The Tyranny of Excellence is Hurting Research

Nick Butler and Sverre Spoelstra argue that the game-playing that accompanies Britain’s Research Excellence Framework to achieve better appearances is harming the intent of the exercise.

6 years ago
Measuring spoons

REF: An Idea Whose Time Never Came

Reporting on panel looking at the UK’s Research Excellence Framework, Liz Morrish looks at whether the assessment tools created by government have extended their reach and left academics exposed.

6 years ago

Playing the Game of REF

A very strong overall REF performance signifies a large concentration of outstanding work. It is an unambiguous plus. All the same, precise league table positions in the REF, indicator by indicator, should be taken with a grain of salt.

6 years ago
HEFCE logo

We’re At Work on the Next Iteration of REF

Not all eyes will be glued to the release of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework on Thursday. Some of the people who built the REF are evaluating the current lessons to improve the next version.

6 years ago
Rama Thirunamachandran

A Quick Q&A on the REF With Its Creator

The Conversation asked the man who developed Britain’s Research Excellence Framework back in 2008, Rama Thirunamachandran, vice-chancellor and principal at Canterbury Christ Church University, to talk through it. We repost that conversation here.

6 years ago
REF2014 logo

What Can REF Teach Us About Impact?

Discussions around the REF have tended to be negative, but what exactly is viewed poorly varies by interest group[. Two academics who conducted an analysis of the media’s covefage of the framework argue there is much that can be learned for future assessment exercises and it is ever-more important that we get it right when thinking about ‘impact’ in research and the pressures academics face.

6 years ago
Impact crash

Is Maximizing the Impact of Research Desirable?

There is a push to demonstrate the impact of the social sciences, especially as political and funding authorities start viewing them through an immediate-payoff prism. But showing impact doesn’t always come at no cost.

6 years ago
Open access buttons

Britain’s New Open Access Policy Changes the Game

With the final consultation period now over, the open access policy for Britain’s next Research Excellence Framework has been released. Alma Swan looks at the rollout–which requires the deposit of articles into repositories–and finds this is pragmatic but good policymaking that should help shift the culture in British universities towards open access.

7 years ago

The Myth of Academic Stardom

The recent and on-going reforms of higher education are enforcing an individualisation of academic labour. That academics would gamely play along with such a system is astonishing.

7 years ago