REF 2014: Analysis of UK Business Schools’ performance



The REF results have finally landed on our collective doorsteps and are being dissected and digested. From an overall business school perspective the data highlights the ongoing strengthening of the research performance of Britain’s business schools. Yet beyond such a generic overview it is evident that the data can be analysed in multiple ways in seeking understand the shape of research performance across the business school community. Such differing approaches almost inevitably offer differing perspectives on the research performance of individual schools and the place of research within institutions.
To encourage reflection on such issues, the Association of Business School asked Professor Stewart Robinson, the President of the Operational Research Society, to undertake four different approaches to analysing the REF data and the HESA data on submission rates which has subsequently been released. These approaches were:
GPA: average performance of submitted staff
GPA x Volume (‘Power’): breadth and depth of research
GPA x % Staff Submitted (‘Intensity’): average performance across all staff
GPA x Volume x Intensity: breadth and depth of research across all staff

We also have a special 'Table of Tables' which can be viewed here.

This table is a measure of breadth and depth of research, similar to the GPA x Volume x Intensity table, but has the benefit of mitigating for extreme value. It ranks separately the GPA, Volume and Intensity scores for each school and then generates the total score (sum of ranks).  The lowest scores are the best and constitute the basis of the ranking.

The ABS takes no position on the relevance and value of any particular approach to analysing the data. Rather the Association wants to encourage a meaningful debate on the place and nature of research within British business schools. In the run up to the forthcoming release of the revised ABS Academic Journal Guide and the ABS Research Conference we want to encourage online debate on this issue and what the REF data can meaningfully tell us about the conduct of research in UK business schools.

Please join our private LinkedIn group for further discussion on the data.

I look forward to a stimulating and no doubt occasionally provocative debate!
Professor Angus Laing
Chair of the Association of Business Schools