Last chance to celebrate the staff the REF doesn’t reach

Andy Dixon is keen on the goals of the Research Excellence Framework, but joined the Hidden REF because it is both a serious and playful accompaniment to the REF proper, providing an alternative lens through which we can explore the potential future for research assessment.

Read the full article on Research Professional.

The focus of research evaluation on papers and grants excludes far too many vital contributions

Writing in Times Higher Education, Simon Hettrick argues that one of the most destructive divisions in academia is that between those who conduct research and those who are recognised for conducting research.

Read the full article on the Times Higher Education website.

Hidden REF and the importance of software

Mike Croucher writes in the MATLAB community blog about the Hidden REF and the importance of software in research.

Anyone who has worked around academia for a long time will tell you that there are many roles in academic research that are vital-but-unrecognised.  Software development used to be one of them!  Back in 2012, a group of people decided to change this situation and created what has since become the Research Software Engineering (RSE) movement. As I can personally attest, this movement has been a game changer for those of us who contribute most through research software rather than journal writing.  Our place in the academic world now has a name, a career structure, fellowship opportunities, an international association and more.

Read the article on the MATLAB community blog.

Why it matters who seeks to change how we celebrate research: the people behind the Hidden REF

This article is about the Hidden REF team situating ourselves, about not shying away from the fact that we have a standpoint, and about opening up space to widen our view, especially as we move towards constructing assessment panels to judge responses to the Hidden REF. The hope is that this reflexivity can help us to help potential entrants contextualise how we’ve framed the competition and categories such that entrants think of them as capaciously as we hoped they would, even if our descriptions of the competition and the categories narrow towards our perspectives, experiences and knowledges.

Read the article on the Transforming Society blog.

The Hidden REF raised in Microscopists interview with Dame Ottoline Leyser

Dame Ottoline Leyser was asked about diversity, inclusion and the way that research teams are organised during a recent interview on the Microscopists podcast. The Hidden REF raised as an example. Her response highlighted the “extraordinary contribution of everyone in the system”.

Hear the interview on Youtube or via the Microscopists podcast.

The Hidden REF celebrates the whole research ecosystem

The Hidden REF offers all members of the research community the chance to celebrate their unconventional contributions to knowledge. 

The REF comes in for a lot of criticism: it’s big, it’s expensive and it soaks up time that many argue would be better spent on conducting research.

There’s truth to these criticisms of course, but this does not mean that research assessment is unnecessary. In fact, a certain level of accountability is important, especially in receipt of some £11.5 billion in research and development conducted in higher education and government-run labs.

The REF is the perfect system for assessing research yesterday, but research assessment must remain fit for more modern challenges, including the need to align research and society values more closely, and the evolution of how research is practised and knowledge disseminated.

Read the article on the WONKHE website.

UKRI looking for 101 different jobs in research and innovation

The Hidden REF is not alone in campaigning to raise recognition of the diversity of roles that are vital to research. In a recent article, UKRI CEO, Dame Ottoline Leyser, announced a collaboration with the Minister for Science Research and Innovation, Amanda Solloway, to find 101 people, doing 101 different jobs that make major contributions to research and innovation, but who are not researchers.

If you are one such person, or work with one and would like to participate in this project please email your suggestion to

Read the article on the UKRI website

Hidden REF extends deadline in response to lockdown

We want to encourage debate about how research is evaluated, about the people who contribute to research, and the outputs they produce. We do not want to add significant extra work to people’s workloads. This is why, in response to the latest UK lockdown, our committee has decided to extend the Hidden REF submission deadline to 14th May 2021.

We hope that the new deadline will allow people the time needed to deal with their commitments under lockdown, to take part in the vitally important REF exercise in March 2021 and then to contribute their equally important submissions to the Hidden REF in May!