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Confidential outputs submitted to the REF

The following arrangements enable HEIs to submit confidential reports as research outputs to the REF (see paragraphs 115-117 of 'guidance on submissions').

Confidential reports include any item produced for and lodged, in the publication period, with a company, government body or other research sponsor(s), but which has not been published because of its commercial or other sensitivity. A confidential report may be submitted only if the HEI has prior permission from the sponsoring organisation that the output may be made available for assessment. HEIs will confirm permission has been secured when they make submissions. If the REF team requests a confidential report for assessment the HEI must make it available.

All panel members are bound by a confidentiality agreement. This is available at Annex E of the 'panel criteria' and will be updated in early 2013 to include details of panel members' specific obligations during the assessment phase. Therefore, it will be possible for HEIs to submit confidential reports without compromising any duty of confidentiality upon them. There may be particular panel members who the HEI believes would have a commercial conflict of interest in assessing a confidential report. The HEI should name such individuals when making submissions and the report will not be made available to these members.

Outputs identified by institutions as confidential will not be listed as part of the published submissions (see 'Excluding parts of submissions from publication').