REF2 Output Allocation taxonomies - feedback requested

Hi all

With the recent publication of the REF2 Output Allocation taxonomies for UoAs 7, 10, 11, 12, 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, and 34 (thanks for the heads up during the webinar Melissa!), I'm in the process of specifying how best to deliver support for this field in the REF2 form in Elements.

Our original intention in supporting this field, like the Output sub-profile categories for UoAs 3 and 12, was to upload the taxonomies for each Unit, enabling a drop-down in the REF2 form:

But given the variations per UoA (for example) ...

  • In some Units, only 1 value can be selected, in others 2, and in others 3
  • In UoA 26, one value to be selected from 'Main subject field' list, and one value to be selected form 'Research areas' list (so, really two taxonomies)
  • In UoA 10, you can use either the MSC2020 taxonomy (which is not yet published), or your own, or a combination
  • In some UoAs, you can select 'Other' and you're asked to provide information on the research area

... delivering this feature as originally intended will take not an insignificant amount of time - quite out of proportion to the importance and value of the field. 

So, I wanted to propose a simpler solution that will take us much less time to deliver, therefore increasing the chances of this feature being delivered in the upcoming 5.19 release and saving us time to work on other higher priority features.

My proposal is as follows:

  • Deliver the 'Output allocation' field in the REF2 form as a free-text field
  • Restrict the number of fields as per each Unit's requirements (so for example, UoA 7 would only have one field, UoA 12 would have 3)
  • Support the bulk upload of 'Output allocation' values in the existing REF2 Metadata bulk action

This proposal puts a slightly increased burden on institutions in ensuring the values input match those of the taxonomy for the UoA (where appropriate), but given that we expect most of you will input this data using the REF2 bulk upload function, I don't foresee this as an unreasonable burden.

What do you all think?  If you could let me know your thoughts by the end of the week (1 November), we can get this work fully specified and slotted into our 5.19 development work.

Many thanks!


 Hi Manya,

Know I'm very late in responding to this and I assume from the release notes the group as a whole were late in prioritising this for 5.19 (we're planning to upgrade at Exeter soon). I'd just like to pick up on what plans for implementing this are? Or are they in 5.19 and I missed something in the notes?



Hi Shane

Yes, this made it as described above into 5.19 :) (I got feedback from the REF Steering Group on another platform ;) ).

The 'Data requirements' support article has been updated with relevant details:

As has the REF2 Metadata bulk job support article:



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