15. For RAE 2001, research was divided into 68 subject
areas or Units of Assessment (UoAs), of which 32 could be described
as science, medicine or engineering. An assessment panel was recruited
to examine research in each of these areas. Panel sizes varied
according to discipline; for example, Physics had 11 members and
Biological Sciences had 20. In some UoAs sub-panels were set up,
for example in cancer studies. Panels could call in outside expertise
if its members felt unqualified. A submitting department could
ask for its work to be cross-referred to other relevant panels
if it spanned the boundary between UoAs or was interdisciplinary
16. HE institutions were invited to make submissions
to as many UoAs as they chose. Each submission contained the names
of 'research active staff' along with up to four research outputs
for each person; for example, journal articles, books, book chapters,
conference contributions and patents.
Panels were expected to make a judgement on a researcher based
only on the outputs submitted. They were able to consider reasons
why a researcher had not produced the requisite four outputs.
17. The period of assessment was five years for science,
medical and engineering UoAs and seven for most humanities subjects,
reflecting the publication patterns in these subjects.
Submissions to the RAE in 1996 in these 7-year UoAs could be resubmitted
in 2001. We return to this issue in paragraph 38.
18. There was no restriction on the proportion or
number of academic staff submitted as research active, although
these data were published. (Submissions are designated AF
depending on the proportion of staff entered. A = 95100%
staff submitted; B = 8094.9%; C = 6079.9%; D = 4059.9%;
E = 2039.9%; and F = below 20%.) For the 2001 RAE researchers
who had moved between institutions in the period of review (known
as A* staff) could be cited by both institutions and contribute
to their ratings, however only the institution to which the researcher
moved would get the funding for that researcher. The panels scored
each departmental submission on a 7-point scale, the lowest being
1 and the highest 5* (see table 1 below). Each panel published
a set of assessment criteria and working methods before starting
its deliberations, to which it was bound to adhere. There was
no formal provision for appeals.
Table 1: The RAE ratings system
|Levels of international excellence in more than half of the research activity submitted and attainable levels of national excellence in the remainder.
|5 ||Levels of international excellence in up to half of the research activity submitted and to attainable levels of national excellence in virtually all of the remainder.
|4 ||Levels of national excellence in virtually all of the research activity submitted, showing some evidence of international excellence.
|3a ||Levels of national excellence in over two-thirds of the research activity submitted, possibly showing evidence of international excellence.
|3b ||Levels of national excellence in more than half of the research activity submitted.
|2 ||Levels of national excellence in up to half of the research activity submitted.
|1 ||Levels of national excellence in virtually none of the research activity submitted.