Congratulations to CMMPH’s Dr. Jenny Hall, Senior Midwifery Lecturer, on the publication of her scientific paper ‘The Spiritual Journey of Infertile Couples: Discussing the Opportunity for Spiritual Care‘ in the journal Religions, see further details here! Jenny has co-authored this paper with academics from Portugal and Ireland.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Last week saw the publication of the latest paper by Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) staff. This paper ‘Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: a review of the literature’ was co-authored by BU’s Dr. Pramod Regmi and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen . The authors argue that the health and well-being of migrant workers from low-income countries is often neglected in travel medicine. This article uses Nepal as a case study to highlight key issues affecting this particular group of international travellers.
Migrant workers who are generally healthy appear to be similar to tourist travellers in regarding sexual health as a key issue related to being abroad. Risky sexual behaviour increases in individuals separated from their usual sexual partners, away from their own communities and families, leading to the so-called ‘situational disinhibition’. Considering the recent media coverage of deaths and injuries among migrant workers in the Middle East, it is interesting to see that their sexual health is more prevalent in the research literature. This article reminds us that travel medicine should provide more emphasis to the health and well-being of migrant workers as a highly vulnerable group of travellers with additional impact on the health of those left behind.
Simkhada, P.P., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Aryal, N. (2017) Identifying the gaps in Nepalese migrant workers’ health and well-being: a review of the literature J Travel Med 24 (4): DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/tax021
Congratulations to Dr. Jenny Hall in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) on the publication of her paper ‘Spiritual aspects of living with infertility: synthesis of qualitative studies’.  Dr. Hall co-authored this paper in the Journal of Clinical Nursing with colleagues from Ireland and Portugal.
This international team conducted review and synthesis of qualitative research to seek a deeper understanding of the spiritual aspects of patients’ experiences of infertility. They concluded that infertile couples’ experiences of infertility may offer an opportunity for spiritual care particularly related to the assessment of spiritual needs and the promotion of spiritual coping strategies. Moreover, effective holistic care should support couples in overcoming and finding meaning in this life and health condition.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
Creative Writing for Academics with Kip Jones
Thursday 20 & Friday 21 April 2017
Executive Business Centre, Bournemouth, UK
- Have more of your work read by wider audiences; in other words, impact.
- By providing an intense two-day experience the playing field is levelled and opportunities for facilitated learning developed.
- By engaging in creative writing, it becomes possible for all to write more clearly, more simply, even more creatively, when writing not only for academic publications, but also for outlets previously unimagined.
The workshop will take place at the BU Executive Business Centre, 7th Floor. Thursday, 20 April and Friday, 21 April 2017
Workshop Price: £175. For two days of activities. The price includes lunch and refreshments and all class materials. Accommodation and travel costs are not included.
Take a b&w photo you’ve never seen and write 1000 words about it.
Participant in Creative Writing for Academics at Bournemouth University about to write a story based on one photograph
This week saw the pre-publication of ‘Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom’ in Nurse Education in Practice. This paper is co-authored by Dr. Susan Way in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH). The authors argue that these core principles could contribute to curriculum development in midwifery and other professions internationally.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen
- Fisher, M., Way, S., Chenery-Morris, S., Jackson, J., Bower, H. (2017) Core principles to reduce current variations that exist in grading of midwifery practice in the United Kingdom, Nurse Education in Practice (forthcoming) see: http://www.nurseeducationinpractice.com/article/S1471-5953(17)30092-6/abstract
Focus groups in open air in rural Nepal, (c) Sheetal Sharma
Congratulations to Sheetal Sharma, postgraduate student in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) whose latest paper on the process of the research in her PhD fieldwork was accepted today by the Journal of Asian Midwives . Sheetal used an innovative mixed-methods evaluation which was applied to a long-running maternity intervention in rural Nepal. The intervention has been supported for nearly seven years by Green Tara Trust, a Buddhist charity based in London. Sheetal’s supervisors are supervisors are Prof. Vanora Hundley, Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen, Dr. Catherine Angell (all in CMMPH) and Prof. Padam Simkhada, who is Visiting Faculty in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences and based at Liverpool John Moores University.
This paper is part of a larger body of health research work conducted by CMMPH in Nepal.
Sharma, S., Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Stephens J, Hundley, V., Angell, C. (2017) Evaluation of Maternity Care Intervention in Rural Nepal: Lessons learnt, Journal of Asian Midwives (accepted Jan. 2017).
