Posts tagged: Peer Review

2019 preparations and ‘REF readiness’

With Christmas fast approaching, here in the REF team we are already turning our attention to 2019 and considering how our REF readiness activities will start to take shape. In terms of our preparations around impact, the new year will herald a raft of targeted activities to help ensure that our case study submission in 2020 is the strongest it can possibly be.

Key deadlines

A few key dates in 2019 for our impact case study leads to bear in mind are as follows:

  • 28 February 2019 – Submission of revised impact case study drafts (using new REF2021 template)
  • February/March 2019 – Impact Action Plan mid-point review meetings
  • March 2019 – Recording of short impact videos (via Marketing & External Relations)
  • 8 April 2019 – Chris Simms informal peer review workshop
  • April 2019 – Planned formal internal peer review of impact case studies
  • June 2019 – Planned formal external peer review of impact case studies

The above dates are complemented by the University’s ‘SECRET’ researcher development programme, which is designed to ensure that our researchers are ‘REF ready’. Further details can be found through our Salford Advantage pages at: https://www.salford.ac.uk/staff-development

The programme includes our monthly one-to-one storytelling mentoring sessions with Chris Simms (bookings through research-impact@salford.ac.uk), impact writing retreats, bidding and funding information sessions, REF briefings and much more.

Alternatively, training of interest is also listed on our Training Calendar, which can be found at: www.salford.ac.uk/ref

 


Impact Case Study Examples

The University of Salford’s REF intranet site (www.salford.ac.uk/ref) has recently been updated to include some of the annotated case study drafts from the recent external peer review exercise.

The insightful comments from the peer reviewers will be used to help shape further case study drafts and also to help inform the forthcoming internal peer review process.

Examples can be found under the Impact section: External Peer Review

 

Some general points noted by the external peer reviewers include:

  • A number of case studies don’t distinguish between research and resulting impact, instead flagging impacts that appear to be benefits to the academy rather than societal impacts, so some further advice on that distinction might be useful
  • Some cases focus on dissemination at the expense of resulting impacts, again further advice and clarification might help
  • Some do not convincingly demonstrate robustness of underpinning research or links between the research and claimed impacts, some of this may be limitations in the research, some could be developed further
  • Most could improve the clarity with which impacts are articulated, and their apparent significance and reach (true of most cases, from a variety of institutions, at this stage)
  • Most need to supplement the current corroboration with more in depth, specific or appropriate evidence
  • It is very likely that submission of names and positions of staff, and dates of employment at the institution will be mandatory, so do that now, especially to show clarity around eligibility
  • All evidence will need to be submitted with the case studies so ensure it is in an accessible and appropriate format.  Where web pages are used, ensure you have preserved them and don’t just use standard links.

 

Further information on what makes a top impact case study can be found at the following external site, for example:

What makes a 4* Impact Case Study:

Fast Track Impact What Makes a 4 Star Impact Case Study.pdf

What made a 4* Impact Case Study in REF2014:

https://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2018/06/04/What-made-a-4-impact-case-study-in-REF2014

 

A section on how to identify 4* impact case studies on the REF2014 website and to look at lessons learned from REF2014 can also be found at:

https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/REF2014%20and%20Impact.aspx

 

Why not take this opportunity to check out this and other impact resources available on the REF staff intranet: https://www.salford.ac.uk/ref


Peer Review of Impact Case Studies

According to Fast Track Impact’s calculations (see: http://www.fasttrackimpact.com/single-post/2017/02/01/How-much-was-an-impact-case-study-worth-in-the-UK-Research-Excellence-Framework for further details), the best impact submissions to REF2014, i.e. those achieving a 4* star narrative case study, had a currency exchange of some £324,000 (£46,300 per year between 2015/16-2021/22). By contrast, a 4* research output was typically valued at between £5,000-£25,000. Generally speaking, impact case studies are thought to be worth around 5 times more than outputs at higher full-time equivalents (FTEs).

As such, the huge potential value this may bring to institutions cannot be underestimated, particularly given the increased weighting of impact from 20% to 25% for the next REF exercise in 2021. Consequently, institutions employ a number of strategies and resources to ensure the best possible outcomes of their REF impact submissions. For example, there are reports of significant sums being spent by some universities in the REF2014 exercise on copy editors or science writers in order to create compelling narratives that would stand up to the scrutiny of the REF panel members.

A robust internal and external peer review process is one means of tracking progress over time in order to enhance and improve narratives and impact evidence ahead of the final REF submission in 2020.

 

Upcoming peer review events

The University of Salford is undertaking its first external peer review of draft impact case studies this Summer as part of its REF Readiness exercise. This will give the University a snapshot of where things stand and where improvements still need to made in the 2 years leading up to the REF submission. The feedback from the external peer review will inform the planned internal peer review due to take place in early 2019.

 

Dates for the diary include:

Monday, 18 June 2018 – Friday, 29 June 2018: External peer review of 10 x impact case studies across UoAs      This will include review and annotation of draft case studies, an overview report, notes on potential grades and advice on how to enhance impact.

Monday, 25 June 2018 – Friday, 20 July 2018: University of Salford Festival of Research       A month-long programme of events celebrating and promoting the University’s valuable research. This will include a REF-focused impact case study writing workshop, an impact ‘writing retreat’ and one-to-one mentoring on impact narratives.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018: Fast Track Impact case study writing workshop with Prof Mark Reed           Mark will focus specifically on the REF and what makes a good impact case study, how to improve your writing around impact, as well as evidence collection tips. This workshop will also include detailed external peer review of 4 draft impact case studies, with recommendations of how these can be enhanced and improved.

 

To book: https://myadvantage.salford.ac.uk/students/events/Detail/597642/staff-development-fast-track-t

 

Why not take this opportunity to look at the upcoming peer review meetings and events information on our REF Intranet site at: https://teamsite.salford.ac.uk/sites/sc02/REF2021/SitePages/Training.aspx