REF2014: Good or bad?

I’ve had a number of discussions recently about the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). I’ve yet to find anyone who has a positive view of REF2014. I’m certainly against REF2014 and think it is having a negative impact on how universities behave and think it is primarily driven by a desire to measure and quantify, even if it ultimately damages what is being assessed. However, I thought I would run a quick poll to get the views of others. Given how many typically read my posts, this will almost certainly not produce a statistically significant result.

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8 thoughts on “REF2014: Good or bad?

  1. Pingback: More REF madness | To the left of centre

  2. Reblogged this on In the Dark and commented:
    There’s a poll on this blog post about attitudes to the REF, as well as some rumours about nefarious things going on in preparation for it. Please visit and vote as it has had few responses so far.

  3. I think the true position is more complicated than the responses allow. For example, the REF rules encourage us to publish fewer, better papers, which can only be a good thing, but it distorts the hiring picture, with a burst of appointments pre-REF, and no doubt a relative desert afterwards, which may hit some early-career researchers depending on the phasing of their postdoc appointment. So I’m rather neutral on balance, but I can’t honestly say it has little impact.

    • I do agree that it is almost certainly more complicated than the responses allow. This wasn’t intended to be the definitive REF2014 poll. Your point about encouraging academics to publish fewer, better papers is a good point and encouraging this kind of attitude is – in my view – good. I do wonder, however, if it has really had that much of an impact on publishing habits. I certainly don’t think it has changed mine much. If anything, the only time I have thought about REF when publishing a paper is when I realise that a paper, which I’m quite pleased with, is probably being published too late to be included. In theory it shouldn’t matter as it is claimed that papers will be judged without considering things like citations. In practice I suspect it does matter and I would guess that we won’t include many papers published late in the REF cycle. It would be quite interesting to know if it has indeed encouraged people to publish fewer, better papers or if those who are publishing extensively will always have 4 acceptable papers and so don’t bother changing their publishing habits.

  4. Pingback: REF2014 Follow-up | To the left of centre

  5. Pingback: Happy New Year | To the left of centre

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