The “Real” Impact Factor: Reflections on the Impact of the Research Excellence Framework

Anteprima

This paper is an argument for the importance of academics undertaking some (but not only) research that relates to the practical issues faced by practitioners and policy makers and that is geared to achieving impact. It offers a normative argument informed by my experience as a practitioner and an academic and by my experiences in the assessment of impact as part of the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014. The paper introduces the nature of the REF and how it was implemented. It also addresses the implications of the performance measurement of impact of REF for Higher Educational Institutions and the individual academics that work within them. In that respect it recognises that performance measures give extrinsic encouragement to particular behaviours. The paper argues that academics should also be intrinsically driven to research that has impact. In order to achieve impact, the paper suggests that we should not see a gap between academics and practitioners, but should instead see practice and academic endeavour as different but complementary elements of the same profession. We should seek to develop better discourses between academics and practitioners and should not attribute greater importance to the views of either party. Instead we should have an engagement that is open to the generation of disagreement as well as agreement but that nevertheless does not see disagreement as the basis for closing down communication.

Keywords: Research impact, engagement, evidence for policymakers and practitioners, Research Excellence Framework

Bibliografia
  1. Agyemang G. and Broadbent J. (2015), Management Control Systems and Research Management in Universities: an empirical and conceptual exploration, Accounting Auditing and Accountability Journal, 28 (7), pp. 1-28,, DOI:10.1108/AAAJ-11-2013-1531
  2. Bastow S., Dunleavy P. and Tinkler J. (2014), The Impact of the Social Sciences: how academics and their research make a difference. (London: Sage Publications). ISBN978-1-4462-7501-8,, DOI:10.4135/9781473921511
  3. Broadbent J. and Laughlin R. (2013) Accounting Control and Controlling Accounting: Critical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. (Bingley UK: Emerald Group Publishing). ISBN 978-1-78190-762-792013.
  4. Evans E., Burritt R. and Guthrie J. (Eds.) (2011), Bridging the Gap Between Academic Research and Professional Practice. (Sydney: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia).
  5. Hopwood A. (1972), An Empirical Study of the Role of Accounting Data in Performance Evaluation, Empirical Research in Accounting, Supplement to Journal of Accounting Research, 10, pp. 156-182,, DOI:10.2307/2489870
  6. Laughlin R. (2011), Accounting Research, Policy and Practice: Worlds Together or Worlds Apart?, in Evans E., Burritt R. and Guthrie J. (Eds.), Bridging the Gap between Academic Research and Professional Practice (pp. 21-30). (Sydney: The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia).
  7. Orr K. and Bennett M. (2010), ‘The Politics of Co-Produced Research’, Editorial for Themed Issue of Public Money and Management, 30 (4), pp. 199-203,, DOI:10.1080/09540962.2010.492171
  8. Pidd M. and Broadbent J. (2015), Business and Management Studies in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, British Journal of Management,, DOI:10.1111/1467-8551.12122
  9. REF 02.2011 Assessment Framework and Guidance on Submissions, HEFCE, Bristol.
  10. REF 01.2012 Panel Criteria and Working Methods, HEFCE, Bristol.
  11. Sikka P. and Willmott H. (1997), Practicing Critical Accounting, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 8 (1/2), pp. 149-165,, DOI:10.1006/cpac.1996.0088
  12. Tilt C. (2010), The impact of academic accounting research on professional practice, in Evans E., Burritt R. and Guthrie J. (Eds.), Accounting Education at a Crossroad in 2010. (Sydney: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia).
  13. Tucker B.P. and Lowe A.D. (2014), Practitioners are from Mars; academics are from Venus? An investigation of the research-practice gap in management accounting, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 27 (3), pp. 394-425.
  14. Walker D. (2010), Do Academics know better or merely different?, Public Money and Management, 30 (4), pp. 204-206,, DOI:10.1080/09540962.2010.492174