From Guidance on submissions (circulated to all
1.12. The definition of research which applies
in the exercise is:
"Research" for the purpose of the RAE
is to be understood and original investigation undertaken in order
to gain knowledge and understanding. It includes work of direct
relevance to the needs of commerce and industry, as well as to
the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship*; the invention
and generation of ideas, images, performances and artefacts including
design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights;
and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development
to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products
and processes, including design and construction. It excludes
routine testing and analysis of materials, components and processes,
eg for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from
the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes
the development of teaching materials that do not embody original
* Scholarship for the RAE is defined as the
creation, development and maintenance of the intellectual infrastructure
of subjects and disciplines, in forms such as dictionaries, scholarly
editions, catalogues and contributions to major research databases.
From Guidance to panel chairs (circulated to all
2.21 The definition of "research output"
is deliberately broad, in principle any form of publicly available
assessable output embodying the outcome of research, as defined
for the RAE (Annex A), may be cited, HEIs must have confidence
that any output cited will be fully and properly assessed and
panels may not regard any particular form of output as of greater
or lesser quality than another per se. In addition to printed
academic work, research output may include new materials, devices,
images, products and buildings; intellectual property, whether
in patents or other forms; performances, exhibits or events; work
published in non-print media. The only exception to the requirement
that outputs must be publicly available is where they are confidential.
Examples would include research reports for companies which are
commercially sensitive or reports for government departments or
agencies which have not been released into the public domain.
In such instances institutions will have to make appropriate arrangements
for panels to access the outputs. Responsibility will rest with
the submitting institution to ensure that all necessary permissions
for access to confidential work have been obtained.
15. WHAT DATA
IN RAE 2001? HAVE
HEFCE does not permit institutions to include
information on the gender of researchers in RAE returns, because
gender is not relevant to the assessment (although there will,
of course, be cases, where the gender of the researcher is known
to the panel).
Any suggestion that a panel had not taken due
account of maternity leave would be treated extremely seriously.
We are not aware of any such allegations.
We are currently working with the Equality Challenge
Unit to specify a research programme into the position of women,
ethnic minorities and other minorities in research roles in HE.
The RAE is very much within the scope of that programme.
With regard to the RAE there are, potentially,
3 issues to explore:
the rules and structures of the RAE
and their effects upon the behaviour of HEIs.
the responses of HEIs to the RAE
(including irrational ones) and their effects on female and minority
researchers. This would cover both decisions on who to submit
as research active and the extent to which the RAE may be used
to explain other decisions which may themselves be questionable.
the behaviour of RAE panels in particular
and peer review bodies in general in relation to their effects
on female and minority researchers. (NB there is a significant
existing literature on peer review).
In developing our Equalities Research Programme
we are currently attempting to identify the areas of research
deserving of the highest priority. Should the committee wish to
express a view on whether the effects of the RAE should form a
major part of the HEFCE's research programme we would, of course
be very happy to hear that view.
16. THE COMMITTEE
FROM OST) THAT
2001 THAN 1996?
We are unconvinced by claims that the RAE in
any way disadvantages interdisciplinary research in November 1999
the HEFCE, as part of its review of research policy, issued a
call for evidence. No persuasive evidence was produced to suggest
that his was a significant problem.
What is more a study commissioned to support
the development of RAE2001 found that there is no correlation
whatever between the proportion of interdisciplinary research
in a department and its RAE rating.
A more pressing concern relates to the quality
of judgements made about interdisciplinary research. The task
for the RAE management is to ensure that judgements on the quality
of research are made by genuine peerswhich is obviously
more difficult with regard to research which straddles more than
one unit of assessment.
To this end we have provided a facility for
panels to receive opinions on individual outputs, either from
other panels or from specially appointed advisers with the necessary
We have also introduced sub-panels in some areas.
Main RAE panels are allowed to seek advice on research outputs
from these sub-panels; and institutions are also allowed to insist
that they do so some sub-panels cover interdisciplinary research
areas such as development or cancer studies; others might more
properly be described as sub-disciplinary, covering areas subsumed
within large units of assessment. The advice of sub-panels is
not binding upon the main panel (which is responsible for awarding
the grade, although the medical sub panels give grades for work
in the thematic area, which are published alongside the grades
of the main panel. A complete list of sub-panels used in RAE2001
is to be found in Annex E.