James Johnston, Alan Reeves; Assessing research performance in UK universities using the case of the economics and econometrics unit of assessment in the 1992–2014 research evaluation exercises. Res Eval 2017; 26 (1): 28-40. doi: 10.1093/reseval/rvw021
Research evaluation exercises (REEs) affect the allocation of research funds both within and between universities. How the results of REEs might be used by university managers in decisions on which areas of research to support is the central focus of this article. The decision on whether to support research in an area is explained by reference to an institutional threshold level, defined here as the minimum acceptable research score. Data from submissions to the Economics and Econometrics (E&E) unit of assessment (UOA) in the various UK REEs appear to support the predictions of the model. Two types of gap are defined—internal and external. Negative internal or external gaps are found to be closely related to the decision to withdraw from the E&E UOA at the next REE. The information is being used by universities in ways that appear to have had far-reaching consequences for research and researchers.