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Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods

3.43 German, Dutch and Scandinavian Languages, UoA 52

UoA Descriptor and Boundaries

3.43.1 The UoA includes the languages, literatures, culture and society of the German-speaking countries, the Low Countries, Scandinavia and Iceland, and relevant communities elsewhere, from the earliest times to the present day; also Yiddish language and literature. This definition covers such areas as history, politics, gender studies, film studies, CALL etc. It is recognised that submissions may legitimately include areas of research which are eligible for submission to other units of assessment.

3.43.2 The Panel will cross-refer submissions to a relevant panel or external expert as appropriate if the expertise to rate a submission does not exist within the Panel.


3.43.3 The Panel will not establish any sub-panels, but it will enlist specialist advice from other panels, or external experts, if required.

Interdisciplinary Research

3.43.4 Interdisciplinary research will be given due credit. Where necessary, the Panel will cross-refer material to relevant panels to assist assessment.

Joint Submissions

3.43.5 Joint submissions will be considered on their merits.

Treatment of Evidence

3.43.6 The Panel will base its assessment of submissions on its professionally informed judgement of the quality of the output cited in RA2. All items submitted will be considered.

3.43.7 The Panel will use all other elements of the submission as evidence of the context and culture within which the research is conducted. The textual commentary contained in RA5 and RA6 will be regarded as particularly significant in informing the Panel's understanding of the research context.

Research Output (RA2)

3.43.8 The principal categories within which it is envisaged that work will be cited are listed below: the list is not intended to be exhaustive and no ranking or weighting should be inferred from the order in which the categories are listed, which is alphabetical.

  1. Academic journal articles, including articles in electronic journals
  2. Bibliographies
  3. Books, including:
    1. co-authored works (where co-authored or co-edited works have been cited, the nature and proportional extent of the contribution by each named contributor should be elucidated)
    2. edited special issues of journals, or collections of essays (to the extent that the editorial input/activity embodies research within the RAE definition)
    3. scholarly editions
    4. single-authored works
  4. Chapters in books, including:
    1. contributions to Festschriften
    2. essays in collections
  5. Creative writing (a succinct statement of 300 words outlining the research content will be required by the Panel in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2)
  6. Electronic media
  7. Lexicographical work
  8. Short works, including:
    1. Dictionary entries
    2. encyclopaedia articles
    3. Forschungsberichte
    4. pamphlets
    5. published lectures
    6. review articles
    7. working papers
  9. Teaching materials (a succinct statement of no more than 300 words outlining the research content will be required by the Panel in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2)
  10. Translations (a succinct statement of no more than 300 words outlining the research content will be required by the Panel in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2).

3.43.9 The Panel collectively will examine in detail virtually all cited works. Where necessary, the Panel will seek specialist advice on particular submissions once submissions are received. In assessing the quality of cited publications, the Panel will take into account such factors as the scope, originality, and methodological rigour of the research. While weight will be attached to work which has undergone rigorous editorial and refereeing procedures, the Panel does recognise that it is appropriate for some types of research to be published in less prominent, more specialised journals. Publications in electronic media will be considered in the same way as other works.

3.43.10 Though the Panel normally expects four cited outputs, submissions should use RA5 to justify fewer publications, especially when major work is in progress or new or younger researchers have been recruited. The Panel will not view with disfavour submissions which report the recruitment of young and newer researchers without a track record of publication and research activity.

Research Students and Research Studentships (RA3)

3.43.11 Due credit will be given to submissions showing evidence of recruitment and development of postgraduate students.

3.43.12 The Panel will give due credit for studentships awarded on a competitive basis.

External Research Income (RA4)

3.43.13 The Panel recognises that research income is not necessarily an indicator or pre-condition of high quality research, but will give due credit where there is evidence of the generation of research income and subsequent output.

Textual Commentary


Research Structure and Staffing Policy

3.43.14 The Panel invites institutions to give a comprehensive account of the range and scale of research activity and achievements of individuals or groups working in it.

3.43.15 The Panel will avoid penalising small departments by, for instance, imposing on them a model of research activity that can only, or more easily, be met by larger departments.

