A new competition celebrates the forgotten contributors to research

14th December 2020

It’s only right to give credit where it’s due, but that isn’t always how it works in academia. Often the contributors that underpin research are overlooked, leaving people in those supporting roles short of the recognition their work deserves. However, this could all be about to change following the launch of an out-of-the-box initiative.

Many people involved in academic research are never acknowledged for their efforts. Publications remain the dominant way to gain recognition for research contribution, but they rarely acknowledge all the people involved in making the work possible. In evaluation exercises, such as the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF), which invites submissions into a wide range of categories, publications still make up 97% of outputs (REF 2014), leaving many contributors unrecognised.

To shake up this practice, a group of researchers led by Professor Simon Hettrick, Deputy Director of the Software Sustainability, have launched an initiative to shine a light on roles that are fundamental to research, but seldomly mentioned. The hidden REF competition, run by volunteers, celebrates all non-publication research outputs and acknowledges everyone involved.

In a bid to make the competition representative, organisers had earlier invited the research community to send in their output category suggestions. These suggestions, along with the non-publication REF categories, have been adopted as submission categories.

To enter the hidden REF competition, entrants must be based in the UK and should submit a 300-word summary of the research output, which will be judged by a panel of experts from the research community. Submissions open on 14 December and close 26 February 2021. Organisers will announce the winners on 19 April 2021.

Emerald, along with other stakeholders, has stepped up to support the competition, but more help is needed to make it a success. People can get involved by entering the competition, raising awareness on social media or in their organisation, volunteering, or simply by sharing their experiences on this crucial topic.



About Emerald

Emerald Publishing provides a range of publishing services to help researchers tell their story in a meaningful and timely way, providing innovative tools and services to build confidence and capability in impactful research. As a proud signatory of DORA, Emerald is committed to establishing new pathways to impact, making research more accessible, and helping communities make decisions that change their world for the better. For over 50 years Emerald’s core purpose has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world. Emerald Publishing is delighted to be named Independent Publisher of the Year and Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year in the Independent Publishers Guild 2020 Independent Publishing Awards.

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