Introduction

Section 5

Section 4

A. Interdisciplinary Research

4.1. The funding bodies are committed to ensuring that interdisciplinary research is equitably and properly assessed within the RAE.

4.2. The study, "Interdisciplinary Research and the Research Assessment Exercise" (RAE 1/99) has demonstrated that

  1. Interdisciplinary research is pervasive through higher education research.
  2. Departments and researchers widely believe the RAE inhibits interdisciplinary research.
  3. Despite these beliefs, there is no evidence that the RAE systematically discriminated against interdisciplinary research in 1996.

4.3. Particular issues arose in 1996 concerning a lack of consistency in the treatment of interdisciplinary research by panels and in instances where departments chose to split their researchers between UoAs or to seek cross-referral between panels. The measures outlined below for 2001 are designed to improve these aspects of the process.

4.4. Panels have been assembled to ensure that they cover all key subject areas within their UoA (as defined in the description of each UoA). The umbrella meetings of panel chairs in cognate areas will provide a forum for the discussion of work lying close to, or crossing, the boundaries between UoAs.

4.5. Within the textual parts of submissions HEIs will have the opportunity to explain the structure of their research activity. This will include, where appropriate, arrangements for supporting interdisciplinary research and the relationship of such research to work submitted by the institution to another UoA. It will also offer HEIs an opportunity to explain where their departments or other organisational units do not fit well with the UoA framework and have been split between more than one UoA.

4.6. HEIs engaged in interdisciplinary research may request that work submitted to one UoA be cross-referred to the panel for one or more other UoA(s). Such requests for cross-referral will be mandatory on panels. Panels may also cross-refer work to other panels where they believe this to be necessary to ensure proper assessment of a submission even if this has not been requested by the submitting institution.

4.7. In all cases of cross-referral the whole submission will be made available to all panels concerned. Assessment of cross-referred work will normally include discussion at a meeting involving at least one member of each panel involved. Responsibility for the rating awarded will remain with the panel for the UoA to which the work was originally submitted.

4.8. Each panel, within its statement of criteria and working methods, will set out how it will approach the assessment of interdisciplinary research. The reports prepared by the panels after the assessment will make specific reference to the operation of this approach and to interdisciplinary research in general.

B. Joint Submissions

4.9. Where two or more HEIs make a joint submission to a single UoA, each should submit a separate set of information covering the staff which it employs, students counted to it and research income received by it and should indicate separately that it is part of a joint submission. The textual part of the submission should be a joint one. The RAE Team will aggregate the returns as necessary for circulation to panels. Submission in this form will simplify verification of data.

Last updated 15 September 2000

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