Tagged / ref

REF event 19 & 20 May 2011 – SAVE THE DATE!

REF logoBU will be holding a two day Research Excellence Framework (REF) event on 19 and 20 May to which all staff are invited to attend.

Day 1 (open to BU staff and external delegates)
9am-2pm – this will be an external event supported by HEFCE to which all HEIs in the South of England will be invited. The focus will be on developing and assessing impact for the REF. There will be speakers from HEFCE, an academic from one of the impact pilot institutions (University of Plymouth), and some of the impact pilot panel members. The event is aimed primarily at academics likely to be submitted to the REF and UOA Leaders. It will provide a forum for networking and discussion around preparations for the impact element of the REF.

Day 1 (open to BU staff only)
2pm-5pm – There will be an opportunity for internal networking, a demonstration of the publications management system BU will soon be implementing, and a talk by Prof Matthew Bennett on building a publication profile for the REF.

Day 2 (open to BU staff only)
9am-4:30pm – the focus of Day 2 is the development of the BU impact case studies. The day will open with a presentation by Prof Matthew Bennett on what impact actually is, followed by presentations of the impact case studies being developed at the moment (3 per Unit of Assessment). These will run in 9 concurrent sessions with 4 presentations taking place in parallel during each session. The main aims of Day 2 are to get academics thinking about the impact case studies in a structured way, to identify resource requirements to maximise potential impacts, and the engage staff from M&C with the case studies being developed. In addition this is a great opportunity to showcase the excellent research that is undertaken at BU, to meet colleagues from other Schools, and to stimulate ideas for future research collaborations.

The event is free to attend but booking is essential. Booking will open next week – further details to follow!

REF Highlight Report #8

REF logoThe latest REF Highlight Report is now available from the Research Intranet.

Key points include updates on:

  • progress with the UOA Action Plans
  • the REF two-day event to be held at BU in May (19th/20th)
  • the second mock exercises for UOAs 7 and 26
  • the RASG and RALT meetings held in March

You can access the full document from here: REF Highlight Report #8

Journal Impact Factors Explained

There is often some confusion around Journal Impact Factors in terms of where they come from, how they’re calculated and what they mean. Hopefully the following will provide a brief explanation.


What are Journal Impact Factors?
Journal Impact Factors are just one of a number of journal analytical measures that form part of an online resource provided by Thomson Reuters on their Web of Knowledge called Journal Citation Reports® (JCR), which covers journals in the sciences, technology and social sciences. JCR provides a facility for the evaluation and comparison of journals across fields within the subject areas covered.

Other publications databases may provide their own tools for bibliometric or citation analysis (such as Elsevier’s Scopus) but Journal Impact Factors are only found on the Web of Knowledge.

A Journal Impact Factor is the average number of times that articles from a particular journal published in the past two years have been cited in the JCR year.

How are Journal Impact Factors calculated?
Journal Impact Factors are calculated by dividing the number of citations to articles published by a particular journal in the JCR year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years. For example, an Impact Factor of 2.5 means that, on average, the articles published in that journal up to two years ago have been cited two and a half times. Citing articles may be from the same journal although most citing articles are from different journals.

The number of articles given for journals listed in JCR primarily include original research and review articles. Editorials, letters, news items and meeting abstracts are usually not included in article counts because they are not generally cited. Journals published in non-English languages or using non-Roman alphabets may be less accessible to researchers worldwide, which can influence their citation patterns.

How are Journal Impact Factors used?
Journal Impact Factors can help in understanding how many citations journals have received over a particular period – it is possible to see trends over time and across subject areas, and they may help when you’re deciding where to publish an academic paper. However, as with all statistics, Journal Impact Factors should be used with caution and should ideally be combined with other metrics depending on how they’re being applied.

Equally, a journal’s Impact Factor is not necessarily a direct indicator of the quality of an individual paper published in that journal. Some published articles never receive any citations, for various reasons, even if they appear in a high impact factored journal.

Journal Impact Factors and the REF
Some of the assessment panels will be provided with citation metrics as part of HEFCE’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) in some subject areas, which will help inform the panel members’ judgements. However, journal impact factors or equivalent journal ranking systems (e.g. the ABS list) will NOT be used at all within the assessment process.

Publication, publication, publication!

VC Jonty de WolfeIt was with mixed feelings that I settled down to watch the first episode of Campus last night. Would it be funny, would I get the in-jokes, would they mention research, or would it be too close to the mark and therefore too painful to watch? The main thrust of the episode saw Vice Chancellor Jonty de Wolfe pressuring English professor Matt Beer to write a best selling publication, as one of his colleagues in another department had recently managed, but unfortunately the professor was too distracted to comply. Replace distracted with another word (perhaps busy, unsure, pressured) and this may resonate a little better with BU.

Whilst Campus was far fetched and at times utterly ridiculous, the pressures on academics to produce high impact publications are very true, especially now as we are preparing for our submission to the REF. Rather than acting like tyrannical and eccentric VC de Wolfe, we’ve pulled together some sources of information for academics feeling the pressure of publication.

How to get published – The Times Higher Education have produced an excellent booklet – How to get Published: a Guide for Academics. The guide includes the seven chapters, written by experts in academic publishing, including advice and information on the publication process, getting your work into an academic journal, and how to turn your research into a best seller (I’m sure this last chapter would have been useful for the Professor in Campus last night).

journalsHow to get published in academic journals – The road to getting published in academic journals can be a daunting journey. There is a booklet published by PSA/Wiley-Blackwell called Publishing in Politics: a Guide for New Researchers which is an excellent introduction to publishing recommended for researchers in all disciplines, not just politics.

Professor Keith Dowding (LSE) has produced a couple of guides for those new to getting published in academic journals which are particularly useful. These were published in European Political Science and provide an overview of the journal publishing journey:

Individual journal publishers usually provide advice and guidelines for prospective authors – these can normally be found on their websites.

Open access publishing – BU has a central budget for paying for open access publishing costs. Read more here.

Do you have any advice on getting published that could benefit your colleagues? If so share it here by adding a comment to the BU Research Blog!