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8 December 2006

To   Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions
 Heads of HEFCW-funded higher education institutions
  Heads of SFC-funded higher education institutions
  Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
   
Cc  RAE contacts at UK HEIs

RAE Circular letter 2006/02

For further information contact Ed Hughes, Davina Madden or Raegan Hiles, tel 0117 931 7267; e-mail info@rae.ac.uk

Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

RAE2008: invitation to make submissions

1.   I am writing to set out the arrangements for making submissions to the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). I am copying this letter to the designated RAE contact in your institution.

2.   The deadline for submissions is 1200 on 30 November 2007. Each institution's submission must be made electronically using the web-based RAE data collection system. Access to and further details about the system are available at www.rae.ac.uk/datacoll.

3.   The final version of this system will be released to institutions on 3 January 2007. New data may be added to the system at any time after 3 January 2007; however the functionality enabling institutions to make submissions will not be available until June 2007. Thereafter, submissions may be made at any time until the submission deadline of 30 November 2007.

Authorised submitters

4.    We are asking you, as the head of institution, to nominate two authorised submitters, one of whom will make your institution's submission. These individuals should be authorised to make the submission on your behalf, and to confirm the accuracy of the data it contains. They should also be authorised to confirm that in preparing the submission and selecting staff for inclusion, the institution has developed, adopted and documented an appropriate internal code of practice, which attends to all relevant equal opportunities legislation in force on the submission date.

5.   To nominate two authorised submitters (one of whom may be you), please complete, sign and return the form at Annex A by 19 January 2007. We need the names by this date because two other aspects of the RAE submissions process will rely on authorised submitters. These are the requests to make multiple submissions, and the survey of submission intentions, whose deadlines are both in March 2007.

Process for making submissions

6.   Annex B summarises the technical process for making submissions. Full details are in the 2008 RAE data collection release guide. Hard copies of the guide will be distributed to institutions in January 2007; it will also be available on the web at www.rae.ac.uk/pubs/.

7.   Paper copies of your submission are not required and will not be accepted.

8.   We will send an e-mail to both of your authorised submitters to confirm receipt of your submission into the RAE database, which is held at HEFCE on behalf of the four UK funding bodies. We will not send a printout of the submission or any other paperwork to your institution to confirm receipt.

9.   If after submitting, but before the 30 November 2007 deadline, you discover any errors in your submission, your authorised submitters will be able to 'unlock' your submission in order to correct data errors. This facility is described in the 2008 RAE data collection release guide.

Presentation of data to panels

10.   Before we present submission data to panels, we will remove the staff reference codes, the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) staff identifier codes and the dates of birth from form RA1.

11.   Apart from the items mentioned in paragraph 10, panels will receive all the data in submissions to their UOA and a set of standard analyses of data that the RAE team will generate from submissions. The standard analyses that all panels will receive are described in Annex 7 of RAE 01/2006 'Panel criteria and working methods'.

Data validation and verification

12.   All data in submissions will be validated as part of the submission process: this feature is built into the data collection system.

13.   All information in submissions must be capable of verification and we will routinely check a proportion of submissions from each institution. Panel members will also be asked to draw attention to any data that they would like us to verify and these data will be investigated. Institutions should therefore be able to provide detailed justification for all information submitted. We plan to publish a fuller statement on the verification arrangements in the early part of 2007.

14.   If data in your submission are found to be inaccurate following verification and liaison between the RAE team and the nominated RAE contact at your institution, we will notify the nominated RAE contact of amendments that we will make to the data that you originally submitted and that we hold. We will also notify panels of any data amendments that we make.

Confidentiality and data protection

15.   In making a submission, your authorised submitter will be required to confirm that the funding bodies may use the data for assessment and for subsequent funding calculations and, ultimately, may publish aspects of the data on the web as described in paragraphs 17-18.

16.   We will collect, store and process the data in your submission in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will maintain data confidentiality until the assessment process is complete. During the assessment process, we will only release data to individuals and organisations who are working on our behalf and are bound by obligations of confidentiality. They include panel chairs, members, secretaries, specialist advisers and any organisations or individuals whom we may commission to assist us, for example in verifying data. We will also extract and pass some raw data to HESA to enable data verification for equal opportunities monitoring.

Publication of submissions

17.   At the end of the assessment process, we intend to publish parts of the data (names of institutions and of their submissions, full-time equivalent numbers of staff submitted) alongside the results in December 2008. We also intend to publish, on the web in spring 2009, those parts of submissions that contain factual data and textual information about research activity. This will include the names of selected staff and the listings of research output, but exclude personal and contractual details and details of research outputs in the category 'confidential report'. We will present aggregate data on supervised research students, supervised research assistants and research income.

18.   The data collection system includes a facility for institutions to mark as confidential the names of any staff or other data that should be omitted from the published data, for reasons of personal or commercial security or future institutional strategy. Your institution must ensure that any item that you wish to exclude on these grounds from the published data is flagged before the submission is made.

Survey of submission intentions

19.   In spring 2007 we will ask all institutions to complete a survey with summary information, based on their best estimates, about the size and scope of submissions they intend to make to RAE2008. Responses will help the RAE team and panels in their detailed workload planning for the assessment phase in 2008, especially with regard to bodies of work that may require panels to draw on additional expertise through cross-referral to other panels or specialist advisers.

20.   The survey will be web-based. It will open on 23 February 2007 and close on 30 March 2007. One of the institution's authorised submitters will need to submit the survey by the 30 March 2007 deadline. More detail about the purpose of the survey and the information we will request is at Annex C.

Further information about making submissions

21.   Detailed policy and procedural information about aspects of the submission process is available on the RAE web-site at www.rae.ac.uk/aboutus/policies/.

22.   This section of the site currently includes information about making joint submissions and guidance on applying to make a multiple submission in one UOA. We will shortly add the arrangements for institutions to make available for assessment the research outputs cited within their submission. Further updates, for example on the data verification arrangements, will be posted on the site periodically.

Yours sincerely

Ed Hughes
RAE Manager


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Annexes A - C

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