Two BU papers and a poster at the International Conference on Transforming Lives & Healthcare through Technology
On 9th January 2017, I presented a paper entitled ‘Qualitative research in health technology assessment’ in a scientific session at the International Conference on Transforming Lives and Health Care through Technology (TLHTicon 2017), Wardha, India. This paper was prepared jointly with by Prof Edwin van Teijlingen and BU’s Visiting Prof Padam Simkhada (Liverpool John Moores University). At the same conference Mrs. Preeti Mahato’s poster on ‘Factors affecting health facility delivery in rural Nawalparasi, Nepal’ was also displayed. Preeti is a PhD student in FHSS. In another scientific session, BU visiting faculty Prof Padam Simkhada presented a paper around global public health and health technology assessment. Prof Edwin van Teijlingen and Dr Pramod Regmi co-authored this presentation.
The conference, which attracted more than 180 oral scientific papers and 97 posters, was organized jointly by Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, DU, Datta Meghe Institute of Engineering, Technology & Research and Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering in association with the Global Consortium for Public Health Research. The Global Consortium for Public Health Research was recently formed . Prof Edwin van Teijlingen, Dr Pramod Regmi, both from HSS, BU are part of it among the 14 academics/researchers from UK, India, Bangladesh, Nepal and few other Low and Middle-Income Countries. Some of them are BU visiting faculty too. Unfortunately, Prof Edwin van Teijlingen could not get a visa in time for India, so he recorded a good-luck message. This pre-recorded message was played to the conference goers.
I found the scientific sessions were a nice blend of scientific talks, plenary sessions, symposia and scientific track sessions. Overall, this conference provided a much-needed platform for academicians, researchers, practitioners and professionals from medical, engineering and industry to disseminate their innovations in interdisciplinary field of health sciences through technology. The conference show-cased innovations in health-care through technology, which shall be useful in transforming lives of people in Low and Middle Income Countries. In these two days; I have been able to all refreshed with thought-provoking & informative talks rendered by experienced researchers around technology in health care.
Dr Pramod Regmi, Post Doc Research Fellow, HSS
- Simkhada, P., van Teijlingen, E., Regmi, P.R. et al., 2016. Need and scope of global partnership on public health research. Journal of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences University, 11 (2), 202-204.
Bournemouth University has been working on a small research project with Pourakhi, a voluntary organisation which helps female migrant workers returning to Nepal, for over a year. Pourakhi advocates for the rights of women migrant workers. Last week they invited me to present a workshop session on Academic Writing & Publishing, this morning I run such workshop. The content of the workshop is based on years of experience of running similar workshops at Bournemouth University, many Higher Education colleges across Nepal and a COST-funded workshop in Malta a few years ago. The eight people (staff and volunteers) who attended the workshop were generally inquisitive and keen to get their work into print. Most of the paper we have written about aspects of academic writing and the publishing process have been published in Open Access journals. [1-8] Therefore, we can easily give workshop attendees copies and/or give them the links to the online version on the web.
Prof Edwin van Teijlingen
- Hundley V, van Teijlingen E, Simkhada P (2013) Academic authorship: who, why and in what order? Health Renaissance 11 (2):98-101 www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Download/vol-11-2/Page_99_101_Editorial.pdf
- Pitchforth E, Porter M, Teijlingen van E, et al. (2005) Writing up & presenting qualitative research in family planning & reproductive health care, J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care 31(2): 132-135.
- Simkhada P, van Teijlingen E, Hundley V. (2013) Writing an academic paper for publication, Health Renaissance 11 (1):1-5. www.healthrenaissance.org.np/uploads/Pp_1_5_Guest_Editorial.pdf
- van Teijlingen, E., Ireland, J., Hundley, V., Simkhada, P., Sathian, B. (2014) Finding the right title for your article: Advice for academic authors, Nepal J Epidemiol 4(1): 344-347.
- van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V., Bick, D. (2014) Who should be an author on your academic paper? Midwifery 30: 385-386.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada PP, Rizyal A (2012) Submitting a paper to an academic peer-reviewed journal, where to start? (Guest Editorial) Health Renaissance 10 (1): 1-4.
