REF 2021: update for ECRs

This post provides an update to my previous blog post on “REF 2021 and ECRs: the current situation” in which I outlined the key decisions and remaining areas of uncertainty (mostly the latter) surrounding the next Research Excellence Framework.

Today, quite a few of those uncertainties have been clarified by the publication of “Decisions on Staff and Outputs“. I will soon update my earlier post to reflect this latest document (and offer a few more interpretations of the ECR implications), but in the meantime here is a brief summary of the key points of relevance for ECRs that have been announced today:

Staff eligibility: this latest document confirms that the Stern recommendation that “all staff with significant responsibility for research” are returned will be implemented. 6.a of the document outlines the core criteria (which broadly follows that of REF 2014), but there is more detailed guidance this time on what constitutes “significant responsibility” in paras. 11-13: “those for whom explicit time and resources are made available to engage actively in independent research, and that is an expectation of their job role.”

100% of staff defined in this way are expected to be returned. Meanwhile, teaching-only contracts with no research element won’t count as returnable under these guidelines; neither will RAs employed on project work (see Independent Research, paras. 14-15) nor those without a “substantive connection” to the submitting HEI. This seems to accord with what was suggested previously (see section 3 here); although I’d add that, while the intention here is to offer a more rigorous approach as to who is submitted, there does still seem to be a large amount of flexibility as to how “significant responsibility” will be determined.

Decoupling: the proposed decoupling of staff from submissions (see my previous explanation of decoupling in section 4 here) is going ahead, as described in paras. 25-29, with the numbers of outputs now confirmed: a minimum of one per researcher; a maximum of 5; an average of 2.5 per FTE, across the submitting unit. That means that as an ECR you will need at least one output, and more than that would be beneficial as the submitting unit will be looking for 2-3 per person.

The big change here from REF 2014 (although it is one which we’ve been expecting) is that there is no “ECR discount” that would be deductable per person; instead, the average and min./max. figures account for this across the whole submitting unit (as previously the expectation was 4 per person, so the average is lower). There are guidelines to account for exceptional individual circumstances (paras. 30-32), thus addressing earlier concerns that circumstances such as substantial periods of parental leave/ illness etc would not be acknowledged; deductions for individual circumstances will be applied to the total number of outputs required of the submitting unit as a whole. ECRs without exceptional circumstances, however, need to work to the minimum/average figures.

Portability: (background context in section 5 here). After much talk of the non-portability of research we have clarification as follows (paras. 33-36):

We will implement a transitional approach to the non-portability of outputs in REF 2021, whereby outputs may be submitted by both the institution employing the staff member on the census date and the originating institution where the staff member was previously employed as Category A eligible when the output was demonstrably generated.

*Added note: see para. 34 for the definition of “demonstrably generated”:  “for REF 2021 ‘demonstrably generated’ will be determined by the date when the output was first made publicly available.”

This means that if you publish while at institution A, and you move to institution B, your output can count at both institutions. This has been a big area of concern for many ECRs and I’m relieved to (finally!) see a clear decision on the issue, and one which recognises and prevents the potentially disastrous consequences for ECRs that non-portability may have had.

Open Access: the latest guidance (paras. 37-40) seems to align with what has been suggested for a long time now about Open Access requirements for REF 2021: “The policy will require outputs to be deposited as soon after the point of acceptance as possible, and no later than three months after this date (as given in the acceptance letter or email from the publication to the author) from 1 April 2018.” There are some further exceptions outlined in the next paragraph (39). As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re at all confused about OA requirements then I would suggest that you familiarise yourself with your institution’s OA support and get in touch with the relevant team if you have any queries and concerns about the process.

A couple of final points: the census date is now confirmed as 31st July 2020; and more detailed guidelines on the above are expected mid-2018.

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That summarises most of what I’ve read so far; I’ll potentially add to / clarify these points in coming days and if helpful, offer further guidance on ECR implications and what to do next; but for the moment, it looks like the outline framework is fairly clearly in place and ECRs can now start planning accordingly.

CFP: Centennial Reflections on Women’s Suffrage and the Arts, 29-30 June 2018

CENTENNIAL REFLECTIONS ON WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE AND THE ARTS

Local : National : Transnational

 An international, multi-disciplinary public conference

University of Surrey, UK, 29–30 June 2018

Keynote Speakers:

  • Irene Cockroft, author of Women in the Arts & Crafts and Suffrage Movements at the Dawn of the 20th Century
  • Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland

Conference website: www.suffragecentennial.wordpress.com

The 2018 centenary of the Representation of the People Act (6 February 1918), which granted the vote to many women in the UK, yields an ideal opportunity for sustained critical reflection on women’s suffrage. This conference seeks to explore the artistic activities nurtured within the movement, their range and legacy, as well as the relationships between politics and art. In striving for an inclusive, transnational reach, it will at the same time seek to move beyond traditional emphases on white middle-class feminism and explore the intersections between the regional, national, and global contexts for women’s suffrage with specific respect to the arts.

While proposals addressing any aspects of women’s suffrage will be welcomed, this conference will focus upon three strands:

  1. Women’s suffrage in/and the arts
  2. Women’s suffrage in Surrey and the surrounds
  3. Transnational networks and flows of texts in relation to women’s suffrage

20-minute papers are invited on any aspect of these strands, including but not limited to:

  • Late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women’s writing on suffrage;
  • Political reflections on the arts and the cultural sphere, e.g. in music;
  • Transnational networks and mobilities of political texts and ideas, incorporating suffrage movements in other countries;
  • Politically active individuals with strong links to Surrey (particularly in relation to the arts) e.g. Mary Watts, Dame Ethel Smyth, Gertrude Jekyll, Marion Wallace Dunlop;
  • Networks such as Ferguson’s Gang, Surrey Hills Group, Surrey Pilgrimage Group, and women who organised suffrage marches;
  • Sociological theories of women’s suffrage;
  • Contributions of women of colour to suffrage movements in Britain and globally;
  • Art (both historical and contemporary) inspired by women’s suffrage.

Proposals for panels of 3–4 papers (1.5–2 hours) are also warmly welcomed, as are proposals for one-hour roundtables of 3–5 participants. We encourage proposals from postgraduate students and independent scholars in addition to institutionally-affiliated established academics.

Planned activities include a panel discussion featuring artists who have been active in performing and creating works based on women’s suffrage and some of its key figures; a recital of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth; and a visit to the nearby Watts Gallery. We envisage that an edited publication will be developed from papers presented at the conference.

Abstracts of not more than 300 words should be e-mailed by 26 January 2018 to suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk. Decisions will be communicated to speakers by 23 February 2018. A limited number of student bursaries may be offered to offset costs of attendance.

Conference Committee: Christopher Wiley, Charlotte Mathieson, Lucy Ella Rose (co-chairs)

Enquiries: suffragecentennial@surrey.ac.uk

The conference is supported by the University of Surrey and Feminist and Women’s Studies Association UK & Ireland