Useful websites

QAA – Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

The primary responsibility for academic standards and quality in UK higher education rests with individual universities and colleges, each of which is independent and self-governing. QAA checks how well they meet their responsibilities, identifying good practice and making recommendations for improvement. They also publish guidelines to help institutions develop effective systems to ensure students have high quality experiences.

REF – Research Excellence Framework

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is the new system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions (HEIs). It will replace the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) and will be completed in 2014. The REF will be undertaken by the four UK higher education funding bodies. The exercise will be managed by the REF team based at HEFCE and overseen by the REF Steering Group, consisting of representatives of the four funding bodies.

The REF will:
• inform the selective allocation of research funding to HEIs
• provide benchmarking information and establish reputational yardsticks
• provide accountability for public investment in research and demonstrate its benefits.

Through the REF, the UK funding bodies aim to develop and sustain a dynamic and internationally competitive research sector that makes a major contribution to economic prosperity, national wellbeing and the expansion and dissemination of knowledge.

Higher Education Academy

The Academy works with universities and colleges, discipline groups, individual staff and organisations to help them deliver the best possible learning experience for all students.

Vitae website for postgraduate researchers

Research Councils UK

Research Councils UK (RCUK), the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils.

Open Access websites

City Research Online
Research Information Network
JULIET – Lists and analyses research funders’ open access policies.
ROMEO– Database of publishers’ copyright and archiving policies.
CORE – Connecting Repositories search tool for scientific papers.
OpenDOAR – Directory of Open Access Repositories.
ROAR – Registry of Open Access Repositories.
DOAJ – Directory of Open Access Journals.
BioMed Central – Scientific articles in medical research and biology.
Public Library of Science (PLOS)  – Open access scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of open access journals and other scientific literature
PubMed Central. – PubMed Central® (PMC) is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
Europe PubMed – Europe PubMed Central (Europe PMC) is an on-line database that offers free access to a large and growing collection of biomedical research literature.
SSRN – Social Sciences Research Network
RePeC  – RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) is a collaborative effort of hundreds of volunteers to enhance the dissemination of research in Economics and related sciences.
arXiv    ArXiv is an eprint service in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics.


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