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.
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”.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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!
Academic culture and practices around research evaluation have taken a hit in recent years, with stakeholders across the ecosystem pushing for change. Now a new call has gone out through the launch of an ambitious initiative that recognises the unsung heroes of research. In this post, we discover more about the hidden REF and how it fits into the backdrop of a research environment in flux.
Simon Hettrick, the Chair of the Hidden REF, together with Tony Roche, Emerald’s Publishing & Strategic Relationships Director, dives into the reasoning behind the competition and the need for a radical shift in research culture.