Tagged / ref

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.

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 Panel Criteria summaries by UOA

The final REF Panel Criteria and Working Methods documentation was released by the REF Team (based at HEFCE) at the end of January.

As a handy guide to the information the RDU has summarised the headline information for the UOA in the documents listed below:

Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy – UOA 3 panel criteria summary

Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience – UOA 4 panel criteria summary

Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences – UOA 7 panel criteria summary

Computer Science and Informatics – UOA 11 panel criteria summary

General Engineering – UOA 15 panel criteria summary

Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology – UOA 17 panel criteria summary

Business and Management Studies – UOA 19 panel criteria summary

Law – UOA 20 panel criteria summary

Social Work and Social Policy – UOA 22 panel criteria summary

Sports and Exerise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism – UOA 26 panel criteria summary

Art and Design – UOA 34 panel criteria summary

Communication, Cultural and Media Studies – UOA 36 panel criteria summary

Happy reading! If you have any questions about the REF then please do let me know.

The second brilliant external REF event at BU!

On Wednesday this week BU hosted a REF Team-supported event for universities in the south of England explaining the content of the recently released REF Panel Working Methods and Criteria documentation. This was the second REF event that has been hosted at BU in the past 12 months. The first event was held in May 2011 and you can read about it here: http://blogs.bournemouth.ac.uk/research/2011/05/25/the-excellent-hefce-ref-event-at-bu/

The event, attended by over 150 delegates from 32 institutions, outlined the similarities between how the four Main Panels will review submissions, as well as focusing on the differences between the panels particularly in how they will define and assess impact in the context of the REF.

Chris Taylor, Deputy REF Manager, spoke about the technical aspects of the REF, e.g. the timetable, element weightings, and institutional REF codes of practice, and then looked at each of the three elements of the REF in depth – impact, outputs and environment.

Prof Stephen Holgate, Chair of Main Panel A, then delivered a very interesting presentation on the similarities between the four Main Panels which have been vastly improved since the sector-wide consultation on the Panel Working Methods documentation last autumn. The Panels have put in a significant amount of work to ensuring their working methods will be as simple, transparent and similar as possible which is excellent news.

After break there were four concurrent sessions, each focusing on one of the Main Panels. Event attendees could choose to attend one session. The session were led by:

  • Main Panel A – Prof Stephen Holgate (Chair of Main Panel A)
  • Main Panel B – Prof Philip Nelson (Chair of the General Engineering sub-panel)
  • Main Panel C – Prof John Scott (Chair of the Sociology sub-panel)
  • Main Panel D – Prof Bruce Brown (Chair of Main Panel D)

After the concurrent sessions, all presenters took part in a Q&A session back in Kimmeridge House.

One of the key messages of the day was that the sub-panels will not make use of journal impact factors, journal ranking lists, or other journal scoring information to inform the review of outputs. Citation data will be provided by the REF Team to sub-panels:

  • Main Panel A: Sub-panels 1-6
  • Main Panel B: Sub-panels 7-11
  • Main Panel C: Sub-panel 18

Research collaboration (e.g. links with other institutions, business and industry, international collaboration, etc) was also highlighted at numerous points throughout the event as being of particular importance in the environment element of the assessment.

Regarding impact, Prof Holgate stressed that the assessment of impact was not necessarily linked to the size of the population affected but to the reach and significance of the impact – for example, a 4* impact case study could be for a drug that cured three people or 3 billion people.

Also interesting was the focus on 4* research being that which is transformative research and that this could be the synthesis of knowledge and the identification of a new way of doing things. A review paper could therefore be assessed as 4* if it meets this definition. Prof Holgate remarked: “we are in an era of transformation. We want game changing outputs to be submitted to the REF”.

The event was closed by Prof Matthew Bennett at 1pm after which point event attendees networked over lunch. Feedback from attendees so far has been very positive!

If you attended the session then we’d love to know what you thought! Let us know by adding a comment to this post.

The slides will be available shortly via the Blog.

