Blog Archives

Stern Review of REF – Building on Success and Learning from Experience

The independent review of the process for assessing university research and allocating public funding has been published by Lord Stern.

President of the British Academy Lord Nicholas Stern was commissioned by the government to carry out the review of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) to ensure future university research funding is allocated more efficiently, offers greater rewards for excellent research and reduces the administrative burden on institutions.

The report makes a number of recommendations for future exercises, including the number of research active staff who should be entered, a broadening of the term ‘impact’ and new institutional-level assessment.

You can download the full report by clicking here.

Act on Acceptance: HEFCE policy comes into effect

Act on acceptance leaflet A4 v3The much anticipated HEFCE open access policy came into effect on 1st April and researchers wishing to submit their work to the next REF must now deposit the final peer reviewed copy of any article or conference paper (with an ISSN) into NECTAR as soon as possible after it has been accepted for publication.

This leaflet describes the three simple steps that you should follow to ensure your work is not excluded from the next REF.


Related posts:

Further information:

If you have any queries about NECTAR or the HEFCE policy please contact the LLS Research Support team (Miggie Pickton or Nick Dimmock).

We are also very happy to come and talk about these to your research group or School Research and Enterprise Committee.  If you would like us to do this then just get in touch.

Dates changes to NECTAR deposits

We’ve made some changes to the way dates are recorded in NECTAR with a new plugin called Dates, Dates, Dates. This will enable us to capture multiple date types for research outputs, which will improve the data we record, and enable us to capture required information to support HEFCE, RCUK and other funder policies.

This post explains the changes and tells you what you need to know to use the new Dates field.

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BIS announces review of the REF

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson today (16 December 2015) launched a UK-wide review of university research funding to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading research for which the UK is renowned.

Following the decision to protect the £4.7 billion annual science and research budget in real terms during this Parliament, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) review will help ensure the government gets the most return from its investment.

The review will be chaired by the President of the British Academy and former World Bank Chief Economist Lord Nicholas Stern.”

Read more here: Government launches review to improve university research funding

The NECTAR journey: from acceptance to compliance

The University’s new Open Access policy – driven by HEFCE requirements for the post-2014 REF – has a simple message at heart for publishing researchers: act on acceptance. In practice, this means timely deposit of items in NECTAR, and we’ve made a few changes to help with this. This post takes a look at the NECTAR workflow, from acceptance to publication.

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Information on the Research Excellence Framework

Posted on behalf of Prof. Simon Denny

The following resources about the REF may be of interest to researchers reflecting on REF2014 and planning for REF2020:

From HEFCE’S REFlections conference – The presentations, project synopsis and completed project reports are available online at

From HEPI-Elsevier Research Conference –  The speaker presentations are available for download at

Meeting funders’ open access requirements – your views needed

NorthUni277Would you like to be submitted to the next REF?

Are you likely to bid for Research Council funding?

If the answer to either of those questions is ‘Yes’ then you may already know that you will be expected to publish your research articles, and maybe even your data, in an ‘open access’ manner (HEFCE, RCUK) .

But do you know how to go about doing this? Do you have any concerns about it? Do you need any help?

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HEFCE announce new policy for open access in post 2014 REF

hefce80Following on from their two stage consultation process last year, HEFCE have just announced their new policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework.

The policy applies to all journal articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication after 1 April 2016, but not to monographs, other long-form publications, creative or non-text outputs, or data.

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HEFCE consultation on open access and REF post 2014 – 2nd stage

Continuing the two stage consultation process announced earlier this year, HEFCE has just announced a further consultation on its proposals for open access to post-2014 REF outputs.

The University of Northampton’s response to the first (informal) stage of the consultation is here.

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University response to HEFCE consultation on open access and the REF post 2014

hefce80The university has responded to HEFCE’s first consultation on open access and research assessment post 2014.

In support of their objective of increasing the proportion of research outputs that are made available in open access form, HEFCE’s proposals centred on the requirement that all research outputs submitted to future assessment exercises should be made open access as soon as possible after publication:

To support and encourage the further implementation of open access we intend to introduce a requirement that all outputs submitted to the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise are published on an open-access basis, where this is reasonably achievable and where, given the medium in which the output is presented, the concept of ‘open access’ applies.” (HEFCE, 2013, para 8)

HEFCE requested responses focused on several key issues, as follows: Read the rest of this entry