3.43.16 Institutions that submitted to the RAE 1996 should be aware that the RA5 form from 1996 will be made available to the Panel.

3.43.17 The Panel invites institutions to draw attention to substantial bodies of work not listed elsewhere in the submission.

3.43.18 Institutions may wish to consider and make reference to items in the following list or to any other relevant areas when describing their research activities and achievements:

  1. Other UoAs to which related work has been submitted and any difficulties of fit between departmental structure and UoA framework.
  2. Mechanisms and practices for promoting research and sustaining and developing an active research culture for staff and students. Institutions may wish to comment on such matters as participation in conferences, research seminars, symposia organised, study leave, etc.
  3. Nature and quality of the research infrastructure, including facilities for research students.
  4. Arrangements for supporting interdisciplinary or collaborative research.
  5. Relationships with industry and commerce, relationships with users of research or local communities, taking account, where appropriate, of Government policy initiatives and objectives.
  6. Arrangements for developing the research of younger/new researchers and integrating them into a wider, supportive research culture, e.g. a mentoring system. The Panel will take a positive view of departments which, within the census period, have recruited individuals at the beginning of their publishing careers and of those which have sought to encourage less experienced researchers.
  7. The role and contribution of Category A* staff who have joined the department.
  8. The effects on departmental strength, coherence and research culture at the census date, when staff in categories A*, B and D have recently left the department.

Research Strategy and Self Assessment

3.43.19 Institutions are requested to provide an indication of future research strategies. The Panel's attention should be drawn to ongoing work that is not producing immediate visible outcomes.

3.43.20 Where relevant, institutions are requested to evaluate and comment on any divergence from the research plans put forward in the 1996 RAE.


Evidence of Esteem

3.43.21 The Panel will look for evidence of a research culture and a considered research strategy within the unit or department. The Panel will look to forms RA5 and RA6 for details of other research-related activities and esteem factors which may be considered indicative of research standing, such as contributions to conferences; invited lectures; research grants paid direct to the individual and not, therefore, included in form RA4; and editorships, etc. The editing of journals, volumes and monograph series will be given due recognition. Membership of an editorial board, though regarded as a mark of esteem, will not in itself be regarded as a research activity.

Individual Staff Circumstances

3.43.22 Institutions are invited to inform the Panel of any staff circumstances which have significantly constrained the department's research output.

Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

3.43.23 Institutions may also wish to discuss the relative contribution made to research by staff who have not been returned as research active.

Working Methods

3.43.24 Each submission will be considered against the assessment criteria set out above and against the definitions of the points on the rating scale. The Panel's assessment will primarily be based on its professionally informed judgement of the quality of the output cited in form RA2, but taking account also of evidence from forms RA5 and RA6 of the vitality of the research culture, relevant esteem factors and other information submitted. Information on research students, studentships and higher degrees awarded and of research income will also be taken into account.

3.43.25 Submissions will be considered by the Panel as a whole. The Panel collectively will examine in detail virtually all the works listed in RA2. Each selected item will be read by at least two members.

3.43.26 Individual Panel members will use an assessment form to record and make their own preliminary assessment of submissions in order to give provisional ratings. Submissions will then be discussed by the Panel before provisional Panel ratings are suggested. Straightforward cases will be agreed at this stage and cases presenting continuing difficulty identified. Further work will be undertaken on these latter cases and all provisional ratings reviewed at a later meeting. The Panel will not adopt a formulaic approach in determining ratings. It will give detailed consideration to borderline cases and if necessary undertake further reading. The Panel will seek to achieve consensus on all final ratings. In exceptional cases, the Panel will determine a grading by majority vote. The Chairman shall have a casting vote.

3.43.27 The Panel defines "international excellence" as:

That research output which, in the professional judgement of the Panel members, can stand comparison with the best research in the rest of the world.

3.43.28 The Panel will consult a group of non-UK based experts in its field before awarding the highest ratings to any submission. Each individual will be sent all submissions with provisional ratings of 5 and 5*, and a sample of grade 4s, together with the criteria statement and a summary of the rationale for the Panel's recommendation. The final decision on the rating of submissions will rest with the Panel.

Last updated 19 April 2000

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