identify chemical compounds and reactions. Data is available from around 1990, and even earlier in some cases.

By producing a Web of ScienceSM Citation Report for yourself (or for others), you can find out who is citing your work and how it is being used in other people’s publications so that you can get a feel for the overall citation activity around your outputs. Search for an author’s name and then click on ‘Create Citation Report’ from the results page.

Producing this report will give you information such as the number of items published in each year, the number of citations to those items for each year, the average number of citations per item, and your h-index based on this information. Click here for web tutorials on how to use the Web of ScienceSM.

Searching for citation information on Scopus

Scopus, part of Elsevier’s SciVerse facility, was launched in November 2004 and is an abstract and citation database containing around 19,500 titles from more than 5,000 publishers. Scopus enables researchers to track, analyse and visualise research, and has broad coverage of the scientific, technical, medical and social sciences fields and, more recently, the arts and humanities. Data is currently largely available from 1996 but it does go back further than this in some cases. For more information about Scopus, click here.

By searching for yourself (or others) on the Scopus database using the author search facility, you can use the ‘View Citation Overview’ function to get a feel for the citations activity around your outputs. The information is presented and can be analysed in a number of ways, including pie charts, graphs and tables, and shows the breakdown of citation activity over a number of years and your h-index based on this data. Various tutorials on using Scopus can be accessed here.

Scopus and the Research Excellence Framework (REF): HEFCE has announced that Elsevier have been chosen as the provider of citation data services to the REF sub-panels that have chosen to make use of citation information as part of the assessment process. Using the Scopus database, HEFCE will provide the relevant sub-panels with raw citation data (i.e. not normalised) accompanied by contextual information, which will assist those panel members in making decisions about the outputs part of the REF submissions.

What is the h-index?

The h-index was conceived by Professor Jorge Hirsch in 2005 within the field of physics and is fast becoming one of the most widely used metrics for research evaluation. It is also becoming increasingly used as a measure of research activity and academic prominence across various subject areas.

The benefit of the h-index over other citation measures is that it is not influenced by a few highly cited papers and it ignores any papers that remain uncited. It is calculated based on the number of papers by a particular author that receive h or more citations. Therefore, an h-index of 15 means that a person has at least 15 papers that have been cited 15 times or more. Fortunately, the Web of Science and Scopus both automatically calculate the h-index as part of their citation analysis functions so there is no need to work it out manually.

If you’d like to know more about the h-index, the original research document can be accessed from the Cornell University Library webpage.

What are journal impact factors?

Journal Impact Factors are published annually on the Web of Knowledge and provide a way of ranking journals based on the citation performance of articles published by those journals from the previous two years. For more information about how impact factors are calculated and how they can be used, see my previous blog post.

Other methods of ranking journals also exist, such as the ABS Academic Journal Quality Guide and the ERA journal ranking list. Journal rankings can be useful when choosing which journal to publish in, for example.

Exploring research impact

Why do I need to think about the impact of my research?

Given the current economic situation, tighter spending reviews and increasing constraints on public spending, there is more of a need than ever to demonstrate the economic, social and cultural benefits of publicly funded research to wider society. This broad definition of research impact is gradually being adopted and used in a number of ways by various funding bodies that need to be accountable for the money they distribute, such as the Research Councils UK (RCUK), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and some charities and trusts.

Consequently, there is now greater impetus to involve researchers more directly in demonstrating the impact of their research. Researchers therefore need to actively think about how to demonstrate the value of their research and its wider impact, from the application stage through to project completion, dissemination and beyond.

This impact pathway is a fluid process and research impacts can occur at any stage in the research life cycle – often they can stem from unexpected or unintended outcomes as well as from planned activity. The key is to start thinking about potential beneficiaries and pathways to impact during the project planning stage and to continue to monitor the outcomes in an ongoing way. This will help you to make new connections and partnerships beyond the project itself, and to put in place resources and activities that enable you to make the most of opportunities for achieving impact when they arise. Keeping a record of activity related to a project, and gathering evidence to support impacts and outcomes achieved, is recommended to enable you to effectively fulfil any current and future reporting requirements.

