As the Twittersphere duly noted, the Stern Review of REF has been published– so although much reviled, REF is here to stay.

The Review has been designed to build on the success of previous iterations and to identify areas of improvement. It has generally been positively received by the academy and includes a timetable of steps leading up to the next exercise. Following a formal consultation on the future shape of REF, decisions arising from the consultation will be published in summer 2017. Stern states that the process will allow enough time for universities to prepare for collection of submissions in 2020, and the assessment to take place in 2021. As I’ve noted in previous blogs on the subject, I do think REF exists in some kind of time warp, where earth years are curiously contracted and speeded up. To meet the timetable then, REF outputs would need to be published well before the census date of October 2020, and ideally by no later than summer of the same year, so that’s just 4 years away.

To plan for the many manuscripts we’ll be receiving with the same immoveable deadline, in common with other academic presses, we’ll require longer lead in time for submission of manuscripts to allow for peer review, revisions arising therefrom, and publication. Of course, it doesn’t take us that long to publish a book, but the sheer volume coupled with our need for judicious scheduling of all elements in the REF supply chain (copy editors/proof readers/typesetters/printers) means that timely submission will make what is always an intense period less stressful for all.

Please do contact the Commissioning Department if you have any questions; if you need a book published for REF but haven’t yet submitted a proposal, we’d urge you to do so without delay. Like time itself, REF waits for no-one, so please do get in touch with UWP’s Commissioning Department to discuss your project.

Sarah Lewis, Head of Commissioning