- van Teijlingen, E, Simkhada. PP, Simkhada, B, Ireland J. (2012) The long & winding road to publication, Nepal J Epidemiol 2(4): 213-215 http://nepjol.info/index.php/NJE/article/view/7093/6388
- Hall, J., Hundley, V., van Teijlingen, E. (2015) The journal editor: friend or foe? Women & Birth 28(2): e26-e29.
Yesterday saw the publication of the paper ‘Antenatal care trial interventions: a systematic scoping review and taxonomy development of care models’, which is the first paper this year for the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH) . The paper is based on a cross-UK collaboration led by Dr. Andrew Symon from the University of Dundee which is published in the Open Access journal BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth. This is the second paper from this collaboration, the first one ‘Midwifery-led antenatal care models: Mapping a systematic review to an evidence-based quality framework to identify key components & characteristics of care ‘ was published last year .
The latest BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth paper is a first step in establishing a taxonomy of antenatal care models. The article concludes that interventions can be defined and described in many ways. The intended antenatal care population group proved the simplest and most clinically relevant way of distinguishing trials which might otherwise be categorised together. Since our review excluded non-trial interventions, the taxonomy does not represent antenatal care provision worldwide. It offers a stable and reproducible approach to describing the purpose and content of models of antenatal care which have been tested in a trial. perhaps key is that the paper highlights a lack of reported detail of trial interventions and usual care processes.
Our paper provides a baseline for future work to examine and test the salient characteristics of the most effective models, and could also help decision-makers and service planners in planning implementation.
Moreover we look forward to conducting more research as part of this exciting collaboration in midwifery and maternity care.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen & Prof. Vanora Hundley
- Symon, A., Pringle, J., Downe, S., Hundley, V., Lee, E., Lynn, F., McFadden, A., McNeill, J., Renfrew, M., Ross-Davie, M., van Teijlingen, E., Whitford, H., Alderdice, F. (2017) Antenatal care trial interventions: a systematic scoping review and taxonomy development of care models BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 17:8 http://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-1186-3
- Symon, A., Pringle, J., Cheyne, H., Downe, S., Hundley, V., Lee, E., Lynn, F., McFadden, A., McNeill, J., Renfrew, M., Ross-Davie, M., van Teijlingen, E., Whitford, H, Alderdice, F. (2016) Midwifery-led antenatal care models: Mapping a systematic review to an evidence-based quality framework to identify key components & characteristics of care, BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 168 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2393/16/168
The BMJ have launched a new research tool called Research to Publication, with the aim of getting more authors from submission to publication. It is comprised of a series of self e-learning modules, enabling researchers to hone and improve their research capabilities.
This is not a free product, but they are offering free access to two modules – How to Write and Publish a Study Protocol and Introduction to Randomised Blinded Trials. If anyone is interested in this product, you can access the two free modules here. If you do take a look at the free modules, I’d be very interested in any feedback you have about the product. Please send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today saw the publication of a new methods paper by Dr. Sarah Collard, post-doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS) and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the academic journal Health Prospect. This new paper addressed some of the key methodological issues associated with Internet-based Focus Groups (FGs) or the so-called Online Focus Group Discussions . Traditional face-to-face FG discussions are a popular qualitative research method used a wide-range of areas, such as political sciences, marketing, health service research and sociology to name but a few disciplines. More recently, internet-based FGs have grown in popularity due to the growth of: (a) the internet, both in terms of technical capacity and number of users; and (b) the improved quality of communication software (e.g. Skype). This paper highlights some of the strengths and weaknesses of conducting FGs online. Building on our experience of conducting traditional and internet-based FGs.
Dr. Sarah Collard is affiliated with BU’s Centre for Qualitative Research (CQR). Health Prospect is an Open Access journal therefore this article is freely available to any reader across the globe.
- Collard, S., van Teijlingen, E. (2016) Online focus group: New approaches to an ‘old’ research method, Health Prospect 15(3):4-7.
