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1996 Research Assessment Exercise Database


1. This document will help users to process data from the 1996 Research Assessment Exercise. The files are in a comma-separated text format; they can be opened in Excel and most other spreadsheet packages and imported into most databases.


2. The 1996 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) was a UK-wide project. Data collection was managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the four UK funding bodies. The higher education institutions which wished to participate in the exercise submitted quantitative information on their research activities. The information largely relates to a four-year period, running from the last RAE in 1992. The database is jointly owned by the four UK funding bodies, and, as with the 1992 RAE, is being made publicly available.

3. Definitions of the data in the files are given in Circular RAE96 2/95 'Guidance on Submissions' and the supplement issued in February 1996. There is a single electronic file for each of the forms relating to numeric data. In accordance with the 1984 Data Protection Act, information on individuals held on forms RA1 and RA2 has been aggregated to give a total for each submission. Submissions with fewer than three Category A staff headcounts have been removed from forms RA0 to RA4. The accompanying file specification forms give ranges of values for the data.

4. The following files are available:

File nameFile specification formDescription
ra0.csvspecra0.txt Overall Staff Summary
ra1.csvspecra1.txt Research Active Staff
ra2.csvspecra2.txt Publications and Other Types of Output
ra3a.csvspecra3a.txt Research Students
ra3b.csvspecra3b.txt Research Studentships
ra4.csvspecra4.txt External Research Income
ratings.csv specrate.txtResearch Ratings
insts.csvspecinst.txt Institution Codes and Names
uoas.csvspecuoas.txt Unit of Assessment Codes and Names
msubs.csvspecmsub.txt Multiple Submission Codes and Names

(An Excel file containing all file specification forms is also available.)

5. The data in these files were checked in the following ways since the submission date, and amendments have been made where necessary:

  1. During May 1996 the HEFCE sent each institution a printout of its electronic submissions to verify that the information held by the HEFCE was the same as that submitted.
  2. The RAE Audit Team followed up any queries from individual panels about the data quality.
  3. A 10 per cent sample of submissions was chosen for detailed audit during autumn 1996.
  4. The funding bodies conducted a series of checks before the 1997-98 recurrent grant allocations.

Requests for changes to the database since the 1997-98 grant announcements have not been incorporated in the files.

File Structure

6. Each file is in ASCII text format and items of information within the files are separated by commas. Lines in the text file are terminated with a carriage return and a line feed marker, and files are terminated with an end-of-file marker. Users of UNIX systems may need to remove the carriage return markers before using the files. There are no other non-printing characters within the files.

7. Numeric fields have been zero-padded where applicable, and character fields have been set to 'M' to denote missing entries. (There are no places where there are two consecutive commas.)

8. The first row of each file contains the column headings for each field which correspond to the field labels given in the file specification tables.

9. The supplementary file specification tables will enable users to check totals and values after the files have been imported. The data occupies 3MB of disk storage space.