What are funders looking for in terms of impact?

Many funding bodies, particularly larger ones such as RCUK, have a section on their funding application form that specifically asks you to consider the potential pathways to impact as appropriate for the nature of the research you’re proposing to conduct. This is to enable funders to support you in undertaking these activities – you’re not being asked to predict the actual outcomes that the research will achieve.

Each funder understands that there is great diversity in the kinds of impact that are possible; they also acknowledge that this diversity is a great strength of the research community in addressing such things as urgent social issues, remaining competitive in global markets and improving quality of life. It is about embracing the ways in which research-related knowledge and skills benefit individuals, organisations and nations.
In thinking about potential impacts, you might find it useful to consider the potential beneficiaries of the research – innovative and creative approaches to engaging beneficiaries and fostering impact are generally strongly encouraged by the funders. For more specific information about completing the impact sections on the RCUK application forms and for an indication of the potential range of impacts that can be generated from research, visit the RCUK impact web-pages.

Furthermore, the RCUK has just launched the Research Outcomes Project, which requires all RCUK grant holders to upload information about the various outcomes that have resulted from each of the RCUK-funded projects they are responsible for, and one of those categories is impact.

What is HEFCE looking for in terms of research impact for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)?

As part of submitting to the REF, HEFCE requires higher education institutions to provide evidence of research impact that has been realised within the assessment period but which stems from research undertaken at that institution within a number of years prior to the assessment period. Therefore, rather than looking forward to the kinds of impact that might stem from a research project, HEFCE is asking for information about impacts that are being, or have already been, achieved within a set timeframe. More information about how HEFCE is approaching impact in the REF is available from the HEFCE REF web-pages.

RCUK Research Outcomes Project is ready to launch!

Following my previous post about the development of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Outcomes Project, the launch of the new system for collecting information about research outcomes from all RCUK grant holders is nearly here. Assuming all goes to plan with the final phase of user testing, the system will go live from 14 November 2011. Grant holders will be required to upload information about the following for each of the RCUK-funded projects they are responsible for:

  • Publications
  • Other research outputs
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Exploitation
  • Recognition
  • Staff development
  • Further funding
  • Impact

Grant holders will be able to log in to the system using their Je-S login and will be responsible for maintaining the outcomes information about the grants they have been awarded, even if they move institution. RCUK have issued a list of FAQs to help answer some common queries.

New speaker confirmed for the BU Open Access Fund Launch Event

Following on from the previous blog post about the launch of BU’s Open Access Publishing Fund, we’re now pleased to confirm that Willow Fuchs from the Centre for Research and Communications at Nottingham University is coming to speak about the SHERPA open access projects as part of the FREE launch event for BU staff on 26 October 2011.

The two projects of most relevance for open access publishing are SHERPA RoMEO, which covers publishers’ copyright & archiving policies, and SHERPA JULIET, which includes research funders archiving mandates and guidelines. So book your place now by sending an email to Anita Somner in the Research Development Unit.

In a slight change to the previously published line-up, Professor Peter Thomas, Director of the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit, will share his experiences of publishing in open access journals. Dr Alma Swan will give a keynote speech on the benefits of open access publishing, how it can make research findings more visible both inside and outside of academia, and dispel some of the common myths that surround it.

The event will be held on 7th floor of the Executive Business Centre on Lansdowne Campus between 10.00-12.30. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. We look forward to seeing you on the day!

Latest journal impact factors

Following the release of the latest Journal Citation Reports® on the Thomson Reuters ISI Web of Science database, we have compiled a list of the top ranking journals in various fields related to BU research. BU staff can access these lists by going to the designated folder on the collaborative I-drive: I:\R&KEO\Public\RDU\Journal Impact Factors 2011. If there are any additional subject areas that you would like to see included, do send me an email.

Related blog posts that may be of interest:
Journal impact factors explained