Research Excellence Framework

Research Excellence Framework

The quality of research in UK Higher Education Institutions is measured via the Research Excellence Framework (REF). This assessment was last done in 2014 and will run again in 2021. The results of the exercise are also used to allocate quality-related research funding. REF is therefore reputationally and financially important.

Research is assessed on a disciplinary basis with information submitted by a Unit of Assessment (UoA). In the Social Sciences Division, REF UoAs map closely (though not precisely) to our departmental structures. In REF, UoAs submit research outputs, impact case studies and environment templates for assessment by peer review, alongside a wide range of research-related data. Final REF2021 requirements are due to be published in January 2019, though University preparations are already well under way. If you have any questions please contact Sam Sneddon (Head of Research, Impact, & Engagement) -

What you can do now

We do know that REF requires researchers to make their outputs available for Open Access. The University supports this through Symplectic Elements and the Oxford Research Archive (ORA). Since 1 April 2016, all members of the collegiate University have been required to deposit the Author-Accepted Manuscript (i.e. the typescript, final revised version, or pre-print) of all journal articles and conference papers to ORA. You can find more information about how to Act on Acceptance here.


Divisional Research Strategy

Support for research grant and research impact applications

Advice, Skills and Training

Internal Funding

Research Ethics and Integrity

Useful websites

Handbook homepage