Business and Management Studies in the UK’s 2021 Research Excellence Framework: Implications for research quality assessment

Robert Blackburn, Sally Dibb, Ian Tonks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Evaluating research is an established part of the research process, as funding agencies and governments seek to raise its quality and performance. The UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2021 (REF2021) was the eighth formal assessment of research in UK universities. Overall, 108 universities submitted 16,038 research outputs and 539 impact case studies for the period 2014-2020 to Sub-Panel 17 Business and Management Studies (B&M). Submissions were assessed by a panel of academic researchers and research users, nominated by a range of academic constituencies. The outcome was that the quality of UK research in B&M continues to improve since the REF2014. The quality profile for REF2021 had 79% of research assessed as 3-star (internationally excellent) and 4-star (world-leading). The paper explains and reports on our experiences of the peer review process, analyses the outcomes and discusses the state of research within the discipline. Subsequently, we consider the wider implications of the REF process, its methodologies and impacts, contributing to the debate about research quality in universities. The paper concludes with support for peer review and expresses caution against the automation of research quality assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Early online date22 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. British Journal of Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Academy of Management.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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