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Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods

3.45 Russian, Slavonic and East European Languages, UoA 54

UoA Descriptor and Boundaries

3.45.1 The UoA includes: Russian and other Slavonic and East European Languages; relevant studies of Literature, Culture, Society, History and Thought; Language and Linguistics.

3.45.2 Where submissions either span the boundary between this Unit of Assessment and another (or others), or fall outside the range of expertise of Panel members, other Panels and/or specialist advisers will be consulted, as appropriate.


3.45.3 The establishment of sub-panels is not anticipated. However, in the light of submissions received, supplementary specialist advice might be required in certain areas, such as history and certain minority languages.

Interdisciplinary Research

3.45.4 The assessment of interdisciplinary submissions will be undertaken in consultation with other Panels as specified in the submission. The responsibility for the final rating will rest with the primary, targeted Unit of Assessment.

Joint Submissions

3.45.5 The Panel will assess joint submissions in the same way as submissions from single institutions. The Panel will expect the nature and the extent of the collaboration between institutions to be clearly identified in form RA5.

Treatment of Evidence

3.45.6 An integrated approach will be taken to the consideration of each submission, with due attention paid to all aspects.

3.45.7 However, the Panel recognises cited outputs as the primary indicator of research quality and will base its assessment of submissions primarily on its professionally informed judgement of the quality of the output. All forms of output will be assessed on equal terms.

3.45.8 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 & RA6 will be regarded as particularly significant in informing the Panel's understanding of the research context.

Research Output (RA2)

3.45.9 The principal forms of output within which it is envisaged that works will be cited are listed below.

  1. Academic journal articles
  2. Bibliographies* (to the extent that they embody research)
  3. Books - including:
    1. co-authored works
    2. dictionaries* (to the extent that they embody research)
    3. edited special issues of journals, or collections of essays, with substantial research input on the part of the editor
    4. scholarly editions
    5. single-authored works
  4. Chapters in books - including:
    1. contributions to conference proceedings
    2. contributions to Festschriften
    3. essays in collections
  • Creative writing* (to the extent that it embodies research)
  • Short works - including :
    1. contributions to encyclopedias and dictionaries
    2. pamphlets
    3. published lectures
    4. review articles
    5. working papers
  • Teaching materials* (to the extent that they embody research) - including:
    1. Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) material
    2. language materials
    3. readers
    4. source books
    5. student guides
    6. textbooks
    7. Higher Education pedagogic research materials
  • Translations* (to the extent that they embody research)
  • Other forms of output* (to the extent that they embody Research) including :
    1. catalogues and contributions to major research databases
    2. electronic media
    3. recorded performance

    3.45.10 Where items starred (*) at 3.45.9 are submitted, departments are invited to make a succinct statement (no more than 300 words), in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2, of the research element(s) contained in each.

    3.45.11 Where co-authored and co-edited works have been cited, the nature and proportional extent of the contribution by each named researcher should be elucidated in the 'Other relevant details' field on RA2.

    3.45.12 The Panel collectively will examine in detail virtually all cited items of output. In the interests of consistency of judgement, it is envisaged that initially a minimum of 25% of items will be examined by more than one member of the Panel. Additionally, items will be selected for a second reading where they cross areas of expertise, or in cases of borderline assessments. Where the Panel concludes that none of its members is competent to make an informed judgement on a work, written advice will be sought from a specialist adviser at an early stage.

    3.45.13 All outputs will be regarded as of equal significance and will be assessed accordingly, with no relative weighting applied to different forms of output. In assessing the quality of cited publications the panel will judge the extent to which general understanding in the field has been increased or, in the case of recently published work, is likely to be increased, on a national or international level. The following criteria will be used, as appropriate:

    1. Originality: the work represents an intellectual advance or a significant contribution to knowledge.
    2. Intellectual (and, where appropriate, methodological) rigour and coherence; analytical insight.
    3. Imaginative scope; importance of issues addressed; extent of implications for other researchers.
    4. Accuracy and depth of scholarship; evidence of familiarity with other work in the field.

    Research Students and Studentships (RA3)

    3.45.14 Due recognition will be given to research student recruitment and degrees awarded, as evidence of an active research culture and the fostering of future development. Different sources of studentship funding will not be regarded as particularly significant, except in so far as these indicate a breadth of research activity, involving external users/sponsors, or evidence that an institution is funding studentships to promote future research growth in a particular area.

    External Research Income (RA4)

    3.45.15 Acquisition of external research income will be regarded as a positive indicator, reflecting peer esteem in a competitive environment. In particular, awards from such bodies as the AHRB, ESRC and the British Academy will be recognised as demonstrating a recognised level of achievement. However, the attraction of external research income will not be regarded as a primary criterion in the assessment of quality.

