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Another UoA

Section III: Panelsí Criteria and Working Methods


3.49 Archaeology, UoA 58

UoA Descriptor

3.49.1 The UoA includes: Archaeological Theory; Archaeology of Human Origins; Prehistoric and Historic societies on a World-Wide basis. This includes Early Civilisations of the Near East, Egyptology, Classical Archaeology, Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology, Colonial and Industrial Archaeology. Also included are Landscape and Environmental Archaeology; Archaeological Science; Public Archaeology; Archaeological Aspects of Heritage Management and Museum Studies and Pedagogic Research in Archaeology.

Interdisciplinary Research

3.49.2 Archaeology draws on a wide variety of disciplines and much of its research is intrinsically interdisciplinary research in character. The Panel anticipates that this character will be reflected in submissions and does not therefore see interdisciplinary research as a distinct category of activity.

3.49.3 The Panel will not establish sub-panels, but will, after reviewing the submissions, seek specialist advice if and where necessary.

Treatment of Evidence

3.49.4 Evaluation of submissions will be based primarily on the quality of research as evidenced in the research outputs (RA2). Evaluation will also take into account, in no order of priority, the following:

  1. Extent of postgraduate and postdoctoral research activity (RA1,RA3b) relative to the numbers of academic staff normalised by FTE;
  2. Evidence of research vitality and prospects for the continuing development of research (RA5 and RA6);
  3. Evidence of esteem demonstrated by external funding, reflected particularly in those funds awarded by a process of academic peer review (RA4) and within a demonstrable research framework.

Research Outputs (RA2)

3.49.5 The Panel will base its assessment on its subjective, professionally informed judgement of the quality of cited research outputs and other works.

3.49.6 In assessing the quality of cited outputs the Panel will judge the degree of impact (that is the extent to which general understanding is increased) that work has had or, in the case of recently published work, is likely to have at a national and/or international level.

3.49.7 All work will be assessed against comparable work in that subject at the national level and the scope of its impact will be considered. Work assessed as having international excellence will be equivalent to or better than the best work in a similar subject undertaken elsewhere in the world. Such work will be judged as that which makes an outstanding contribution to new knowledge and understanding and/or original thought within the discipline.

3.49.8 'National excellence' is defined as a quality of research which makes an intellectually substantial contribution to new knowledge and understanding and/or original thought.

3.49.9 The Panel will judge all publications and other research output on their merits. The editorial and refereeing standards of journals and books will be taken into account where appropriate. The Panel will not collectively rank journals.

3.49.10 The Panel is aware that Archaeology is a diverse discipline with varied forms of publication and research output. In respect of material published on paper or electronically the Panel will base its judgement on works appearing in the following forms. No order of priority will be attached to these beyond that of the weightings.

  1. Academic journal articles
  2. Books
  3. Chapters in books
  4. Editorships of major works where this involves a significant research contribution on the part of the editor
  5. Monographs as a result of fieldwork and other research work including corpora
  6. Conference contributions (published versions)
  7. Substantial review articles

3.49.11 The Panel will also assess other research output in the form of exhibitions, software, CD Roms, etc.

3.49.12 Due credit will be given to all authors of any jointly authored work submitted.

3.49.13 The Panel accepts that staff who are in the early stages of their career may not have the same research profile and number of research outputs as those who have been in post for a long period of time, and will take account of this in its assessment.

Research Staff

3.49.14 The number of research assistants, research associates and research fellows will be considered as one indicator of research vitality.

Research Students (RA3)

3.49.15 The number of research students (excluding taught masters), number of new registrations and number of completions per annum will be regarded as another indicator of quality. Doctorates in particular will be rated more highly than masters degrees with a research component. The Panel will examine the numerical relationship between research-active staff and research students in each department, taking into account the size of the department. Departments may wish to comment in RA5 on the source of their students and studentships.

External Research Income (RA4)

3.49.16 External research income will be used as a measure of peer judgement of standing reflecting a department's previous achievements, or promise. External research income, for these purposes will be defined as that which funds work planned within a demonstrable research framework leading to results with impacts as defined above. Departments are invited to comment on the relationship between their research income and research output in RA5.

Vitality in Research (RA5 and RA6)

3.49.17 The Panel will consider management, planning and organisation of research in the department. The department should be able to demonstrate that a research strategy is in place. Departments should outline the main areas of research and, where relevant, define specific research groups and individuals working within the department, (with reference to RA1), how they operate and their main achievements. The Panel is aware that much research of a high quality is carried out by individual scholars. Neither the absence of research groups, nor the presence of individuals who cannot be assimilated into research groups will count against individual submissions. The Panel does not consider that the quality of research is necessarily linked to the size of the department. The movement of staff will be closely viewed in relation to the research strategy. The department must show that newly recruited staff complement and/or extend an existing research culture; that vacated posts have been refilled and that young scholars have been encouraged. The balance of short term against long term contracts in Category A will also be critically examined.

3.49.18 The Panel will look for evidence of a research strategy and culture (RA5, RA6) and examples of this could be:

  1. Ability of departments to attract postdoctoral research fellows and visiting scholars;
  2. Record of completion, publication and dissemination of research programmes;
  3. Collaborative programmes with other HEIs and comparable national and international institutions;
  4. Forward research strategy for new research initiatives;
  5. Other indicators of esteem.

3.49.19 The Panel will look at a department's performance against its 1996 RAE research strategy where this was submitted. Departments which were not part of the 1996 RAE should detail in RA5 and RA6 any research strategy over the period of the 2001 RAE.

Individual Staff Circumstances

3.49.20 The Panel invites institutions to note any individual staff circumstances which have significantly affected their contribution to the submission.

Contributions by Non Research-active Staff

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

Assessment Process

3.49.22 All members will receive all submitted documentation and will form preliminary assessments based on their specialist knowledge. The Panel collectively will examine in detail virtually all the cited works. Each submission will be reviewed in detail by at least two members of the Panel (nominated by the Chair) who will form a judgement and present their findings to the Panel. The Panel will then discuss the whole submission once more and seek further input from members with specialist interest. The Panel will collectively reach its final decision on each rating. This will be a majority decision, if necessary the Chair will have a casting vote.

3.49.23 All units assessed as 5 or 5* plus a sample of 4 rated submissions will be further reviewed by non-UK based experts. In these cases it is expected that the Panel will wish to discuss the submissions further in the light of the advisers' comments.


Last updated 17 April 2000

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