Many prestigious newspapers across the globe re-published a very interesting Associate Press article called ‘At soaring rate, Nepalis seeking jobs abroad come home dead’ on the plight of Nepali migrant workers in countries such as Malaysia, Korea, India and the Middle East. This article cited our co-author Nirmal Aryal who is a Nepali researcher based in New Zealand. This newspaper piece also quoted our recent paper ‘Injury and Mortality in Young Nepalese Migrant Workers: A Call for Public Health Action’, which was published earlier this year in the Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health . This scientific journal has an Impact Factor of 1.72
We have received email message and tweets from colleagues and friends who spotted this article in newspapers in the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand (NZ), Taiwan, Nepal, India and many more countries as well as on several news websites. The article was sighted in North American papers such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Billings Gazette, Dothan Eagle, The Daily Times, The Roanoke Times, Union Times, The Daily Courier, The Journal Times, Medicine Hat News. and many more. Whilst in Britain the article can be found on the webpages of the Mail Online. In the Philippines the piece is on Inquirer.net
Elsewhere we were alerted to The Hindustan Times in India, which is incidently one of the few papers that changed the original title of the Associated Press piece to ‘Mysterious deaths: Nepalis working abroad come back home in caskets’. Furthermore, as our colleague Nirmal Aryal is based in NZ it is not surprising that several newspaper there reported on the issue: The New Zealand Herald, The Dominion Post (NZ), and as expected several English-language daily newspaper in Nepal picked up the story, including The Himalayan Times, and The Kathmandu Post.
It’s a pity that the original Associated Press article only refers to the BU collaborators as ‘colleagues in the United Kingdom’. We have a long-standing interest in the health and well-being of Nepali migrant workers in various host countries. Dr. Pramod Regmi is post-doctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences (FHSS). He is part of the BU India-HUB, which involves the study of Nepali migrant workers in India. Prof. Padam Simkhada from Liverpool John Moores University is also BU Visiting Faculty in FHSS. Dr. Pratik Adhikary is a recent BU PhD graduate who has published several articles on Nepalis migrant workers [2-3]. Finally, our work on Nepali migrants has also been submitted as a contribution to the BU’s Global Festival of Learning.
Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen & Dr. Pramod Regmi
Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
- Aryal, N., Regmi, P.R., van Teijlingen, E., Simkhada, P., Adhikary, P., Bhatta, Y.K.D., Mann, S. (2016) Injury and Mortality in Young Nepalese Migrant Workers: A Call for Public Health Action. Asian-Pacific Journal of Public Health 28(8): 703-705. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1010539516668628
- Adhikary, P., Simkhada, P.P., van Teijlingen E., Raja, AE. (2008) Health & Lifestyle of Nepalese Migrants in the UK BMC International Health & Human Rights 8(6). Web address: biomedcentral.com/1472-698X/8/6.
- Adhikary P., Keen S., van Teijlingen, E (2011) Health Issues among Nepalese migrant workers in Middle East. Health Science Journal 5: 169-175. hsj.gr/volume5/issue3/532.pdf
Some months ago Andy Nobes asked my colleague Prof. Padam Simkhada and I if we could write a blog about why we had so many papers in freely available online journals in Nepal. Andy is the Programme Officer, Research Development & Support at INASP, which is an international development charity based in Oxford working with a global network of partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
We had a whole range of immediate answers to Andy’s question, including ones like: we both love Nepal; we are on the editorial board of a few journals that are part of the NepJOL group; and editors invite us to submit articles and/or editorials. Moreover, we feel reasons for Open Access publishing are very similar to our key reasons for working in a low-income country like Nepal. These principles are (a) conducting applied academic research in low-income countries for the greater good; (b) helping to build research-capacity; and (c) telling the world about our research through quality academic publications. This week saw the publication of our blog ‘Publishing in journals of the NepJOL family’ on the AuthorAid website, click here to read the post.
Edwin van Teijlingen, Professor of Reproductive Health Research at Bournemouth University and Padam Simkhada, Professor of International Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University and BU Visiting Faculty.
It is always nice to receive some good news just before Christmas. The journal BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth informed us that our paper ‘“Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media’ was in the top three most popular papers . This interdisciplinary paper crosses the boundaries between the study of maternity care & midwifery, sociology of health & illness, and that of the media. With BU’s Dr. Ann Luce as first author, it is one of the top three accessed articles of nearly 400 articles published in 2016 (as of Dec 16th).
- Luce, A., Cash, M., Hundley, V., Cheyne, H., van Teijlingen, E., Angell, C., (2016) “Is it realistic?” the portrayal of pregnancy and childbirth in the media BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 16: 40 http://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-016-0827-x
Congratulations to CMMPH’s Donna Wixted, Joint BU-Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, doctoral student who just had a paper published in MIDIRS. The paper is titled ‘Drinking in pregnancy: poor guidelines or lack of evidence?’ The paper reports a very lively debate at the 2016 BU Festival of Learning which was a debate around the motion: “Advising pregnant women to avoid drinking alcohol during pregnancy is symptom of the Nanny State and another step towards the medicalisation of childbirth”. The debate was chaired by CMMPH’s Prof. Vanora Hundley.
