Help us create a more effective and fairer assessment of research success
By Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director, Software Sustainability Institute.
The Festival of Hidden REF will bring together people who work in non-traditional research roles alongside policymakers, publishers and others involved in the research assessment. You should attend this free event if you would like to raise recognition for your unrecognised role or practice. You will join a community that is fighting for a more effective and fairer system of evaluating success in research. The Festival takes place on the 21st of September 2023 in Bristol.
Keep an eye on our website and Twitter to keep up to date with the Festival of Hidden REF. Please get in touch with your ideas and questions. Registration will open soon.
In 2021, we ran the Hidden REF competition, because we believe that the UK’s ability to conduct research is limited by our current inability to recognise all of the people, networks and practices that are vital to the conduct of research. We knew the competition would not overturn decades of entrenched behaviour in academia, but we hoped it would help raise recognition of non-traditional roles whilst people were focussing on the REF.
Running the competition was exhilarating. Submissions poured in from universities around the UK. Volunteers gave up their free time to run the competition. Reviewers reported that some of the submissions had moved them to tears! The committee members soon realised that this could not be left as a one-off competition: the Hidden REF had become a campaign. The Festival of Hidden REF is the next step in this campaign. Whilst the competition raised recognition of non-traditional roles and practices, the Festival will address problems with research assessment, help develop new policies and build new communities.
Many people work in roles that are vital to research, but unrecognised by traditional academic and research organisations. We called these Hidden Roles during the competition. They range from new roles, like Research Software Engineers and lived-experience contributors, to established roles, like Technicians and Librarians. The competition also recognised alternative research contexts, practices, outputs and applications, and we welcome those engaged with these hidden dimensions.
Everyone is invited! If your role doesn’t appear on our website, then we are especially interested in hearing from you. We will be joined by policymakers from across academia and government. These will include people involved in designing research assessment programmes, such as the REF, representatives from universities across the UK, and research assessment experts from around the world.
The Festival will focus on sharing knowledge. There will be expert panels, break-out groups and plenty of other opportunities to talk with delegates, raise new ideas and learn from others. We are looking to build interdisciplinary collaborations that will last long after the Festival and that will work independently to improve the research environment. There will also be opportunities to work on refining the next Hidden REF competition, which will take place in 2024.