History Sub-Panel for REF 2021

15 May 2018

REF 2021 is now gearing up with the appointment of the Main and Sub-Panels having taken place over 2017/18.   Professor Mark Jackson from Exeter University has been appointed Chair of the History Sub-Panel, with the support of the RHS.

Nominations for membership of the REF sub-panels were then sought from scholarly bodies. In contrast to previous exercises, societies were required to demonstrate that they had followed an open nomination process with an emphasis on equality and diversity. An unintended consequence of this requirement appears to have been that many smaller bodies that nominated directly to the previous REF chose not to do so, as they lacked the capacity to comply with the E and D requirements. Some smaller historical societies, for example, this time chose to forward nominations to the RHS.


RHS Nomination Process

On 7 November 2017, the Royal Historical Society issued a call for nominations to all Fellows. The call was posted on the RHS website, and circulated to members of Council, who were invited to disseminate it further, and specific, strong encouragement for nominations from among groups under-represented in REF2014. Self-nominations and those where nominator and nominee were employed by the same HEI, were excluded, but nominees were not required to be Fellows or Members of the RHS.

Recognising the need for a balance between continuity and new blood within the sub-panel, the RHS directly contacted members of the REF2014 sub-panel to ask if they would wish to be reconsidered for nomination. Our offer was not extended to those who had already served on more than one previous exercise, however.

After the nominations process closed, the nominations were reviewed by the President and the incoming and outgoing Vice Presidents for Research Policy (Jonathan Morris and Mary Vincent).

Adhering to a strict principle of including only one sub-panel nominee from each HEI, we compiled a set of nominations that reflected the major sub-fields in historical studies that we expect to see represented in final submissions to the panel.   In cases where we felt we lacked sufficient awareness of the field, we took advice from senior historians who were not among our nominees – usually past sub-panel members.   Altogether we submitted 40 nominations: 32 practising researchers to the History sub-panel, 3 to the Area Studies sub-panel and 1 to the Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management sub-panel; plus 4 assessors of the wider use and benefits of research to the History sub-panel.

We were particularly concerned to monitor for equality and diversity among our nominations, especially given that the REF2014 panel was all white, and included only one representative of a post-92 institution.   Of the 36 practising researcher nominations submitted by the RHS, 3 came from BAME backgrounds and 6 held positions in post ’92 institutions. 14 of the 40 were women, a somewhat disappointing proportion, but significantly higher than the c.21% within the UK history professoriate. 1 of our 4 impact assessor nominees was female, and we ensured a balance between London and non-London based nominees within this category.


Eventual Sub-panel Composition

At the end of February 2018, the first sets of appointments to the new REF sub-panels were announced. These were divided into two – an initial criteria-setting group who have begun meeting in 2018, and who will be joined in 2020 by a second set of already appointed output assessors.   A final set of sub-panellists will be appointed in 2020, following the declaration of submission intentions by UoAs, in order to align the panel’s capacity to review outputs and impact case studies to this.

18 History sub-panellists have so far been appointed – 8 for the criteria setting phase, 10 to be added as assessors in 2020. Of these 9 are female, 1 comes from a BAME background, and 1 works at a post-’92 institution.   9 were members of the REF 2014 sub-panel.   14 of the 18 sub-panellists received a nomination from the RHS.   3 RHS officers have been appointed to the sub-panel, including the President who will also serve as Deputy Chair of the panel. The appointed History sub-panellists are listed below.

Jonathan Morris
Vice President, Chair of Research Policy Committee


Criteria Phase
Prof. Mark Jackson (Exeter), Chair
Prof. Frances Andrews (St Andrews)
Prof. Margot Finn (UCL)
Prof. Matthew Hilton (QMUL)
Prof. Jonathan Morris (Hertfordshire)
Prof. Joy Porter (Hull), Interdisciplinary Adviser
Prof. Lyndal Roper (Oxford)
Prof. David Souden (British Museum)

Additions for Assessment Phase
Prof. Lynn Abrams (Glasgow)
Prof. Pratik Chakrabarti (Manchester)
Prof. Catherine Cubitt (East Anglia)
Prof. Michael Hughes (Lancaster)
Prof. Claire Langhamer (Sussex)
Prof. Paul Nugent (Edinburgh)
Prof. Phillipp Schofield (Aberystwyth)
Prof. Julian Swann (Birkbeck)
Prof. Mary Vincent (Sheffield)
Prof. Alex Walsham (Cambridge)