Here’s a summary of one of my previous blog posts on why often the REF is bad for Academia
- It puts too much focus on applied research, meaning conceptual and theoretical work gets devalued.
- It puts barriers in the way for early career researchers trying to gain permanent employment.
- Academics are just expected to write and publish with little consideration of their other job demands.
- It can demotivate staff if their work isn’t deemed to be ‘quality’ enough.
- It will always benefit elite universities, who invest more time in their research active staff.
- The mystification over ‘impact’ means that researchers are forced to shape their research and dissemination strategies in particular ways.
- 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.
- It discourages other forms of dissemination and impact such as blogs, research reports, videos and workshops.
- 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.
- Employers focus more on your potential to submit to the REF than your ability to teach, contribute to curriculum design or undertake academic leadership.