The importance of being REF-able: academic writing under pressure from a culture of counting | Impact of Social Sciences

peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-06-25


"Universities in the UK are subject to a national Research Excellence Framework (REF) aimed at rating the quality of research and allocating funding accordingly, with higher rated institutions receiving more funding. As well as direct funding, a high score on the REF also links to rankings and league tables, which in turn affect an institution’s ability to raise income from tuition fees. Given the importance of high REF scores, most universities and departments have policies in place to encourage their academic staff to produce work likely to score highly in the REF.

Our study found that academics’ capacity for career advancement was closely coupled to their universities’ strategic interests in performing well on the REF. For example, during probationary periods, new lecturers were required to publish certain numbers of papers of a specified quality. For academics working in marketing, quality was determined using the Chartered Association of Business Schools’ (ABS) annually published Academic Journal Guide, which ranks business and management journals on a star-rating system similar to that employed by the REF. This target list of journals was used in all three of the marketing departments participating in the study, and the star-rating system employed by the ABS was deeply embedded in discourse of the marketing academics we spoke to about scholarly writing and academic success. Each talked about their own publications in these terms, as seen in the comment below: ..."



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Tags: oa.ref oa.assessment

Date tagged:

06/25/2022, 10:26

Date published:

06/25/2022, 06:26