Celebrating all research outputs and the people who generate them: The hidden REF

Current debates not only call for a culture change in the way research outputs are shared, but also in the way research is assessed. Responsible research assessment (RRA) covers assessment approaches that incentivise, reflect and reward the plural characteristics of high-quality research, in support of diverse and inclusive research cultures. While funders are working on policies that reflect these debates (Curry et al., 2020), there are a range of initiatives that are exploring new aspects of recognising the quality and value of research.

In the UK, research activities in higher education institutions are assessed by a system called the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The hidden REF is a grassroots initiative that ran from February 2020 to September 2021 in the UK in an effort to highlight that a change is needed in how we reward the production of all kinds of research outputs and how we can give better recognition to all roles in research. The hidden REF was inspired by the Research Excellence Framework system in the UK and ran as a friendly competition organised by a committee of volunteers, chaired by the UK’s Software Sustainability Institute’s deputy director Simon Hettrick.

Read the implementation story here or see the FAIRsFAIR website for additional implementation and adoption stories.