Criteria and Working Methods
Definition of Research
The definition of research which applies in the exercise is:
'Research' for the purpose of the RAE is to be understood as original investigation undertaken in order to gain knowledge and understanding. It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce and industry, as well as to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship*; the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances and artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction. It excludes routine testing and analysis of materials, components and processes, e.g. for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research.
* Scholarship for the RAE is defined as the creation, development and maintenance of the intellectual infrastructure of subjects and disciplines, in forms such as dictionaries, scholarly editions, catalogues and contributions to major research databases.
Content of Submissions
The content of submissions is summarised below. The number of the relevant RAE form in which the information will be presented is given in brackets for ease of reference. Detailed notes on and definitions of the information required are given in Section 3. Any additional information requirements will be agreed by panels and published in their statements of criteria and working methods.
The Rating Scale and Descriptions
The following rating scale and accompanying descriptions will be used for the 2001 RAE.
2.2 Panels will use their judgement in applying the descriptions attached to points on the rating scale. They will form a view on the quality of all the research activity presented in a submission in the round.
2.3 In order to attain a point on the scale a submission should exceed the requirements of the next lowest point. For example, in the description of 5, "up to half" implies more than the maximum for "some" required for a grade 4.
2.4 Panels may form a view that the balance of quality justifies the award of a particular grade even where the precise terms of the descriptions are not met. For example, a submission which considerably exceeds the required proportion of international excellence but does not meet the requirement for national excellence in the remainder would receive the grade which the panel felt was justified on balance.
2.5 Attainable levels of excellence refer to absolute standards of quality in each unit of assessment, and are independent of the conditions for research within individual institutions.
2.6 The international criterion adopted should equate to a level of excellence that it is reasonable to expect for the unit of assessment, even though there may be no current examples of such a level whether in the UK or elsewhere. In the absence of current examples, standards in cognate research areas where international comparisons do exist will need to be adopted. It should be noted that national and international refer to standards, not to the nature or scope of particular disciplines.
2.7 "Virtually all" and "virtually none" should be understood as within the top and bottom 10% respectively. Some should be understood as around 10%.
2.8 For the Research Assessment Exercise, "national" refers to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Last updated 4 June 1999