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Excluding parts of submissions from publication

The information on this page was published whilst the exercise was being conducted; this material is provided for background information only and will not be updated.

Submissions will be published on the REF website in spring 2015. The published submissions will include:

  • the institution’s code of practice
  • the names of selected staff (but not personal and contractual details)
  • a list of the submitted research outputs
  • the submitted data on research doctoral degrees awarded and research income
  • the submitted textual information about impact and the research environment (REF3a, REF3b and REF5).

The REF submission system enables HEIs to exclude parts of their submissions from publication, for specific reasons, by identifying:

  • individual members of staff as 'confidential or sensitive' - these individuals and their outputs will not be listed in the published submissions
  • individual outputs that should be excluded from the published submissions
  • submitted case studies (REF3b), impact templates (REF3a) and environment templates (REF5) that require redaction prior to publication
  • case studies as 'not for publication'.

Institutions should use these facilities to exclude those parts of their submission from publication, where publication of that information is likely to cause harm to an individual or organisation. This may be due to, for example:

  • commercial sensitivity or protection of intellectual property rights
  • information that was provided by a third party, where publication is likely to constitute an actionable breach of confidence
  • defence or security considerations
  • health and safety considerations (for example, individuals conducting animal research)
  • premature release of information about public policy development 
  • a breach of legal privilege.

Where these examples apply, the information should not automatically be excluded from publication. The institution should consider the implications of publishing the information concerned and exclude it only where publication is likely to cause harm to an individual or organisation. Note that these examples are not exhaustive. 

A case study should be marked as 'not for publication' if redaction of the specific data that is sensitive or confidential would lead to the whole document losing its general meaning. Otherwise the sensitive or confidential data should be redacted, and the remainder of the case study published. 

Where an impact case study (REF3b), impact template (REF3a) or environment template (REF5) is identified as requiring redaction, a redacted version must be submitted by 31 January 2014. The institution should edit the original document, replacing the redacted text with '[text removed for publication]' and upload the edited document as a PDF to the submission system.

After the assessment has concluded, HEFCE (as data controller, on behalf of the four UK funding bodies) will destroy its copies of documents marked as requiring redaction or not for publication, and retain only the published (redacted) versions. If HEFCE receives freedom of information enquiries relating to submitted documents that it no longer holds, HEFCE will direct the enquirer to the submitting institution.