The Research Excellence Framework 2014, journal ratings and the marginalization of heterodox economics

By Engelbert Stockhammer, Quirin Dammerer, Sukriti Kapur

PKES Working Paper 1715

November 2017

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the main research assessment for universities in the UK. It informs university league tables and the allocation of government research funding. This paper analyses the evaluations of the REF 2014 for Economics, Business, Politics and History. We analyse, first, from which journals, articles have been submitted; second, to what extent journal ratings and impact factors predict the REF´s evaluations; third, how many articles from heterodox economics journals have been submitted. We find that a small group of journals dominate the outputs submitted. Journal ratings and impact factors explain 86 to 89% of the variation in the output evaluations for Economics. These values are lower but still substantial for other disciplines. Few papers from heterodox economics journals were submitted to Economics. Overall, the REF in its present form marginalises heterodox economics, pushes it out of the discipline and endangers pluralism in economics research.

Keywords: research assessment, Research Excellence Framework, journal impact factors, journal ratings, pluralism, heterodox economics

JEL classification: A14 A20 B50