REF draft code of practice – BU academic staff comments invited

Over the past 18-24 months we have been working on a code of practice to set out the approach that is being taken at BU in preparing our REF submission. The document has largely been authored by Anita Somner, Judith Wilson, Dr James Palfreman-Kay and myself with input from Prof Kate Galvin, and has been approved by the REF Academic Steering Group and REF Academic Leadership Team. It is a requirement for all institutions submitting to the REF to have a code of practice in place which has been approved by the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP), and the initial deadline for submitting draft codes to the EDAP is midday on 27 April 2012.

We are now inviting all academic staff to comment on this version of the BU REF code of practice. Comments received will help to refine the document in advance of the final version being sent by the VC to the EDAP at the end of April. A feedback form is available for completion by academic staff wishing to comment on the draft document.

The draft code of practice and the feedback form are available from the I-drive: I:\CRKT\Public\RDU\REF\COP feedback

Responses should be emailed to Anita Somner by 5pm on Friday 16 March 2012.

I am happy to discuss the document with colleagues and/or to meet as appropriate. If you have any queries, please do let me know.



BU Professor of Law presents in Geneva

WIPO logoBournemouth University’s Director for the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM), Professor Martin Kretschmer, has been invited to speak at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva.

Professor Kretschmer will open the ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ seminar series on 15 February 2012, with a presentation entitled ‘Private copying and fair compensation: An empirical study of copyright levies in Europe’.

His work is the first independent empirical assessment of the European levy system as a whole. It consolidates the evidence on levy setting, collection and distribution and reviews the scope of consumer permissions associated with levy payments.

Professor Kretschmer will present the results of three studies into printer/scanners, portable music/video/game devices, and tablet computers, including his analysis of the relationship between VAT, levy tariffs and retail prices in 20 levy and non-levy countries.

The full seminar series sees six presentations in Geneva between now and November, each by one of the world’s top Intellectual Property researchers. The full programme, including presentations by Professors of Stanford University and the University of Tokyo can be accessed online.

A video version of Professor Kretschmer’s and other ‘Economics of Intellectual Property’ presentations will be available after the event through the WIPO website.

View Keynote Speeches from the FSBI 2011 conference

The Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI) 2011 Annual International Conference took place at BU in July last year.

The week-long event organised by the FSBI and BU focused on the damage being done to aquatic ecosystems and fish communities, and discussed how scientific evidence could be used to benefit the world’s fisheries.

The conference attracted many esteemed Scientists from a total of 22 countries who presented their research over five days.

Four of the keynote speeches, as well as an overview of the conference, can be seen below.

An overview of the Fish Diversity and Conservation: Current State of Knowledge

Julian Olden (University of Washington) Invasive Species and Alternative Global Futures for Freshwater Ecosystems

Ya-hui Zhaoyh (Chinese Academy of Science) – Out of Sight Out of Mind: Current Knowledge on Chinese Cave Fish

David Dudgeon – Asian River Fishes in the Anthropecene – Conservation Challenges in an era of Rapid Environmental Change

Steve Railsback – Behaviour in Fish Conservation Models: Getting From “why” to “how”

Paul Skelton – Walking the Tightrope: Trends in African Freshwater Systematic Ichthyology

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.

Assessing societal impact of social work research

Edwin Van TeijingenREF logoJonathan Parker
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the new assessment method for publically funded research in universities. Its controversial new ‘impact’ element rates work based on evidence of social, economic or cultural benefits generated from it. But how easily can such things be quantified, particularly in applied academic subjects like social work?

Professors Jonathan Parker and Edwin van Teijlingen from Bournemouth University have addressed these questions in their paper ‘The Research Excellence Framework (REF): Assessing the Impact of Social Work Research on Society’, published in Practice: Social Work in Action.

They argue that ‘the framework raises doubts about whether it is possible to capture fully the impact of social work research at all, and social work itself for that matter’, and stress that some pathways need to be identified to do this.

In suggesting ways to evidence impact, such as primary evaluative research, Parker and Van Teijlingen also outline the stumbling blocks. There are data protection laws and the expense and time of tying up research evaluation with another research project.

The solution, they say, is for social work research to be built and undertaken in partnership with social care agencies; that impact is everybody’s concern and practitioners and those who use social work services and their carers have a role to play in its creation and identification.

