Oct 4, 2019
RAND Europe conducted a study to explore current and future changes in the research landscape, considering the shifting international environment, rapid technological developments and developments in public policy, and how this may affect the nature of national research assessment. We explored how changes in the research environment that may affect research assessment in the UK (REF) over a 5–10 year timeframe.
RAND Europe conducted a study to explore current and future changes in the research landscape and how this may affect the nature of national research assessment. We explored the following questions and how responses to them may change in the next 5 to 10 years: (i) why assess research? (ii) what is being assessed? And (iii) how are we assessing research. To explore these questions, we used literature reviews, workshops, a nation-wide survey of academics and a consultation of research organisations. We found that the rationale for and emphasis of research assessment is has evolved and is likely to continue to evolve in the future. Survey analysis revealed that researchers currently produce a diversity of outputs, a trend which is expected to continue, and that these vary by discipline. In addition, more researchers expect that there will be societal impacts from their research in the future, although the balance of types of impact is expected to remain largely the same. Researchers gave reasons for why they expect the landscape to change, and factors driving the changes. Finally, we investigate how technological advances and cultural shifts could support peer review in research assessment in the future.
Why do we assess research and how might that change in the next 5 to 10 years?
How do researchers expect the forms of output they are producing to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
How do researchers expect the types of societal impact their research produces to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
How do researchers expect the research environment they are in to change in the next 5 to 10 years?
How could national research assessment exercises learn from developments in peer review?
Reflections on how national research assessment may need to adapt to changes in the research landscape
Survey respondent demographics
Sectoral views questions
Codebooks for open-ended questions in the survey
REF 2021 Units of Assessment