Top Ten: Dilemmas with REF

Here’s a summary of one of my previous blog posts on why often the REF is bad for Academia


  1. It puts too much focus on applied research, meaning conceptual and theoretical work gets devalued.
  2. It puts barriers in the way for early career researchers trying to gain permanent employment.
  3. Academics are just expected to write and publish with little consideration of their other job demands.
  4. It can demotivate staff if their work isn’t deemed to be ‘quality’ enough.
  5. It will always benefit elite universities, who invest more time in their research active staff.
  6. The mystification over ‘impact’ means that researchers are forced to shape their research and dissemination strategies in particular ways.
  7. Whilst the move for everyone to contribute to the next REF can be deemed positive, this may be a frightening prospect to those working in more teaching focused institutions who don’t have any publication plans.
  8. It discourages other forms of dissemination and impact such as blogs, research reports, videos and workshops.
  9. High impact research often relies on achieving a large research grant to fund such activities. The competition to be awarded funding is so tight that for many people their research activities are prevented due to limited available funding.
  10. Employers focus more on your potential to submit to the REF than your ability to teach, contribute to curriculum design or undertake academic leadership.