SOAS University of London


The Code of Practice

All Higher Education Institutions are required to develop an internal Code of Practice, outlining its procedures for preparing submission and for selecting staff for the REF, addressing equality and diversity issues. The Internal Code of Practice has accordingly been prepared and has recently been approved by the School’s Executive Board. 

Several points should be noted in relation to this Code:

1. Inclusion of Staff

The School, as a research-led institution, expects all academic staff to be research active. It aims to support research of the highest quality and also recognizes the importance of research for teaching, outreach and career development. However, given the need to maximize research reputation after 2014, the School does not necessarily undertake to submit all academic staff for the REF 2014. Non-submission would be a strategic decision taken in the general interests of the School. In order to treat staff fairly, therefore, the School will continue to regard as research active those eligible staff who meet the normal requirements in terms of research and publication, whether or not they are submitted to the REF. Like other universities, SOAS will obviously want to include as many research active members of academic staff as possible, but this exercise is about excellence and SOAS has to recognize, as all other higher education institutions are doing, that some members of academic staff will need to be omitted in order to secure the best possible ratings. Any individuals who feel that they have been unfairly excluded have the right to appeal against this (see paragraphs 15-18 of the Code of Practice).

2. Individual Staff Circumstances

The normal expectation is that every individual submitted for the REF will be able to offer four outputs for assessment. However, there are certain recognized exceptions to this, where the submission of fewer than four items may be considered appropriate. These include family and domestic matters (e.g., maternity, paternity or adoption leave); part-time working; disability (including ill-health and injury); status as an early career researcher; etc. It is not mandatory for individual members of staff who fall into these categories to submit less than four items, but they are entitled to do so. You will have received via internal mail a form on individual staff circumstances to fill in and return to Deb Viney, the School’s Diversity Advisor (dv4, ext. 4957) by 15 December 2011. If you need to update or declare new circumstances, you will find the form as an ‘external link’ to the right of this page. Your circumstances will be examined in the light of the REF Guidance and a decision about a reduction in outputs will be taken in the winter.

3. Assessment of Outputs

in order to determine which items to submit, or where it may be appropriate not to submit an individual’s work in the best interest of the School, every output will be internally assessed by SOAS internal panel members. It is therefore of manifest importance that every member of staff makes available his or her outputs, whether in a published or pre-publication format.  As soon as your forthcoming items are published, please let the Research Office (Alexandra Leduc-Pagel, know of the full bibliographic details and provide an electronic copy, if available.

In addition to the systematic assessment being carried out internally, all SOAS internal panels have one or more external assessor(s) who have agreed to carry out the following tasks in the run up to the REF: 

  1. review the quality of a number of outputs;
  2. advise on the overall list of outputs; 
  3. advise on some strategic issues in relation to the proposed submission.

REF Equality Impact Assessments

The School is required to produce a number of Equality Impact Assessments [EIAs] relating to the REF 2014 and other aspects of its work. Some of those assessments include equality analyses, e.g. to check the way in which all sub-groups of staff are represented in its REF submissions.

In order to facilitate such analyses, SOAS may ask for your involvement in two ways:

  1. We may decide that we need to involve staff from various sub-groups in developing our understanding of the impact of various decisions and processes on different individuals, so you may be invited to complete a survey or to participate in a discussion / focus group to explore such matters.
  2. The School needs to have information from its staff about a variety of personal data (note: there is always an option to “prefer not to say” for any variable, if you so wish, no inferences will be drawn from this).  As a result of the Equality Act (2010) this includes data on age, civil partnership/marriage, disability, ethnicity, gender (including pregnancy & maternity), religion/belief/non-belief, sexual identity and orientation.  Some of this information is already in the HR record, based on your application form for your post and the equality monitoring form you completed then, plus any subsequent updates.  

We would like to invite you to take this opportunity to update your “basic personal details” and “equal opportunity details” on the HR website at: Your HR records

Your collaboration in these processes would be greatly appreciated.  This will help the School to draw up an accurate picture of its REF submissions with regard to diversity and equality issues. Updating the records will also improve our routine, anonymised monitoring of such data as required by the Equality Act (2010).  If you are interested in seeing our annual reports on staff (and student) diversity, please see the equality & diversity webpages at: Equality and Diversity Reports