The Research Excellence Framework is an instrument of punishment and reward that distorts the things it seeks to measure. UCU’s Rob Copeland sets out in an article appearing in Research Fortnight how the union aims to protect researchers and improve future assessments.
You might call 31 October judgement day in UK higher education. Not only will academic and support staff be taking strike action over pay, it’s also the census date for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
Early this month, the University and College Union published the results of a survey of academic staff perceptions of the REF. About 7,000 responses were received from staff across academic grades and in 153 higher education institutions.
Responses to the UCU survey reflected academics’ long-standing concerns about the detrimental impact of the REF on working conditions and career development, the lack of transparency in selection practices, and the damage to the careers of staff who do not meet institutional REF expectations. For example, institutions have been warning academic staff not included in the REF that they face capability procedures, forcible transfer onto teaching-only contracts and even redundancy