The REF is a process of expert review, carried out by expert panels for each of the 34 subject-based units of assessment (UOAs), under the guidance of four main panels. Expert panels are made up of senior academics, international members, and research users

For each submission, three distinct elements are assessed: the quality of outputs (e.g. publications, performances, and exhibitions), their impact beyond academia, and the environment that supports research. 

For all projects that make up our archive, descriptions of the output types is provided below.

Output Descriptions

Authored book

An authored book written entirely by a single author or by joint authors who share responsibility for the whole book.

Edited book

A book or volume in which individual chapters or contributions have been written by different authors.

To submit a work in this category the editor must have had sole responsibility, or be identified as having made a substantial contribution to the editing, choices for inclusion and underpinning process of investigation.

Conference Paper

A conference paper or other contribution published in conference proceedings. The conference proceedings will usually have an ISSN or ISBN and may be published in a number of formats.

Design

A creative research/problem-solving output in the form of design drawings, books, models, exhibitions, websites, installations or built works. This may take the form of moving image, sonic, visual or other digital media or written text, or a combination of these, as appropriate, to enable the panel to access the research dimensions and/or the researcher’s contribution to the design and to assess its significance, originality and rigour.

The material submitted should provide sufficient information to allow the panel to assess the research process, research insights, and time and manner of dissemination.

Exhibition

A single or series of public events, or short-term, long-term or permanent installations,  at which works of interest are displayed. This may take the form of moving image, sonic, visual or other digital media or written text, or a combination of these, as appropriate, to enable the panel to access the research dimensions and/or the researcher’s contribution to the exhibition and to assess its significance, originality and rigour.

Submissions can be:

  • solo exhibitions

  • curation of exhibitions

  • contributions to collaborative group exhibitions.

Journal article

A scholarly paper, usually on a specific topic, published in an externally circulated scholarly or professional journal that has an ISSN.

Chapter in book

This category includes contributions to edited books.

Performance

A live or recorded performance (by, for example, an actor, musician, dancer, conductor, artist) to an external audience. The ‘author’ can have one (or more) of a variety of major roles (e.g. lead performer, director, writer) in the production, which should meet the REF definition of research. The role should be specified within the additional details required, with details of other participants involved in the research.

This may take the form of moving image, sonic, visual or other digital media or written text, or a combination of these, as appropriate, to enable the panel to access the research dimensions and/or the researcher’s contribution to the performance and to assess its significance, originality and rigour.

Artefact

Artefacts, objects or craftworks, exhibited, commissioned or otherwise presented or offered in the public domain, for example visual arts, craft and cultural creations.

This may take the form of moving image, sonic, visual or other digital media or written text, or a combination of these, as appropriate, to enable the panel to access the research dimensions and/or the researcher’s contribution to the artefact and to assess its significance, originality and rigour.

Digital or visual media

Research outputs presented in digitised and/or audio-visual format. This may take the form of moving image, sonic, visual or other digital media or written text, or a combination of these, as appropriate, to enable the panel to access the research dimensions and/or the researcher’s contribution to the output and to assess its significance, originality and rigour.

The material submitted should provide sufficient information to allow the panel to assess the research process, research insights, and time and manner of dissemination.

Other

Other forms of assessable output meeting the definition of research but not captured within any of the above categories. This may include (but is not limited to):

  • new materials

  • structures

  • images

  • buildings

  • food products and processes

  • published geological and/or geomorphological maps

  • creative bodies of enquiry

  • design processes / programme of  research

  • multi-platform projects

  • curatorial projects

  • a creative writing collection (a number of related works that were published in forms other than a book length collection)

  • a collection of creative and/or critical work (for example, related articles, books, choreographic materials, essays, dramaturgical works, films, recordings etc.) on a related topic that address different aspects of a single project and are collectively greater than the sum of their parts

  • substantial dictionary or encyclopaedia entries and groups of short items including groups of entries.

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