REF2021 Development Plans

Hi all!

As you may have seen, I recently joined the Elements team (yay!), and I've been asked to lead on the development of REF2021 functionality (I managed the University of Edinburgh's RAE2008 and REF2014 submissions, and am joining Digital Science from the Pure team at Elsevier where I product managed reporting and assessment functionality).

We are currently working on our detailed REF2021 development plans through 2020, and we will be in touch about these in the coming weeks.

In the meantime though, we wanted to advise you of our most immediate plans for 5.15 (May release):

Following on from the 5.14.1 release that includes functionality that begins to look at managing outputs through a group view, rather than on a per-individual level, we will continue to focus our efforts in the short term on delivering functionality supporting this concept, along with building up the REF2 data model.  We currently aim for this to include:

  • Expanding functionality available via the new Manage Selections screen to assist in the UoA selection/attribution decision-making process.
  • Introducing the ability for REF managers to capture selection statuses that will be used a basis for UoA level aggregation
  • Supporting restricted visibility of REF-specific fields to REF managers only
  • Adding REF-specific fields such as Double-weighting request, Interdisciplinary flag, Output allocation, and Additional information

Many thanks!


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Hi Manya, thanks for this update! Will this include Symplectic working with the REF submission system?

Hi there!

We don't expect Elements to directly interact with the REF Submission System.  Instead, our plan is to offer functionality that will enable you to download your submission XML out of Elements and import to the REF Submission System.

Thanks :)

Hi Manya

The REF submission guidelines have been published now, attached below, (which I must admit is a little earlier than I thought). Can you outline your development timelines in this respect and confirm whether you will be testing directly with the portal itself?  Any insight appreciated so we can develop plans at our side. 

Thanks Nicky 

Hi Nicky

I know right?  A LOT earlier than expected - which is actually really great (so long as they don't revise it too much over the coming months).

We would hope to be able to test directly with the REF Submission System, but this will depend on whether the REF Team will allow direct vendor access - for REF2014, they only allowed vendors direct access to the test (and possibly pilot, if I remember correctly) system, but not production.  But we have made representations to the REF Team that such access would be very valuable.

Within the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a high-level roadmap here, prior to the REF webinar on 24 April, where we will also discuss plans and timescales.



Hi all

In preparation for next week's REF webinar, please find attached some documentation outlining our plans for REF2021 development, including mockups of screens relating to the management of REF2 Research Outputs.

Just a reminder that you can register for the webinar here:

If you're unable to make it, the session will be recorded and I'll post the link here.

Have a lovely Easter weekend :)


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