Clarivate Analytics has won the contract to provide citation data for the UK’s upcoming research excellence framework, beating rival Elsevier to the job.
Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information will provide data about how many times outputs submitted to the REF 2021 have been cited in other publications, drawing on its Web of Science database. Eleven of the exercise’s 34 expert panels have said that they plan to use citation data to help inform their judgements about the quality of outputs.
The Philadelphia-headquartered company won the contract in a formal tender process, which also involved Elsevier, the provider of citation data for REF 2014.
Kim Hackett, the REF director at Research England, said that panels would follow the recommendations of The Metric Tide report, published in 2015, on the responsible use of research metrics and their limitations.
“We are pleased to be working with Clarivate Analytics on the provision of citation information for REF 2021. The use of citation data in this exercise presents a key opportunity to build on the principles of the responsible use of metrics,” she said.
Jonathan Adams, director of Clarivate’s ISI, said that the contract offered the opportunity “to ensure that data and indicators that support output assessment in the REF are not only of the highest quality and relevance but are also fully understood so they can be used informatively and responsibly”.
Institutions taking part in the REF will be able to view the citation counts for items that they plan to submit to relevant units and to confirm that a correct match has been identified by assessors.
ISI will build a tool for UK universities to submit their REF data, and will create a web portal that will allow users to review citation data outside the REF submissions system.
James Wilsdon, professor of research policy at the University of Sheffield and chair of the Metric Tide review, said that he felt confident that Clarivate would “do a good job in informing the [data] process”. Compared with 2014, there is “a far more widespread appreciation of the need to handle citation data with care, and to use it only in an appropriate context”, he said.
Tom Reller, vice-president of communications at Elsevier, confirmed that the company had submitted a bid for the contract.
“The UK government has made its decision, and we congratulate Clarivate for winning the REF 2021 bid. Through the Pure REF module, Elsevier will remain a key player…offering UK institutions direct and easy integration with the REF submission system.”