    Textual Commentary

    3.45.16 The Panel will regard the textual commentary as a significant integral element of the assessment of research quality, and will be seeking evidence of a continuing pattern of developing research activity. The assessment of this will be informed by comparing 1996 statements of future plans (where available) with the actual research performance and achievements presented in 2001. Evidence of institutional strategy aimed at fostering a research culture and developing new researchers and a clear, realistic statement of vision for future research activity will also be sought.


    3.45.17 This part of the textual commentary should contain information presented under the following headings:

    Research Structure and Environment

    3.45.18 The overall research profile of the research unit, including details of the membership and scope of activity/achievement of any research groups/centres. The Panel will not penalise small departments by, for instance, imposing on them a model of research activity that can only be met, or can be much more easily met, by larger departments.

    3.45.19 Interdisciplinary research activity, including details of other Units of Assessment to which related work has been submitted and any perceived difficulties of fit between departmental structure and the RAE framework.

    3.45.20 Details of institutional structures which contribute to the maintenance of the 'research infrastructure' of the discipline (e.g. staff development and postgraduate student training programmes) and practices and activities which foster a thriving research culture (e.g. organisation of conferences, or journal editorships).

    3.45.21 Information on the nature and quality of the current research environment and infrastructure which provides the context for the research activity detailed in the submission.

    3.45.22 Details, where appropriate, of any institutional arrangements for promoting and supporting interdisciplinary/ collaborative research.

    3.45.23 Where a joint submission is made with another institution (or other institutions), a statement of the nature and extent of the collaboration should be given.

    Staffing Policy

    3.45.24 Information on institutional staff policy and its impact on research activity, in areas such as: recruitment and promotion strategies; recognition and development of research potential; research staff development; mentoring or support mechanisms.

    3.45.25 Where appropriate, an explanation of the role and contribution of category A* staff who have joined the department.

    3.45.26 Comments on the impact on the research culture of the department of the departure of staff in categories A*, B and D.

    Additional Observations

    3.45.27 It is in departments' interest to provide any supplementary information which serves to demonstrate the range, depth and continuity of their current research activity within the subject area.

    Research Strategy

    3.45.28 A brief statement should be provided of the department's main research objectives and activities over the next five years.


    3.45.29 A realistic self-assessment of performance in relation to each of the aspects mentioned in RA5 should be presented, with particular reference to the information on research plans which was supplied for RAE 1996 (where appropriate).


    3.45.30 This part of the textual commentary should contain information presented under the following headings:

    Evidence of Esteem

    3.45.31 List indicators of peer esteem relating to the staff submitted, such as: major academic awards or prizes conferred in the assessment period; general editorship of book series (when not honorary); participation in overseas research assessment activities; invitations to deliver keynote addresses; membership of research sponsor evaluation panels, such as British Academy, ESRC, AHRB.

    Individual Staff Circumstances

    3.45.32 Any individual staff circumstances which have significantly affected their contribution to the submission should be noted, such as periods of sick leave, career breaks, engagement on long-term projects etc.

    3.45.33 Where submitted staff have fewer than four cited outputs, an explanation of the circumstances should be provided.

    Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

    3.45.34 Departments may, if they wish, give details of the contribution made to their research activity during the assessment period by individuals (staff or students) not returned as research-active.

    Working Methods

    3.45.35 To ensure consistent and equitable treatment of all submissions, the Panel will adopt the following working methods.

    3.45.36 In line with the Panel's commitment to assessing each submission as an integrated entity, quantitative data will only be used to enhance the Panel's general understanding of the research culture within the department. Quantitative data will not be applied as comparative indicators per se.

    3.45.37 The Panel will assess each submission as an integrated whole, rather than as a collection of separately ranked individuals.

    3.45.38 The work will be shared as equally as is practicable amongst all members, and each submission will be considered by the full membership of the Panel.

    3.45.39 After due consideration and debate, the Panel will seek to achieve a consensus on all final ratings. If consensus cannot be reached, a decision will be taken by majority vote, with the Chair holding a casting vote.

    3.45.40 In assessing whether work is of international excellence, the Panel will use its professional judgement. The Panel will interpret 'international excellence' in terms of the quality criteria formulated at 3.45.12. Work deemed to be internationally excellent will be outstanding in respect of these criteria. The terms 'international' and 'national' refer to a quality standard, and not to the nature or scope of any particular research.

    3.45.41 To verify the Panel's identification of international excellence, a group of non-UK based experts will be identified, to review submissions rated 5* and 5 and a sample of those rated 4. However, the final decision on ratings will remain with the Panel.

    Last updated 19 April 2000

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