Dear BSA member and fellow sociologist

You may be aware that the BSA has been actively engaged in the consultation for the 2021 REF, and we are keen to maintain an active watch on how the REF progresses, and how universities are managing the REF process, so that we can assess how sociology may be affected. We are therefore inviting all sociologists to share with us confidentially any issues which concern you about how your university, or a university which you are familiar with, may be managing this process so that we can build up our own intelligence about the implications for REF on working sociologists throughout the UK.The issues which we are interested in include (but may extend beyond):

  • The management of equality and diversity issues within the REF process.
  • Treatment of early career researchers.
  • Employment contracts being varied due to REF management.
  • The management of definitions of ‘independent researchers’.
  • Cases of redundant staff being planned to be submitted to the REF.
  • Bullying or harassment linked to REF management issues.

Please note that as a charitable body we are not allowed to intervene in employment issues and therefore are not empowered to engage in mediation in the case of disputes. We are seeking information on issues rather than actions of named individuals (and indeed such personalised information would normally be ethically inappropriate to disclose). Our purpose here is intelligence gathering so we can develop a rounded account of how the management of REF is affecting the working lives of sociologists. Naturally, any responses made will be treated in the strictest confidence, and we will not be seeking to identify specific universities in any public report we may want to prepare on the basis of the responses we receive.

Please send your concerns to BSA Chief Executive, Judith Mudd.