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.
The Research Excellence Framework’s purpose is to assess world-class research. However, it overlooks the work of many groups who make possible high-quality research submissions. James Baker illustrates this through the case of the Research Software Engineer, without whom much high-quality research would not be possible, but whose contributions do not get counted by the REF. The Hidden REF celebrates all those who, like the Research Software Engineer, contribute to the research process.
Hidden REF committee member, Patricia Herterich, discusses how many research outputs, and the people who create them, do not get the recognition deserved. She describes the Hidden REF and its goal to recognise all research outputs.
How do you choose which categories are needed to represent all possible research outputs? That’s the problem we’re facing at the Hidden REF. Rather than solve it ourselves, we’ve handed the problem to the research community who have much more knowledge about the range of new categories we’re going to need. In this post, I’m going to take a look at the suggestions people have made over the last couple of months. What do you think about these new categories?
Our campaign has been picked up in Research Fortnight:
“In REF2014, 97 per cent of all research outputs submitted were publications. The percentage has increased steadily with successive Research Assessment Exercises and into the REF. Publications, of course, are fundamental to the conduct of research and to academia’s contract with the public. The problem arises when they become the only measure of research success. The research community’s myopic fixation on publications as the metric of research excellence means that the REF overlooks many skilled people who are essential to the conduct of research but do not get authorship of papers.”
Publications alone do not measure research excellence! We’re running ‘the hidden REF’ as a competition that will celebrate all research outputs and recognise everyone that contributes to the conduct of research.
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