Research Outputs

Research at British universities today requires an awareness of evolving issues, of Peer Review, the REF, and Open Access requirements. Below is an introduction to some of these issues.

REF 2014   Research Excellence Framework

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) replacing the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008. 

The REF focuses on assessing three elements:

  • Outputs – The primary focus of the REF will be to identify excellent research of all kinds, as demonstrated by the quality of research publications and other outputs.
  • Impact – Significant additional recognition will be given where researchers have built on excellent research to deliver demonstrable benefits, outside of academia, to the economy, society, public policy, culture or quality of life.
  • Environment – REF will also assess the vitality of the research environment and how far it supports a continuing flow of excellent research and its effective dissemination and application.

Aberystwyth University’s Research at Aberystwyth provides information and toolkits for REF 2014 and access to the University’s research information system PURE

HEFCE provides information about REF 2014 and Aberystwyth University provides its own information and guidance for staff.

notebook    Peer Review

Peer review is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as the “review of commercial, professional, or academic efficiency, competence, etc., by others in the same occupation” (March, 2013). Peer review affects researchers in a number of ways:

  • The process of evaluation that an academic paper goes through to determine its suitability for publication. This process varies across disciplines but is often anonymous and can involve verification of data and sources.
  • The process of evaluation of funding applications including those submitted to the UK Research Councils
  • Peer Review is also used in monitoring and evaluating teaching as outlined by the Higher Education Authority

For further information:

On publishing through Peer Review at,, and 

On the development of Peer Review at Jisc and

On Peer Review more generally at medical.dictionary, teachingcommons, qualityresearchinternational, and

Open Access logo Open Access 

See our Open Access pages for further information.

Open Access at a glance...

  • Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
  • OA is compatible with copyright, peer review, revenue, print, preservation, prestige, career-advancement, indexing, and other features and supportive services associated with conventional scholarly literature.
  • The legal basis of OA is either the consent of the copyright holder or the public domain, usually the former.
  • The campaign for OA focuses on literature that authors give to the world without expectation of payment. Many OA initiatives focus on taxpayer-funded research. 
  • The seven UK Research Councils expect funded research to be made publicly available considering £2.8 billion of public money is invested in research. There are two primary vehicles for delivering OA to research articles, OA journals and OA archives or repositories. 

Open Access Journals and Open Access Archives/Repositories 

The chief difference between Open Access journals and Open Access repositories is that OA journals conduct peer review and OA repositories do not. Journals that are completely Open Access are referred to as "gold", and to Open Access delivered by archives or repositories as "green" OA. The gold/green distinction is simply about venues, not user rights or degrees of openness.

  • Open Access Updates: Further information on Gold and Green Open Access provision and current discussions
  • The University supports the open access provision of all staff research outputs and successful PhD theses through the Aberystwyth Research Portal. The Aberystwyth Research Portal also includes Masters dissertations gaining distinctions or relating to Wales.

Reference Management Software

Aberystwyth University offers supported applications are to help you gather, manage and format bibliographic records and cite them in word-processed documents.


For more information please contact your subject librarian