The Festival of Learning event grew out of Donna’s PhD research. Donna’s PhD is jointly supervised by Dr. Greta Westwood of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust & the University of Southampton and FHSS academics Dr. Liz Norton and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen.
Wixted, D., Hundley, V., Norton, L., van Teijlingen, E., Westwood, G. (2016) Drinking in pregnancy: poor guidelines or lack of evidence? MIDIRS Midwifery Digest 26(4): 462-65.
Congratulations to Dr. Pramod Regmi in FHSS on the publication of the editorial ‘Need and Scope of Global Partnership on Public Health Research’ published this week.  As a global partnership, it is our intention to make a tangible impact upon major public health challenges, whilst strengthening the participating institutions in a sustainable manner. Our collaboration came to a consensus on a number of priority research areas, based on our strengths and collective experience and on our knowledge of the key global issues for the next decades (Table 1). The paper is led by BU Visiting Faculty Prof. Padam Simkhada and co-authored by another BU Visiting Faculty Dr. Bibha Simkhada. The editorial is in an Open Access journal hence freely available to any researcher or practitioner (or policy maker) with internet-access in our collaborating countries.
Table 1 : Key areas of research focus of the consortium
- Reproductive, maternal and child health
- Rural and urban comparisons (Equity and health)
- Environment and health
- Health systems and health workforce
- Health, lifestyle and substance use
- Non-Communicable Diseases
- Preventable road traffic injuries and safety
- Simkhada, P., Poudel, A.N., Simkhada, B., Sumnall, H., Jones, L., Bista, S., McVeigh, J., Gaidhane, A., Zahiruddin, Q.S., Chowdhury, M.E., Bhuiyan, M.B.A.S., Iliyasu, Z., Pant, P.R., Kurmi, O., Hill, R., van Teijlingen, E., Regmi, P. (2016) Need and Scope of Global Partnership on Public Health Research, The Journal of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences University 11(3): 260-262.
Congratulations to Dr. Carol Bond and Dr. Osman Ahmed in FHSS on the publication of their latest academic paper ‘Can I help you? Information sharing in online discussion forums by people living with a long-term condition’ . Further congratulations are due to Osman who recently had three other papers accepted for publication [2-4].
Prof Edwin van Teijlingen
- Bond, C., Ahmed, O., 2016. Can I help you? Information sharing in online discussion forums by people living with a long-term condition. Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, 23 (3).
- West L.R., Griffin , S., Weiler, R., Ahmed,O. 2016 Management of concussion in disability sport: a different ball game? British Journal of Sports Medicine doi:10.1136/bjsports-2016-096767
- “Educating the masses: Suggestions for improving online concussion information via the mainstream media” in Concussion (not available online yet)
- “Do Neurocognitive SCAT3 Baseline Test Scores Differ Between Footballers (Soccer) Living With and Without Disability? A Cross-Sectional Study” in Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine (not yet available online)
Prof. Mark Reed
A fortnight ago Prof Mark Reed, Professor of Socio-Technical Innovation at Newcastle University and the man behind Fast Track Impact, tweeted some thoughts on how to write a 4* paper for the REF. He went on to explain his thinking in more detail in a guest post on the Research Fundementals blog, the post is published here with the authors permission.
How do you write a 4* paper for the Research Excellence Framework (REF)? It is a question I’ve asked myself with some urgency since the Stern Review shredded my REF submission by not allowing me to bring my papers with me this year to my new position at Newcastle University.
Obviously the answer is going to differ depending on your discipline, but I think there are a few simple things that everyone can do to maximize their chances of getting a top graded research output.
I’m going to start with the assumption that you’ve actually done original, significant and rigorous work – if you haven’t then there is no point in reading any further. However, as I am increasingly asked to pre-review papers for colleagues across a range of disciplines, I am seeing examples of people who write up work as a 2* or 3* paper that has the potential to get a better score. I should point out that I believe that there is an important role for 1* and 2* papers, and that I regularly write these on purpose to address a problem of national significance and frame it for the specific, narrow audience that is likely to be able to benefit most from my work. However, whether I like it or not, as a Professor in a research-intensive University, there is an expectation that I will be submitted as a 4* researcher, which means I need a few 4* papers as well.
