Research Excellence Workshop

Location: 

Pod, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI)

Date: 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 13:30 to 16:30

Speaker: 

If you are interested in attending please register here: www.research_excellence_workshop.eventbrite.co.uk

To those who have not attended previous Research Excellence Workshops:

Over the past 18 months, on behalf of the School, we have been running Research Excellence workshops motivated by the next REF, aimed at:

• collectively understanding the key points relative to quality of research outputs,

• identifying gaps and barriers to (and opportunities for) improving output quality,

• encouraging ideas to develop a supportive, rewarding and productive research environment.

As some of you were unable to make the last ones, we are running another session on Wednesday 10th May from 1.30pm, in the Pod at ECCI.

 

During this session, we will examine what constitutes excellence in originality, significance and rigour. This session is aimed at academic staff (who have not attended previous sessions), independent fellows; research staff are very welcome to attend, as an exercise in professional development.

If you are interested in attending please register here: www.research_excellence_workshop.eventbrite.co.uk

We have received excellent feedback from colleagues attending previous workshops, who found the workshops very useful, and would urge you to attend.

 

 

About the Workshop:

Introduction

The purpose of this series of workshops is to support colleagues in assessing and in producing top quality ("world-leading") research outputs (4* in REF 2014 parlance). The workshop will be structured around papers and their appraisal in terms of the three REF 2 output criteria (originality, significance, and rigour). Ian Main will act as moderator given his experience as a member of the REF 2014 Earth and Environmental Sciences panel. Drawing upon assessment of the papers, the Workshop will open out into collective discussion on how best we may improve the quality of our research outputs (in REF; regardless of REF) as a group of colleagues.*

Location and Timing

The workshop will be held in the Pod at ECCI on the 10th May. Each workshop will start at 1.30pm and aim to finish by 4.30pm.

In advance of the workshop

Participants should carefully read the REF Criteria, provided as an appendix to this document.

Participants should bring along two publications ('outputs') for review. The example outputs could be from their own work, and/or from the general literature. At least one should be a candidate as a 'world-leading' or '4*' paper under the REF criteria.

Proposed Schedule

• 1.30pm Welcome and run-down of the afternoon (Rosie Maccagnano)

• 1.35pm Introduction (Ian Main)

• c. 1.45-2.30pm Groups review and grade the publications, using the REF criteria

• 2.30-2.45pm Coffee/tea

• 2.45-3.15pm Rapporteurs to collate a synthesis of main issues discussed within groups

• 3.15-3.45pm Collective discussion on preparation for the next REF (led by rapporteurs' summaries)

• 3.45-4.15pm Collective discussion on other ways we can as Institute/ Research Group/group of colleagues act to enhance research output quality.

• 4.15-4.30pm Conclusion and reflections. Close of meeting.

 

Anticipated outputs from the workshop:

(a) Shared recognition of the key points relative to quality of research output;

(b) identification of 'gaps' and 'barriers' to, and opportunities for, improving output quality;

(c) discussion of ideas for nurturing a supportive, rewarding and productive research environment.

 

* Publication of quality work is not simply a 'star maximizing' activity. Most academics will have a publication strategy which reflects a range of different objectives and motivations; something we may want to explore at subsequent events.

Appendix: REF criteria and level definitions (http://www.ref.ac.uk/pubs/2012-01/, click on 'Main Panel B Criteria', text below from page 68 onwards).

1. This section provides a descriptive account of how the sub-panels will interpret the generic criteria for assessing outputs - originality, significance and rigour - and will apply them at each of the starred quality levels. This descriptive account expands on and complements the generic criteria and definitions in Annex A of 'guidance on submissions', but does not replace them.

INTERPRETATION OF GENERIC CRITERIA

2. The criteria for assessing outputs will be interpreted as follows:

• Originality will be understood as the extent to which the output introduces a new way of thinking about a subject, or is distinctive or transformative compared with previous work in an academic field.

• Significance will be understood as the extent to which the work has exerted, or is likely to exert, an influence on an academic field or practical applications.

• Rigour will be understood as the extent to which the purpose of the work is clearly articulated, an appropriate methodology for the research area has been adopted, and compelling evidence presented to show that the purpose has been achieved.

3. Where appropriate to the output type, sub-panels may consider editorial and refereeing standards as part of the indication of rigour, but the absence of these standards will not be taken to mean an absence of rigour.

4. Some sub-panels will use citation information, where available, as part of the indication of academic significance to inform their assessment of output quality. These arrangements are discussed at paragraphs 59-63.

INTERPRETATION OF GENERIC LEVEL DEFINITIONS

5. In assessing outputs, the sub-panels will look for evidence of originality, significance and rigour and apply the generic definitions of the starred quality levels as follows: a. In assessing work as being four star (quality that is world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour), sub-panels will expect to see evidence of, or potential for, some of the following types of characteristics:

• agenda-setting

• research that is leading or at the forefront of the research area

• great novelty in developing new thinking, new techniques or novel results

• major influence on a research theme or field

• developing new paradigms or fundamental new concepts for research

• major changes in policy or practice

• major influence on processes, production and management

• major influence on user engagement.

b. In assessing work as being three star (quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which falls short of the highest standards of excellence), sub-panels will expect to see evidence of, or potential for, some of the following types of characteristics:

• makes important contributions to the field at an international standard

• contributes important knowledge, ideas and techniques which are likely to have a lasting influence, but are not necessarily leading to fundamental new concepts

• significant changes to policies or practices

• significant influence on processes, production and management

• significant influence on user engagement.

• contributes important knowledge, ideas and techniques which are likely to have a lasting influence, but are not necessarily leading to fundamental new concepts

• significant changes to policies or practices

• significant influence on processes, production and management

• significant influence on user engagement.

c. In assessing work as being two star (quality that is recognised internationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour), sub-panels will expect to see evidence of, or potential for, some of the following types of characteristics:

• provides useful knowledge and influences the field

• involves incremental advances, which might include new knowledge which conforms with existing ideas and paradigms, or model calculations using established techniques or approaches

• influence on policy or practice

• influence on processes, production and management

• influence on user engagement.

d. In assessing work as being one star (quality that is recognised nationally in terms of originality, significance and rigour), sub-panels will expect to see evidence of, or potential for, some of the following types of characteristics:

• useful but unlikely to have more than a minor influence in the field

• minor influence on policy or practice

• minor influence on processes, production and management

• minor influence on user engagement.

e. Research will be graded as 'unclassified' if it falls below the quality levels described above or does not meet the definition of research used for the REF.

Event Contact Name: 

GeoSciences Research Support

Event Contact Email: 

geosciences.events@ed.ac.uk