Parker and Van Teijlingen acknowledge that the REF will promote critical-thinking, engage practitioners and address the challenges of public spending restraint, but express a deep-seated concern that this new method of assessment will mark a loss of ‘conceptual, theoretical and critical’ research.

Although assessing research through improved social, economic, health, and environmental aspects of life is unlikely to be questioned, Parker and Van Teijlingen strongly argue that it should not be the only set of research outcomes recognised.  They argue that if the REF approach becomes common currency, ‘society is likely to lose the deeper understandings and meanings that have permeated thinking and, no doubt practice and behaviour.’

Both firmly believe BU’s research programme designed to enhance social work practice through continuing professional education has changed practice and influenced policy, as well as numerous other benefits to culture, public services, health, environment and quality of life.

Read Parker and Van Teijlingen’s full paper.

Southern Universities REF event at BU – 22 February 2012 – book your place NOW!

REF logo
BU is hosting a 1/2 day REF event on Wednesday 22 February 2012. All staff are invited to attend.
The final panel working methods and criteria documents are due to be published in January 2012. This event will provide an update on the current developments with the REF and the confirmed REF panel documentation, focusing specifically on the assessment of impact within each of the four Main Panels.
Each of the REF Main Panels will be represented. If you have any questions about the REF, how research will be assessed and graded, or how impact will be assessed then you should attend this event! 😀
The event is open to BU staff and external delegates. There are already 130 delegates registered to attend, representing 32 different universities.

The event is free to attend but booking is essential.

For further information (including the programme) and to register, visit HERE.

Latest developments with the REF now available from the REF Highlight Report #11

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

Key points include updates on:

  • progress towards the Winter 2011 REF preparation exercise
  • funding identified for case study development
  • update of the draft BU REF code of practice
  • latest documents released from the REF team at HEFCE (including an updated external timetable and a set of FAQs)

You can access the full document from the I-drive in the following folder: CRKT\Public\RDU\REF\REF preparations\REF highlight reports\#11

REF Highlight Report #10

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

Key points include updates on:

  • progress towards the Winter 2011 REF preparation exercise
  • publication of the final REF guidance on submissions in July 2011
  • the consultation on the panel working methods and criteria
  • the appointment of Sally Gates as the REF Communications Manager
  • the RASG and RALT meetings held between May and October

You can access the full document from the I-drive via this link: REF Highlight Report #10

If you are accessing the report from off-campus then you will need to locate the following folder on the I-drive: CRKT\Public\RDU\REF\REF preparations\REF highlight reports\#10

Southern Universities REF event at BU – 22 February 2012 – book your place NOW!

BU will be hosting a half day Research Excellence Framework (REF) event, supported by the REF team, on 22 February 2012 to which all staff are invited to attend.

Book your place now by completing the online registration form 

This event follows hot on the heels of the first REF event held at BU on 19 May 2011, to which over 150 delegates from 39 institutions attended (see our previous blog post – The excellent REF event at BU!).

The sector-wide consultation on the proposed REF panel criteria closed earlier this month and the final documents are due to be published in January 2012. This event will provide an update on the current developments with the REF and the confirmed REF panel documentation, focusing specifically on the assessment of impact within each of the four Main Panels.

The event will be open to BU staff and external delegates and the provisional programme is shown below.

Time Activity
09:30 – 10:00 Coffee and registration
10:00 – 10:30  REF Team overview of the assessment framework
Chris Taylor, Deputy REF Project Manager, REF Team
10:30 – 11:00 Similarities between the four Main Panel working methods and criteria
Professor Stephen Holgate, Chair of Main Panel A
11:00 – 11:30 Morning break
11:30 – 12:15 Panel specifics, differences and impact assessment
There will be concurrent sessions, one for each of the four Main Panels. Attendees choose which one to attend.

  • Main Panel A:   Professor Stephen Holgate, Chair of Main Panel A
  • Main Panel B:   Professor Philip Nelson, Chair of sub-panel 15 (General Engineering)
  • Main Panel C:   Professor John Scott, Chair of sub-panel 23 (Sociology)
  • Main Panel D:   Professor Bruce Brown, Chair of Main Panel D
12:15 – 13:00 Panel Q&A session with all participants
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch, networking and close

The event is free to attend but booking is essential.

