You are in : About us > Policies and procedures > Collecting research outputs > Publishers provide assessment panels with streamlined, free access to 150,000 journal articles for the RAE 2008

Publishers provide assessment panels with streamlined, free access to 150,000 journal articles for the RAE 2008

With the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) results imminent, the RAE team and the Publisher Licensing Society (PLS) have described how the publishing community worked together to simplify access to articles submitted for assessment by UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

One of the challenges was to provide the RAE assessment panels with seamless electronic access to over 150,000 journal articles without authentication barriers or licence conditions. Improvements to the consuming and largely paper based processes of the last assessment carried out in 2001 needed to be made. So the RAE team called upon the Publishers Licensing Society (PLS), which represents publishers’ collective licensing interests, to broker a deal to allow fee-waived, direct online access to publisher content and to co-ordinate the project on behalf of around 2000 publishers’ worldwide.

Ed Hughes, RAE Manager, said:

"We would like to thank publishers for not only agreeing to a licence solution for the RAE, but also for allowing our expert review panels direct access to their content. We wanted to make it easier for submitting HEIs to provide material to the panel electronically and we needed to simplify access for our 1100 panel members. These arrangements have allowed us to accomplish the RAE in a more efficient way, and has eased the burden on submitting institutions and assessment panels. I’m delighted that publishers and the RAE team were able to collaborate effectively on this vital project."

Alicia Wise, CEO PLS, says:

"It was a very interesting challenge and one that I knew the PLS could provide valuable input to. The sheer choreography of getting 100s of individual publishers to understand and agree to a single, fee-waived licence, for access to content for the purposes of the RAE was significant. It has been the most complex licence I have ever worked on and the most demanding from the point of view of co-ordinating the sheer number of participating publishers, trade associations and industry bodies that provided input to the project. I am very impressed with the way the publishing community responded to this challenge and delighted that the PLS could play a role in helping marry technological solutions and licensing considerations to help with this important exercise."

About the Research Assessment Exercise

The Research Assessment Exercise is conducted jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DEL).

The primary purpose of the RAE 2008 is to produce quality profiles for each submission of research activity made by institution. The four higher education funding bodies intend to use the quality profiles to determine their grant for research to the institution which they fund with effect from 2009-10 - over £1.5 billion per year will be allocated for research using the results of the 2008 RAE. Any higher education institution in the UK that is eligible to receive research funding from one of these bodies is eligible to participate in the exercise.

About the PLS

The Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) is a non-profit organisation representing UK publishers on matters relating to collective copyright and licensing. PLS works with thousands of publishers in the UK and internationally, operating with the trade associations for publishers’ rights.