You can see some more detailed thoughts on what I think makes 4* for different types of paper in this Tweet:
As you’ll see from the discussion under that tweet though, my more detailed thoughts probably only apply to Units of Assessment across panels A-C, and probably isn’t relevant to the arts and humanities.
Having said this, I think there are a number of things we can all do to maximize the chances of our work being viewed favourably by REF panelists.
- Write to the criteria: when I was learning to drive, my instructor told me that in the test I should make sure I moved my head when I was looking in the rear view mirror, to make sure the examiner noticed I was using my mirrors. We’re all used to writing to the criteria of funding calls, and in fact we are all perfectly used to writing papers to the criteria of our target journals. In the last REF, research outputs were judged against three criteria: originality, significance and rigour. Whatever the interpretation of these criteria in your discipline, have you made it explicit to REF panelists reading your work exactly what is original, and why it is so original? Have you explained and effectively justified the significance of your work? And have you included evidence that your methods, analysis and interpretation is rigorous, even if you have to use supplementary material to include extra detail about your methods and data to get around journal word limits?
- Get REF feedback before you submit your work for publication: find out who is going to be reviewing research outputs for REF internally within your Unit of Assessment at your institution and ask them to review your work before you submit it. They may be able to make recommendations about how you might improve the paper in light of the REF criteria. Sometimes a little bit of extra work on the framing of your research in relation to wider contexts and issues can help articulate the significance of your work, and with additional reading and thinking, you may be able to position your work more effectively in relation to previous work to demonstrate its originality more clearly. Adding a few extra details to your methods and results may re-assure readers and reviewers that your approach is indeed rigorous. This is not just about doing world-leading research; it is about demonstrating to the world that your work is indeed world-leading. For me, these criteria are nothing new and are worth paying attention to, whether or not we are interested in REF. Meeting these three criteria will increase the chances that you get through peer-review and will increase the likelihood that your work gets cited.
- Analyse and discuss good practice in your own area: the only way to really “get your eye in” for REF is to actually look at examples of good and poor practice in your own area. Below, I’ve described how you can design an exercise to do this with your colleagues. You can do it yourself and learn a lot, but from my own experience, you learn a lot more by doing this as a discussion exercise with colleagues who work in your area. If you can, take notes from your discussion and try and distill some of the key lessons, so you can learn collectively as a group and more effectively review and support each others’ work.
How to organize a discussion to work out what makes a 4* paper in your area:
- Identify top scoring institutions for your Unit of Assessment (UOA): download the REF2014 results, filter for your UOA (columns E or F), then filter so it only shows you the outputs (column J), and then filter for 4* (column L), showing only the institutions from your UOA that had the highest percentage of 4* outputs. Now for those institutions, look across the table (columns L-P) to see which has the highest proportion of outputs at either 3* or 4*. For example, an institution may have 80% of its outputs graded at 4* and 15% graded at 3*, meaning that 95% of its outputs were graded at 3-4*
- Download a selection of papers from the top scoring institutions: go to your UOA on the REF website, find and click on the institutions you’ve identified in step 1, under “view submission data”, click on “research outputs”, copy and paste output titles into Google Scholar (or your search engine of choice) and download the articles. You may want to select outputs randomly, or you may want to go through more selectively, identifying outputs that are close to the areas your group specialize in
- Repeat for low scoring institutions so you can compare and contrast high and low scoring outputs
- Discuss examples: print copies of the high and low scoring outputs, labeled clearly, and in your next UOA meeting, let everyone choose a high and a low-scoring example. Given them 10-15 minutes to quickly read the outputs (focusing on title, abstract, introduction, figures and conclusions so you’re not there all day) and then ask the group (or small groups if there are many of you) to discuss the key factors that they think distinguish between high and low scoring outputs. Get your group(s) to distill the key principles that they think are most useful and disseminate these more widely to the group, so that anyone who wasn’t present can benefit.
It would be great if I could tell you that these are my “three easy ways to get a 4* paper” but doing work that is genuinely original, significant and rigorous is far from easy. If you have done work that is of the highest quality though, I hope that the ideas I’ve suggested here will help you get the credit you deserve for the great research you’ve done.