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The results of the 2014 REF (the Research Excellence Framework, which calibrates the quality of research produced by UK-based higher education institutions), were published on 18 December 2014 – causing great excitement in the UWP offices. All of us here were very proud to see the hard work of authors and editors who submitted their books or articles to REF rewarded, and we are delighted that the academics and universities with whom we work closely have done so well. Submitting research to the REF can be a stressful undertaking, for academics and for publishers, so it is fantastic to enjoy such a successful outcome in playing our part in the publication of internationally-recognized, impactful and innovative research. HEFCE (the funding body for higher education for England, but which also covers Wales), provides a useful analysis of the results:

“The REF provides a robust and thorough assessment of the quality of universities’ research in all disciplines. The research of 52,061 academic staff from 154 UK universities was peer-reviewed by a series of panels comprising UK and international experts, and external users of research. The panels judged 30% of the submitted work to be ‘world-leading’ (4*) and a further 46% to be ‘internationally excellent’ (3*). The quality of research outputs was found to have improved significantly since the last exercise in 2008 […]. Benchmarked against international standards, 22% of research outputs in the REF were judged to be of world-leading (4*) quality, up from 14% in 2008. A further 50% were judged to be of internationally excellent (3*) quality, up from 37%.”

This good news is encouraging as we begin to plan for the next REF, scheduled for 2020. This might seem far away, but it is actually closer than you think – so if you are a UK-based academic and considering publishing in time for REF, please do let us know as soon as possible, and we can begin setting the wheels in motion for future ground-breaking research.

Catherine Jenkins