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How does the panel make a decision?

The panel is made up of research theme leads and thereby allows an appropriate level of both depth of experience and breadth of disciplines to reflect the range of research that falls under health sciences.  Papers are assigned to a lead reviewer who is in the closest field of study to the paper topic but is not the author or co-author (i.e. lead reviewer is an expert in the field). Other reviewers may or may not be directly in the field of study and this replicates REF Unit of Assessment panel make-ups; providing an accurate idea of how the paper is likely to be received within the wider Health Sciences Unit of Assessment. Given the full breadth of research that the members of the School engage in, the system may not work well for all research outputs. Occasionally, therefore the panel may send an output to another school panel, or externally for review. Please contact the panel Chair Kristen Hollands if you feel that your research outputs fall into this category for any reason.

Each article is allocated to at least three panel members (reviewers) before the meeting. One of these is allocated as the primary reviewer. They read the paper and submit their grades (originality, significance, rigour and overall) before the meeting.

  • If there is broad agreement between the author and the readers overall gradings then the paper is not discussed further and that grade is accepted.
  • If the readers agree with each other but not with the author then the primary reader will introduce the paper briefly and explain why. Other readers are then free to add their comments if useful. There readers grade will be accepted. If the readers do not agree then the primary reader will introduce the paper briefly and explain his or her opinion. The other readers will then explain their own opinions. There will then be sufficient discussion for the panel to reach a consensus and that grade will be accepted.                                                                                                                                              

If all readers are in agreement (whether this is in accordance with the author or not) then there may be very little discussion. This should not be interpreted as a lack of rigour as the consensus is confirming the rigour of how the readers have performed their original reviews.

It is assumed that an author’s Research Programme Lead is listening to the discussion and is able to discuss the grading with the author at a later date if this is deemed useful.