New report scopes the landscape of future research assessment

New report scopes the landscape of future research assessment

A new report draws on contributions from more than 3,700 researchers to look at the current research landscape, including systems of research assessment, and to look ahead at how it may change over the next five to ten years.

Research England commissioned RAND Europe, a not-for-profit research organisation, to scope the landscape of the future of research assessment post-REF2021.

The report draws on the knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of researchers, funders, publishers, technologists and policymakers and includes the results of a survey of more than 3,700 researchers.

The report’s findings include:

  • Researchers are producing a range of different outputs, including books, journal articles, code, conference contributions and web content, and expect these to diversify even more in the future.
  • Researchers base decisions on which outputs to produce on internal factors such as career progression and personal preference, as well as external factors such as institutional incentives and funder requirements.
  • Researchers think that collaboration with other academic researchers is the most important factor for driving change in the research environment.

The study also found that peer review is the predominant method of research assessment in the UK and there is no evidence this will change, and that technological approaches could further support peer review.

The report is part of a wider programme of work commissioned by Research England into the research assessment landscape which includes an International Landscape Study of Research and Innovation Systems by Technopolis Group and the Real Time REF Review Pilot Study by the University of Sheffield and Cardiff University.

Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, said: “This new report by RAND Europe gives us valuable insight into what the research landscape currently looks like and where it may be heading. Importantly, the findings are drawn from the experiences and perceptions of a highly engaged research community.

“It is vital that Research England continues to provide space for the research community to contribute to and inform evidence-based policymaking that affects their sector.”

Download RAND Europe’s report 'The changing research landscape and reflections on national research assessment in the future'.

Read Steven Hill’s blog: 'Thinking about the future of research assessment'.