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REF frequently asked questions

The frequently asked questions (FAQs) below relate to the REF 2014 results; previously published FAQs can be found in the 'About the REF' section. For all enquiries, please contact the relevant funding body.

Latest FAQs (February 2015)

Is it possible to see which outputs were listed against each individual that was submitted to the REF?
No, details of the staff and outputs submitted to the REF are provided as separate lists. The information is published in this way in order to maintain the confidentiality of staff submitted with individual staff circumstances. This decision was taken prior to submissions being made, in response to concerns that some staff might be unwilling to disclose their individual circumstances if the published submissions would clearly identify their outputs. 
Why are there no impact case studies to view for some submissions?
Where publication of the information contained in an impact case study was likely to cause harm to an individual or organisation, HEIs were able to exclude the case study from the published submissions, as set out in this guidance. In these cases the impact case study is excluded in its entirety so it does not appear on the results website or in the associated download files. Approximately 300 of the 6,975 case studies submitted have not been published for this reason. 

Latest FAQs (January 2015)

If there are no results listed for an HEI in a particular unit of assessment, what were the results?
HEIs could decide which units of assessment (UOAs) they wished to make submissions in. If there are no results for an HEI in a particular UOA, it did not make a submission to that UOA.
Some submissions have an overall quality profile, but the sub-profiles are not provided. Why?
We do not publish sub-profiles for any submission whose headcount of submitted staff (Category A plus Category C) is three or fewer, because of the inferences that could be drawn about the quality of the published outputs of individual researchers in very small submissions. 
How can there be two sets of results for an HEI in a particular unit of assessment (UOA)?
HEIs could apply to make multiple submissions in the same unit of assessment. The outcome of the REF 2014 is an overall quality profile for each submission made by each HEI; each HEI has one overall quality profile per submission.
What staff data are HESA publishing and when?
HESA have published contextual data on the total full-time equivalent (FTE) staff identified as eligible to be submitted to the REF 2014, according to the closest approximation to REF definitions that can be achieved with the HESA Staff record. The data are disaggregated by each UOA within each HEI. The data are available at:
How can the results of the REF 2014 be compared to the RAE 2008?

The ‘outputs’ element of the 2008 RAE and the 2014 REF were assessed in broadly the same way against the same criteria, so the outputs sub-profiles can be compared across the two exercises. Impact was not assessed in the 2008 RAE, and there are significant differences in how the research environment was assessed between the two exercises, so these two elements cannot be compared directly.

Note that the UOAs used in the 2014 REF are broader than in the 2008 RAE, as indicated in the mapping available here.

Have you produced a league table of institutions’ results?
The REF team and UK funding bodies do not produce league tables from the REF results. We publish the results for the submissions made by each HEI. Within each UOA, submitting institutions are listed in alphabetical order, by country. 
Some ranked lists of institutional REF results have been developed by other sources. Which is the most reliable?
REF results are in the form of quality profiles for each submission made by each HEI. We have not produced any ranked lists or single scores for institutions, and nor do we intend to, so we are unable to comment on ranked lists of HEIs.
How do you calculate GPA and research power?
The REF team does not produce GPAs or indicators of research power.
Will the assessment results for individual outputs or impact case studies be published?
No, the REF results are published only at whole submission level.
Can you provide the scores for my outputs that were submitted to the REF?
Individual outputs were assessed in order to produce the output sub-profiles for each submission. Once the sub-profiles were complete, the scores for individual outputs were no longer required and have been destroyed. In accordance with data protection principles, we no longer hold the scores for individual outputs as they constitute personal data, which should not be held for longer than required to fulfil their purpose.
Will impact case study examples be featured on the REF website?
All impact case studies will be published as part of the submissions in January 2015, and in a searchable database format in March 2015.