Book your place now by completing the online registration form 

REF week on the Blog! REF Frequently Asked Questions

This week is REF Week on the Blog! Each day we will be explaining a different element of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) as a quick reference guide to help you prepare for the forthcoming REF exercise – REF2014.

Today’s post covers the frequently asked questions Matthew, Anita and I are asked about the REF.

If you have a question which isn’t covered in this list, add it as a comment or email it to me and I will add it to the FAQs!

open access logo, Public Library of ScienceI need an extra publication and all the normal journals I submit to have very long waiting lists. What can I do? – You could consider open access publishing as a route to getting your work published and in the public domain. Open access publishing typically has much shorted publication times, often only 2-3 months between submission and publication. Open access journals are eligible output types for the REF and are usually peer-reviewed to the same level of quality and scrutiny as traditional subscription journals. Open access publishing also has the addition benefit of sharing your research with the whole world, rather than only those who have access via paid subscriptions. This increases the visability and potentially the impact of your research. BU has a dedicated central budget to support open access publishing – read more here – Launch of the BU Open Access Publication Fund.

How can I increase the visibility of my published work and maybe increase the number of citations? – As above, one of the best ways of increasing the visibility of your work is to make it freely available, either by publishing in open access outlets or adding a full-text copy of your publication to our institutional repository, BURO. You can use the Sherpa RoMEO database to check whether your publisher supports open access archiving in repositories – the majority of them do! Don’t worry too much about the copyright as this will be checked for your by the BURO team prior to your output being added to the live repository. You can also blog about your research findings and outputs on this Research Blog! The blog is visable externally and well optimised to be picked up by search engines, such as Google. We always want to hear about the excellent research you’re doing, and anyone at BU can have access to add their own posts. Just email Susan Dowdle and she’ll get you blogging in no time 🙂

I need to win some research grant funding to strengthen our REF submission. How can I increase my chances? – My main advice here would be to choose your potential funder wisely; research proposals take considerable time and effort to put together and there is little point spending your time writing a proposal which a funder is unlikely to fund, e.g. if your research idea doesn’t fit the funder’s strategic aims. Make use of our internal peer review scheme, the RPRS, to ensure your research proposal is submitted to the most appropriate funder and to strengthen and add value to your proposal prior to submission. We can also advise you of which funders have shorter turnaround times so you can get started quickly and bring in some funding during the REF period.

I am unlikely to have four outputs to submit to the REF. Can I still be entered? – Possibly. The REF team acknowledge there are a number of reasons as to why a researcher may not be able to produce four outputs during the REF period. Clearly defined circumstances include qualifying as an early career researcher, part-time working, maternity, paternity or adoption leave, and secondments or career breaks outside of the HE sector. The REF team also recognise that there are a number complex circumstances which may result in a researcher not being able to produce four outputs – these include disability, ill-health or injury, mental health conditions, constraints relating to pregnancy o maternity, childcare or other caring responsibilities, gender reassignment, etc. Further details on how BU will be dealing with circumstances such as these will be released in the BU REF Code of Practice. In the meantime if you would like to discuss your personal circumstances with someone, you should contact your REF UOA Leader, Anita Somner or myself, or Judith Wilson in HR. All queries will be dealt with on a confidential basis.

I work at the University on a part-time basis. Can I still be submitted to the REF? – As above, the REF recognises part-time working as a clearly defined circumstance which can result in a researcher being unable to produce four outputs during the REF assessment period. It is likely this will be dealt with on a pro-rata basis, e.g. a researcher who has been on a 0.5 FTE contract throughout the REF period is likely to be required to submit 2 outputs. Further details will be included in the BU REF Code of Practice.

I’m not sure which of my outputs to submit to the REF. Will there be an opportunity for them to be reviewed externally before the submission? – Yes! We will be holding at least two more mock exercises reviewing outputs, one in spring 2012 and the other in spring 2013. Further details will be communicated via the blog in due course.

Remember – if you have a question which isn’t covered in this list, please add it as a comment or email it to me and I will add it to the FAQs!

Check out the posts appearing on the Blog every day this week as part of REF Week!