Outputs in Informatics

School specific information on preparations for the outputs component of REF2021.

Outputs have a weighting of 60% for REF2021, and all REF-eligible staff are expected to contribute at least one output to our REF return.  In the mock REF exercise (2018) we had about 140 REF-eligible staff from Informatics and EPCC, and we needed to return about 315 outputs.  Of those 315 outputs, there needed to be 1 output per eligible staff member (about 44% of the total), with the remainder coming from an "open list" containing up to 4 additional outputs from any individual researcher.

Quality not quantity

REF2021 emphasises quality over quantity - from a REF perspective, the most important contribution from any REF-eligible staff member is to have a one output with as high a quality as possible. (Obviously if you have multiple high quality outputs that is fantastic, and very helpful to our REF submission!).  If your best paper is a (non-top-tier) conference paper, then one way to improve the quality of your best output is by refining and extending the paper into a journal submission.

The "100 words" - additional factual information for an output

Each output may be accompanied by a description of at most 100 words, providing factual information about the output that is not evident within the output itself. This could include, for example, additional evidence about how an output has gained recognition, impacted the state of the art, led to further developments, or has been applied.  You should aim to provide such a description for each output you submit.

The evidence provided should be succinct, verifiable, and externally referenced where appropriate. Where claims are made relating to the industrial significance of the output, the name and contact details of a senior industrialist must be given to allow verification of claims. Information provided should not comprise a synopsis of the output, a volunteered opinion as to the quality of the output or citation data, and information provided that is of this nature will be disregarded. You cannot assume that the panel will give a 4* rating to an output simply because it was published in a prestigious journal or conference, or because it is well-cited.  The 100 words is an opportunity to provide evidence and information relating to the originality, significance, and rigour of the work, and to help the panel understand why the work should be considered high-quality.

The 100 words will be very important in REF 2021, especially for outputs on the 3*/4* boundary. 

How to write your 100 words

Start with a single sentence which explains why the work is significant. There is no need for specific Significance, OriginalityRigour sections as was recommended previously - in  practice this can end up repeating information from the abstract or from elsewhere in the paper.

What to include in your 100 words

Evidence of significance What did this paper enable you to do? Who adopted the ideas? How are they using them?

Best paper award

Be specific about the conference and the year.
Future funding Did the outout lead to a new research grant? If so, give details of the grant. 
Resulting commercialisation Did the output result in the foundation of a spin-out company or licensing?
Links to policy Did your work inform policy change?
Links to software Is the work associated with software? If so, give details of the download site and number of users.
Links to new collaborations What new collaborations came out of the paper? How did it help develop the field?
Quality of publication venue If the paper appeared in a conference with a very low acceptance rate then that can be detailed here. Be specific about the conference and the acceptance rate.

100 words dos and don'ts

Do be concise. Start your 100 words with a single sentence which explains why the work is significant.
Do provide factual evidence (e.g. accept rate of conference).
Do mention if the work let to future funding, commercialisation, or collaboration. 
Do have evidence if you use phrases like "the first".
Do mention awards and invited keynotes arising from the paper.
Do proof-read your text to avoid any texual errors.
Do use fewer than 100 words if no more is required to get the message across.
Don't provide citation data (this is not allowed).
Don't be negative or self-deprecating.
Don't repeat items from the abstract or the paper.
Don't explain how the research was funded.
Don't write in first person.
Don't assume a good publication venue will guarantee 4*.
Don't make claims you can't evidence.