I believe that REF 2021 presents a great opportunity for the University of Bath to showcase the world leading impactful research conducted here. The quality of the research contribution of our staff is acknowledged and valued by the University and we intend that our submission will reflect the leading aim of our research strategy: “Conducting internationally-leading research of global significance”.
There has been an enormous amount of work put in by colleagues across the University to get us to this point in our preparations. I am very grateful for this effort and for the work that will continue right through to submission. As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research), I am responsible for leading our REF preparations, but much of the day to day work is led by Katy McKen as Head of Research Information & Impact. At this critical point in our REF preparations, I have invited Katy to add some thoughts (below) to this blog as a guest blogger.
Thoughts from Head of Research Information and Impact Katy McKen
We are approaching a key point in our REF 2021 preparations, namely the approval of our Code of Practice by the REF Equality and Diversity Advisory Panel (EDAP), which advises the funding bodies and the REF panels. The Code of Practice is a document that all Universities are required to produce as part of their REF preparations. The Code sets out how we will make decisions about our REF submission, who will make the decisions and how individuals will be informed of those decisions. The Code is currently with EDAP for review. Once it is approved we will publish the Code and hold open staff meetings to give colleagues an opportunity to ask any questions. Until this is approved we cannot make any decisions about the composition of our REF submission.
Number of outputs
REF 2021 is different from REF 2014 in a number of key ways, not least the requirement to submit all eligible staff and the reduction of the number of outputs required per individual. But one aspect which has not changed is that Equality & Diversity is at the centre of our preparations.
The University recognises that there may be many reasons why individuals publish at different rates, and doesn’t expect every member of eligible staff to contribute equally to the volume of outputs submitted. The REF 2021 rules mean that every member of eligible staff must contribute at least one output to the submission. But once that minimum requirement is met, the remaining outputs in our submission will be selected with quality as the primary criterion. There is no expectation that everyone will have the same number of outputs in the submission. And, as in 2014 with our publicly stated no detriment policy, nor will there be any significance placed on the number of an individual’s outputs included in the submission.
The University acknowledges that research productivity can be affected by a range of personal circumstances. So that we can take account of these circumstances at a Unit level – and allow conversations to happen in Departments around reasonable adjustments if necessary - we will be writing to every REF eligible member of staff in September to give them the opportunity to make a voluntary declaration. The full list of circumstances which can be taken into account can be found here.
All cases will be considered by a single Staff Circumstances Panel so that we can ensure consistency of approach. The membership of the panel can be found here.
We also need to understand which of our staff became independent researchers during the REF period. We will ask about this in the same survey in September. Decisions about research independence will be taken by Faculty / School panels to allow for disciplinary differences. The members of these panels can be found here.
If you have any queries at all about the survey or the process please contact REF2021@bath.ac.uk
We are planning a REF Dress Rehearsal exercise to pull together a complete draft of our REF submission. This is planned to run between October 2019 and June 2020. This will give us an opportunity to amend and finalise our submission prior to the Vice-Chancellor confirming it in November 2020.
If you have any queries contact Katy (firstname.lastname@example.org)