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RAE Circular 3/00

Data Checking and Verification Arrangements

Introduction

This circular describes the arrangements for checking and verifying data and other information contained in higher education institutions' (HEIs) submissions to the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). It should be read in conjunction with RAE 2/99 Guidance on Submissions.

Enquiries about this circular or the conduct of the exercise generally should be addressed to the RAE Team. It would be helpful if enquiries could be channelled through institutions' own nominated RAE contacts wherever possible.

Data Checking and Verification Arrangements

1. All information provided by HEIs in submissions to the 2001 RAE must be capable of verification. As stated in RAE 2/99, 'Guidance on Submissions', a proportion of submissions from each institution will be checked as a matter of course. In addition, panel members will be asked to draw attention to any areas of concern, and all such concerns will be investigated. Institutions should therefore be prepared to provide detailed justification for the information submitted.

2. All submissions will be reviewed by comparison with other available datasets including HESA returns, the Research Activity Survey and information held by the Research Councils. As the basis of return for each dataset is different, an exact match will not be expected. However, where there appear to be major differences between the returns further investigation will be undertaken.

3. At least one submission from each HEI will be examined in detail. For HEIs making large numbers of submissions or with high volumes of staff, more submissions will be examined. As part of this process, which will be conducted by correspondence, HEIs may be required to supply extracts from their payroll and personnel records, student and graduation records and finance records. In addition, HEIs may be required to supply such other information as is necessary in order to verify the data in their RAE submissions, including statements made in the textual commentary (RA5 and RA6). This may include staff contracts, research grant and contract documentation, and other similarly detailed information.

4. The verification of data and other information in submissions will take place largely during the assessment phase (May to October 2001). The majority of requests for information will be sent to HEIs in June, July, August and September 2001. Information requested will normally have to be provided within two working weeks, but more rapid replies may be necessary in some cases. Institutions should ensure that appropriate staff are available to deal with any such requests during this period.

5. With regard to research outputs, HEIs are reminded that they must be able to make available, or arrange access to, any item of output cited. Outputs may be requested for purposes of verification as well as for providing them to panel members for assessment. Work requested must be made available to the RAE Team within three working days. If an HEI cannot make available or arrange access to an item of output that item will be discounted from the panel's assessment.

6. HEIs may be required to submit evidence of the actual date of publication or public dissemination of research outputs, particularly where they bear a date which is outside the limits of the assessment period (1 January 1996 to 31 December 2000 for Units of Assessment 1 to 44, 68 and 69; 1 January 1994 to 31 December 2000 for Units of Assessment 45 to 67 inclusive). HEIs should note that research outputs are only eligible for submission if their actual date of publication or dissemination lies within the assessment period.

7. Where an HEI is unable to verify a piece of information contained in its submission, that information will be discounted from the assessment. The funding bodies will consider what further action to take in any case where serious discrepancies are found.

8. Although data checking and verification will normally be conducted by correspondence, members of the RAE Team and other officers of the funding bodies reserve the right to visit HEIs to inspect information for the purpose of verifying submissions.

Last updated 28 July 2000

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